The highest percentage of irregular verbs

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  • Anne345

    Senior Member
    France
    Latin 924
    Italian over 400
    English 283
    German 170
    Dutch Over 300-350
    French 81
    Spanish 46
    Welsh 11
    Finnish >=4 + 4
    Japanese >=5
    Afrikaans 2
    Chinese 1
    Turkish 0
    Esperanto 0
    Latvian 3

    (Wikipedia)
    They forgot ancient greek !
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Anne345 said:
    (Wikipedia)
    They forgot ancient greek !
    And Portuguese.

    :warn: A warning to JLanguage: the notion of 'irregular verb' is not as easy to define as you might think. Read this.
     

    diegodbs

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    Parece ser que hay unos 500 verbos irregulares en español, aunque la mayoría de estos verbos son poco usados o incluso desconocidos para la mayoría de los que hablamos español.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Counting verbs is also tricky. For example, pôr can be considered an irregular verb, in Portuguese, and there are many compounds built from it with prefixes, such as compor, repor, dispor, supor, and conjugated the same way. Shall we count all of them as variations on a single irregular paradigm, or do we count each of the compounds as a separate irregular verb?...
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    ^
    In Finnish there's a different problem. There are only a few totally irregular verbs, but as there are at least twenty different conjugations it's hard to tell which verb is irregular.
     

    amikama

    a mi modo
    עברית
    As for Hebrew, due to its highly complex verb system it's hard to speak of irregular verbs per se. The verbs are grouped into various groups according to their conjugation patterns, but the Hebrew grammarians don't divide them into "regular verbs" and "irregular verbs". However, few verbs (such as לקח and נתן) show special conjugation patterns and thus maybe they could be considered as "truly irregular verbs".
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    Whodunit said:
    What about Arabic? I'm sure the word "qara2a" (قرأ) could be considered irregular. :)
    Arabic is like Hebrew in that the verbs are grouped into categories according to conjugation patterns, and all the verbs with group conjugate the same. So I don't believe there are any irregular verbs.

    An another note
    English 283
    English only has 283 irregular verbs? That almost seems hard to believe. I always thought there were a lot more.
     

    JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    Josh Adkins said:
    English only has 283 irregular verbs? That almost seems hard to believe. I always thought there were a lot more.
    It seems there are quite a few more than that:
    Englishpage.com's Irregular Verb Dictionary for English learners contains over 370 irregular verbs used in modern English. To view our Extended Irregular Verb Dictionary, which contains over 470 verbs including rare and antiquated forms.
    From chart
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Farsi has no irregular verb endings, but nearly all verbs have irregular stems. Thus, it's very hard to learn the language, since there is no concrete way to forum the conjugations from the infinitive.

    Some examples: (no irregular endings, underlined)
    To eat
    Infinitive: khordan
    I eat: Muh meehorum
    (it looks nothing like the infinitive!)

    To go
    Infinitive: ruftun
    I go: Muh meerum

    To sing
    Infinitive: hondun
    I sing: Muh meehonum

    To wash
    Infinitive: Shushtun
    I wash: Muh meeshooum

    To hit
    Infinitive: Zudun
    I hit: Muh meezunum

    Of course, you can see that there is a mee at the beginning of most verbs, but it's not that simple, unfortunately. Just thought it would help to mention it!

    Saludos y Suerte
    Bienvenidos
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Hi JLanguage,

    I'm sorry for such a late reply. If you know the stem, the rest of the conjugation is regular. However, the problem is remembering the stem, because it is not the same in all tenses! The endings however, are the same throughout all tenses (with some exceptions).

    So all the endings are basically regular (the same!) in all tenses, but all the stems are different. Farsi is the opposite of languages like Spanish, which keep the stem but change the ending.

    For example:

    The verb to eat: khordun


    PRESENT
    I - míkhorum
    You - míkhorí
    She/he/it - míkhora
    We - míkhorím
    You all - míkhorín
    They - míkhorun

    PRETERITE PAST (SIMPLE PAST)
    I - khordum
    You - khordí
    She/he/it - khord (This is the only different one, ending-wise)
    We - khordím
    You all - khordín
    They - khordun

    As you can see, the endings basically stay the same

    um
    í
    a
    ím
    ín
    un


    But the stems change a lot. :) Hope this helps! Again, sorry for the late response.

    Bien
     

    demoore

    Member
    French
    What do you mean by irregular verbs?Concerning the 没 and the 不 it's not that simple. Both of them can be used with most of the verb.- 我不去 : I don't go- 我没去 : I did not go.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    ^
    Compared to Portuguese, Spanish has so many irregular verbs. So I think 34% is a fair number for Spanish.
    I do consider Spanish stem changing verbs irregular since their present forms are not predictable from the infinitive.
    Furthermore, many Spanish verbs have irregular gerund, and past simple.

    Many Portuguese irregular verbs are predictable (*e*ir verbs have -i- in 1st person indicative, and in present subjunctive),
    so servir is a predictable irregular verb (eu sirvo, tu serves...), but agredir is unpredictable (eu agrido, tu agrides)...

    For practical reasons, I would classify Spanish sentir as unpredictable (irregular), but Portuguese sentir as predictable (regular).
     
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    gerekenler

    New Member
    Turkish
    these numbers are wrong.for example in turkish
    present progressive
    To say:de-mek
    İ am saying=Diyorum.
    to eat:ye-mek
    i am eating an apple.=Elma yiyiyorum.
    that's all i think :)
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    English 283
    I don't know if the ablauting verbs in English (take/took, speak/spoke, etc.) should be considered automatically irregular. Ablaut (in English and the other Germanic languages) is a system with its regular patterns and exceptions, just like the "weak" past tense (-ed).

    Finnish >=4 + 4
    I wonder what this list (which may have been updated/revised in the past 9 years) meant by "+ 4".

    There are several verbs that are often irregularly shortened in spoken Finnish, but not in the standard written language: for example, tulla "to come", colloquial tuun "I am coming" (standard tulen); mennä "to go", colloquial meen "I'm going" (standard menen) and tietää "to know", tien "I know" (standard tiedän). Did the list factor these examples into its count?
     
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    M Mira

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    What do you mean by irregular verbs?Concerning the 没 and the 不 it's not that simple. Both of them can be used with most of the verb.- 我不去 : I don't go- 我没去 : I did not go.
    I agree with this. If negation is a criterion that the creator used, there'd be at least 2 in Chinese, as neither 不有 and 沒要 are unacceptable.

    And what are the criteria? Are all 4-stem verbs in Latin considered irregular? Or only ones like volo and fero are? Japanese, Korean, and IIRC Turkish have lots of irregular transitive-intransitive verb alternations, why don't they count?
     

    rur1920

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I wonder whether in Russian there are regular verbs; this point is better to leave to learners to decide. Consonant shifts have made the situation very complicated. Actually, even natives argue over the correct forms of some verbs; there are also verbs that lack certain forms in the standard language (most often the first person singular form), though actually people invent such forms anyway while using the language, sometimes in accordance with the etymological paradigm, sometimes not.
     

    Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    these numbers are wrong.for example in turkish
    present progressive
    To say:de-mek
    İ am saying=Diyorum.
    to eat:ye-mek
    i am eating an apple.=Elma yiyiyorum.
    that's all i think :)
    yiyiyorum? :D You have one too many yi's there: yiyorum.

    Turkish has a total of 19 irregular verbs. 2 of them are yemek and demek as you said.
    The remaining 13 are irregularly conjugated in the aorist tense. Compare the verbs solmak and olmak: solar and olur. Normally, one-syllabled vers should take the -er ending (gider, yapar, satar, içer) and pluri-syllabled ones should take the -ir ending (konuşur, atılır, yapılır). However, 13 one-syllabled verbs take the -ir ending too (gelir, vurur, ölür, alır, etc.)

    Also, in a few tenses: gitmek, tatmak, gütmek, etmek (and the verbs that combine with -etmek), the t softens into d. For example, tadıyorum. Notice that we don't do it with other verbs. Compare tatmak with atmak: tadıyorum / atıyorum.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Counting vocabulary has always been a tad tricky in my opinion. If English has 638 and not 470 irregular verbs, does this give us any real information? I don't think so. Collecting all the words of a language is simply impossible, and sometimes you have to sort them. Is every word uttered when speaking English an English word? When is a loanword accepted? This is even more difficult with languages like English that are spoken in lots of different situations throughout the world and have no official language regulator.

    And even if we somehow gathered all the words in a language, would it be of any significance if we attributed the same weight to be, and say, atslip? That's why I find the statistics showing that in English there are more borrowings from Latin and French than native Germanic words completely misleading. Because people would think that any time they stumble upon an English text, Romance words will be the majority. But, if, for instance, we analyse my first paragraph, we find out that I have written more Germanic than Romance words:

    Counting vocabulary has always been a tad tricky in my opinion. If English has 638 and not 470 irregular verbs, does this give us any real information? I don't think so. Collecting all the words of a language is simply impossible, and sometimes you have to sort them. Is every word uttered when speaking English an English word? When is a loanword accepted? This is even more difficult with languages like English that are spoken in lots of different situations throughout the world and have no official language regulator.
    Romance: 21 (24%)
    Germanic: 68 (76%)

    That's why we should count frequency. For instance, if we consider the first 500 words of this list, 70% of them are Germanic, but the percentage gets even larger (up to 91%) when we weigh them by their frequency. That's because Germanic words are always the most common. The first Latinate word (people) appears at the 62nd place, and there are only 4 Romance borrowings in the first 100.
     
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    Latin 924
    ...
    (Wikipedia)
    They forgot ancient greek !
    According to my lexicon of basic irregular verbs in Ancient Greek, they are 219.
    A couple of interesting examples:

    «Ἀγορεύω» ăgŏre̯úō --> to speak in the assembly, proclaim (Present indicative).
    The verb borrows its Aorist, Perfect, and Pluperfect tenses from «ἔπω» (which has itself suppletive Perfect and Pluperfect forms) thus:
    Aorist indicative: «εἶπον» e̯îpon, Perfect indic.: «εἴρηκα» e̯írēkă, Pluperfect indic.: «εἰρήκειν» e̯irḗke̯in.

    «Ὠνέομαι/ὠνοῦμαι» ōnéŏma̯i (uncontracted)/ōnoûma̯i (contracted) --> to buy, purchase (Present indicative). Its suppletive Aorist form is «ἐπριάμην» ĕprĭámēn.
     
    How about modern Greek? :)
    They are 159. A couple of examples:

    «Βλέπω» [ˈvlepo] --> to see, look at (Present indicative) forms its Aorist by borrowing the aorist II of the ancient v. «ὁρῶ» ŏrô (which has itself suppletive Aorist II): «είδα» [ˈiða] < Classical Aorist II form «εἶδον» e̯îdŏn.
    Its mediopassive participle presents the offglide of the diphthong «εἰ-» of Aorist II: «ιδωμένος, -νη, -νο» [iðoˈmenos] (masc.), [iðoˈmeni] (fem.), [iðoˈmeno] (neut.) --> past participle seen.

    «Έρχομαι» [ˈerxome] --> to come, arrive (Present indicative) has the suppletive Aorist «ήλθα» [ˈilθa] < Classical Aorist II «ἦλθον» êltʰŏn
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    According to my lexicon of basic irregular verbs in Ancient Greek, they are 219..
    Much of the irregularity counted in Greek verbs seems based on irregularity between the main categories (present, aorist, perfect etc.), but I wonder how many examples would be found if we only counted irregularities within these categories.

    An example of the latter would be eînai "to be", which has the 2sg. past imperfect ēstha "thou wert" (though the more regular form ēs is also attested), or eidénai "know", which has an unusual e-/o- alternation in its forms (1sg. indicative oîda instead of *eîda as you would expect from the infinitive).

    (When counting irregular verbs, I think there is a case to be made for using different metrics depending on which languages are being compared, but we don't need to go into that here.)
     
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    ^
    Agreed, but trying to establish irregularities within the same category would take a lot of time, and a lot of grey matter, we're talking about (I'm not exaggerating) thousands of different types.
    Besides even serious lexica offer just the 1st p. sing. of the verb in all tenses.

    Just a sidenote: Greek verb is denoted by the 1st p. sing. of the present tense, and not the infinitive, the latter is true for Latin
     

    Ectab

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Iraq
    Arabic is like Hebrew in that the verbs are grouped into categories according to conjugation patterns, and all the verbs with group conjugate the same. So I don't believe there are any irregular verbs.
    That's right, but Arabic has only one irregular verb which is رأى ra'aa (to see- past) يرى yaraa (to see- present) it has the root r-'-y but the second one the glottal stop ' is droppd in the present for no reason, it is the only verb that drop it, so it should be, according to the Arabic verb conjugation system yar'aa.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Czech has 5 athematic verbs: býti (to be), míti (to have), dáti (to give), jísti (to eat), věděti (to know).
    They can be considered irregular. Other verbs are thematic.

    However there is a bunch of phonetic rules. If you know them and you are able to apply them correctly (quite strong requirement), then the thematic verbs are regular.
     
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    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    German 170
    Dutch Over 300-350
    I don't think this is fair. The only reason there are so many 'irregular' verbs in Dutch and German is because strong verbs are considered irregular.
    That's like saying all French verbs that don't end with -er are irregular.

    All Dutch verbs with IJ are considered irregular, but they all follow the same pattern.
    rijden
    Ik rijd
    Ik reed
    Ik heb gereden

    snijden
    Ik snijd
    Ik sneed
    Ik heb gesneden

    bijten
    Ik bijt
    Ik beet
    Ik heb gebeten

    How is this irregular?!!
     

    franciscopires

    New Member
    portuguese - Portugal
    1. Portuguese has about 1000 pure irregular verbs.
    2. plus several thousands in those that are regullar in written but IRREGULAR in pronunciation AND
    3. plus several thousands in those that are irregullar in written but REGULAR in pronunciation.

    Portuguese with its dictionary of 45,000 verbs, in the infinitive form, including reflexive verbs, if we include 2 and 3 in the list of irregular verbs, (we dont do that), we would have many, many thousands of irregular verbs.
     
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    Testing1234567

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    OP:

    How do you define irregular verbs? Where is the boundary between irregular verbs and verb conjugation types? Is "drink/drank/drunk" and "ring/rang/rung" and "swim/swam/sum" and "begin/began/begun" 4 irregular verbs or one verb class?

    Note: except for ring/rang/rung, the three other verbs are classified as Germanic class-3 strong verbs. The "i" is from the PIE "e" ablaut, the "a" is from the PIE "o" ablaut, and the "u" is from the zero grade. The story for ring/rang/rung is more complicated.

    In German, begin/began/begun is beginnen/begann/begonnen. In Old Saxon, it is biginnan/bigan/bigunnan.

    A fairer (albeit still somewhat problematic) comparison would be the number of verb classes.
     
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    Kotlas

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    Is "drink/drank/drunk" and "ring/rang/rung" and "swim/swam/sum" and "begin/began/begun" 4 irregular verbs or one verb class?
    and also - sink and stink
    Why, of course these are all irregular verbs, Testing. They just belong to the same irregularity pattern, that's all.
     

    Testing1234567

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    What do you mean by irregular verbs?Concerning the 没 and the 不 it's not that simple. Both of them can be used with most of the verb.- 我不去 : I don't go- 我没去 : I did not go.
    我不去 is the negation of 我去 I go.
    我沒去 is the negation of 我有去 I went.
    Inb4 no tense in Chinese.
    and also - sink and stink
    Why, of course these are all irregular verbs, Testing. They just belong to the same irregularity pattern, that's all.
    So there can be only one pattern that counts as the regular pattern in any given language? That's a silly notion, as you wouldn't count читать as the only regular pattern and говори́ть irregular.
     
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    franciscopires

    New Member
    portuguese - Portugal
    My experience tells me that those 4 verbs belong to the same irregular verb class, so, they are 4 irregular verbs.

    English language is very poor in verb conjugation, only the 3 scandinavian languages ( danish, norwegian and swedish) are poorer then english in verb conjugations.
    The richest verb in english is "to be" with 8 forms, in portuguese ( ser or estar) goes up to 76 forms, that NOT including auxiliary verbs.
     

    franciscopires

    New Member
    portuguese - Portugal
    No, it is not, but, however rich or poor a language is, it has got irregular verbs, does not matter if portuguese has got 76 forms for one verb and english has got 8 for one verb, in the end, english language has got many irregular verbs, over 600, and those irregular verbs do drive a latin person nuts.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    What makes "talk/talked/talked" more regular than "swim/swam/swum"?
    The fact of being a more common and more productive inflection, I'd say. I mean, there is certainly not a clear-cut line between a regular and an irregular verb (or at least in other languages) but that doesn't mean we can reject the label altogether, there are indeed typical paradigms and ones which are rare or even unique in a single verb.
     
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