Talk:Germanic strong verb

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Work in progress[edit]


Yes, but bear with me - it may take a couple of days, but I have the material on my harddisk!--Doric Loon 08:58, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK, this is now where I wanted to get it to. It would be good if other people could add a short note of the Afrikaans or Yiddish situation at the end of each section. And apart from that, I would be glad of a careful correction from anyone interested enough to get out the source books and check it all. What we need now is similar work done on the articles East Germanic strong verb and North Germanic strong verb - it would be good if they can be kept exactly parallel in terms of structure, headings etc. --Doric Loon 11:50, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Merge this into "Germanic strong verb"[edit]

IMO the three-way north/west/east article split makes little sense. most info on this page, for example, is not specific to west germanic. it would make more sense to combine all three into a "Germanic strong verb" article, with sections describing the continuations into the various daughter languages. Benwing 04:31, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

I have no objection to that in principle, except for a slight worry about the length. The equivalent articles on East and North Germanic never got written, but they would have been much shorter anyway, I suspect, especially East. Do you think this article can stretch to cover Gothic and Old Norse? The problem with Gothic, of course, is that it has has reduplication in the six classes rather than a seventh class, which could not be tacked on briefly but would certainly become quite a chunky subsection. But OK, you go ahead. --Doric Loon 07:14, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Vowel 'length'[edit]

..In the later Middle Ages, all three languages eliminated the distinction between the vowels of the singular and plural preterite forms. The new uniform preterite could be based on the vowel of the old preterite singular, or on the old plural, or sometimes on the participle. In English, the distinction remains in the verb "to be": I was, we were. In Dutch, it remains in the verbs of classes 4 & 5, but only in vowel length: ik brak (I broke - short a), wij braken (we broke - long ā).

This discussion is somewhat confused by the (unfortunately ineradicable) nomenclature of Dutch vowels. The distinction between the vowels in brak en braken is not so much a matter of vowel length. The first vowel is IPA: [ɑ] the second one can be either written as [a] or [aː], where the length is not of phonemic distinction, but a matter of emphasis etc. Only in Dutch words where the vowel is followed by 'r' like bord and boord is the vowel really distinguished by length alone [ɔ] vs. [ɔː] resp. (as the orthography seems to indicate). af:Gebruiker:Jcwf

Yes, this is not just a Dutch phenomenon - the same is very much true in English. Most languages which have long/short vowel pairs (typical really of the whole Indo-European family) have qualitative as well as quantitative differences within these pairs, and in the case of English and Dutch, quantity seems to have become markedly less important in distinguishing these phonemes than quality. Historical linguists nevertheless class the pairs according to length, since that is correct from an Indo-European point of view. It is one of the many interesting examples of synchronic and diachronic linguistics analysing things differently - both correctly and for their own very good reasons. I wouldn't want to go into this in this article, but you are welcome to point to a discussion of this at, say, Dutch grammar or vowel length. --Doric Loon 19:54, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Where's Frisian?[edit]

Although currently the smallest language of the West Germanic group, Frisian is a West Germanic language. I'm not at all familiar with this language, but shouldn't it at least be mentioned somewhere on this page? 11:32, 20 March 2006 (UTC) KH

For the most part, my own feeling is that German, English and Dutch are sufficient to show the general patterns, but you are welcome to disagree. If you have the data, you could add the smaller languages at the bottom of each section: no doubt someone will want Yiddish and Scots and Afrikaans too. But I wouldn't clutter the article with the attempt to include every known variant: if for example Yiddish is only a minor and entirely regular sound shift away from German, it really doesn't need a full account in each section. An alternative would be a short note at the very bottom of the article. --Doric Loon 16:29, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

From Dutch to Afrikaans[edit]

The distinction between strong and weak verbs has been lost in Afrikaans as all verbs follow the weak pattern. For example the ancestral Dutch hij heeft gezongen has become hy het gesing ("he sang/has sung/had sung). "He sings" is hy sing - as you can see there is no change in vowel sound and it follows the same pattern as hy werk (he works), hy het gewerk (he worked/has worked/had worked). Afrikaans has even lost the inflection that distinguishes the present from the infinitive form of the verb in Dutch. Perhaps this should be mentioned in the article, but I could not find a place where it would go easily without disrupting the article. Booshank 13:11, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Ok I decided to do it; I added a bullet From Dutch to Afrikaans. Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 22:51, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Dutch verbs 'zitten' and 'zien'[edit]

I've added 'zitten' to group 5, as it's in German as well, and follows German 'sitzen': zitten, zat, gezeten. I'm not sure whether Dutch 'zien' (German 'sehen') is originally in this group as well, although it may be reduced in the participle (zien, zag, gezien). 11:57, 20 March 2006 (UTC) KH

Quite right, zien should be in there; I've added it with an explanation. --Doric Loon 16:25, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


Throughout this article, the long variety of æ is indicated with a grave accent. This is a temporary solution because I couldn't find how to put a macron over this letter. (Other long vowels are marked with a macron: ā, ō etc.) If anyone can substitute the correct symbol it would be a big improvement. --Doric Loon 09:33, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

I changed ǽ to ǣ. In order to make it display right on MSIE, I had to use {{latinx}}. This made the changes a little more error-prone than a simple character substitution; so someone should proofread them. --teb728 06:44, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, that looks great. Though this symbol and a good many others used on the linguistics pages of Wiki are unreadable in my Internet Explorer (even on my brand new state-of-the-art laptop) so that I can only read them using Mozilla. But presumably that will sort itself out in the next generation. Anyway, definite improvement TEB. --Doric Loon 21:05, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Return to merge[edit]

As nothing more has been done about Benwig's merge request, it seems time to set the ball rolling. There was no objection, and I personally think he is quite right. As a first step I am moving this article from West Germanic strong verb to Germanic strong verb and fixing the links accordingly. Step two would be for the (minimal) information in East Germanic strong verb and North Germanic strong verb to be merged here, and those two to be turned into redirects. Then, hopefully, fuller details of the East and North variants can be built in here. If in the process the article becomes too long, we can split it in a different way, by taking the detailed survey of each class into an article of its own. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Meanwhile, those of you with North and East Germanic expertise are needed here. --Doric Loon 21:21, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Five years later, this merge looks like a big mistake. Nothing has been added about North and East Germanic strong verbs. Therefore, this article should be renamed West Germanic strong verb.-- (talk) 16:00, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
No, information about North and East Germanic should be added. —Angr (talk) 18:18, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
In principle, I'm with Angr on this, but if fully developed this page could end up way too long for anyone who wants a quick overview rather than the fully gory detail. Still, I suppose we can worry about that when we get there. --Pfold (talk) 16:46, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

East and North Germanic[edit]

Inspired by a brief discussion on the userpage of Dr. Elwin Ransom I would like to return to this and see whether it is possible to move the article forward. I wrote this almost single-handedly (apart from a few very useful minor corrections by two or three other users) and therefore it concentrates on the languages I know, which are West Germanic. Originally it was actually called West Germanic strong verb, and equivalent East and North Germanic articles were planned, but they were merged when these were never written. (See merge discussion above!) I am not sure that this three-way division would have been a good idea anyway, since recent scholarship suggests the classification of the Germanic languages is more complex than that. But I do definitely still have an ambition to get Norse and Gothic integrated into this, and possibly even more on reconstructed Proto Germanic. Elwin, are you competent to do that? One problem, of course, is that adding detailed descriptions of the verbs in these languages would make a long article very long indeed. One possible solution to this is to move a lot of the detail to sub-articles on the seven classes. But perhaps we should first add the new material and then think about it. Another problem is that Gothic does not have seven classes: class seven appears as a reduplicating sub-class to each of the first six. Since that reflects the original situation in Proto Germanic, it has logical priority, and the West Germanic situation is actually the abberation which should be mentioned second. But how do we then structure the article? --Doric Loon 09:50, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

usage: broadcast[edit]

The 2006 Asian Games article treats broadcast as a weak verb, so the past tense is currently spelled broadcasted in the article. I am pretty sure broadcast is a strong verb and the past tense is also spelled broadcast. Does anyone else think this? Ancheta Wis 10:12, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

English irregular verbs listed cast, so I added broadcast 10:20, 18 December 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ancheta Wis (talkcontribs)
Not all irregular verbs are strong. In strong verbs the irregularity results from ablaut, which changes their root vowels. Cast and broadcast are weak verbs in which the dental ending is usually assimilated to the dental of the stem. --teb728 18:51, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

But yes, the correct past tense is broadcast, not broadcasted. --Doric Loon 12:30, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

reverting anonymous edits[edit]

An anonymous user just added a lot of verbs to this article. Many of them are not strong in modern English. Some of them do not even exist in modern English (nim!). Some of them do have related adjectives derived from OLD past strong participles, but that has nothing to do with the question of whether the verbs themselves are still strong. To qualify for entry in this article, a verb must be strong in modern usage, and it goes in under the verb class which it had in Old English. For that reason I have reverted the whole series of edits. That doesn't mean none of them are right, though, and we can talk more. --Doric Loon 22:17, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary lists bide/bode/bided, rive/rived/riven, shrive/shrove/shriven (class 1); fling/flung/flung, grind/ground/ground, ring/rang/rung (class 3); bid/bade/bidden, chide/chid/chid (class 5). It also lists strew/strewed/strewn and string/strung/strung, which I think were originally weak. To my amazement it actually listed nim as a weak verb. --teb728 08:59, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, Webster's is a good enough authority for me here. But after I reverted here I discovered the anonymous had also added "strong" verbs to the List of English irregular verbs including "walk, welk, walken", which makes me think this is just someone having a joke. So from now on I want a dictionary reference for anything which is not obviously our contemporary language. --Doric Loon 15:48, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

fixes to modern english[edit]

I made a bunch of fixes to the verbs claimed to be in various classes in Modern English. Many archaic verbs were listed; a number of verbs were in the wrong classes (e.g. wake, weave); a number of verbs that now form their principal parts according to the Old English class 1 weak pattern (e.g. meet, let, sleep) were wrongly listed as strong verbs. Benwing (talk) 00:27, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Most Common in Dutch[edit]

The paragraph read:

Some verbs, which might be termed "semi-strong", have formed a weak preterite but retained the strong participle, or rarely vice versa. This type of verb is the most common in Dutch:

Doric Loon edited it to read:

Some verbs, which might be termed "semi-strong", have formed a weak preterite but retained the strong participle, or rarely vice versa. This type of verb is most common in Dutch:

(Notice the missing "the" at the end.)

This changes the meaning of the sentence, and as this is a subtlety of English and this page in particular has (I hope!) a strong international presence, I thought it might be useful to discuss.

The first version (with the) means that of all the Dutch verbs, the semi-strong verb is the most common. The second version (without the) means that of all the languages with semi-strong verbs, Dutch is the language where they are most often found.

So: which is it?

Thanks, Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 17:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Semi-strong verbs are definitely not the most common of Dutch verbs. Weak verbs are the most common, with strong verbs coming second. So I think the second meaning is what is intended. CodeCat (talk) 22:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks CodeCat. I know it seems like I was splitting hairs but, well, that's what I do ;-) Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 02:27, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I like hair-splitters! It was me that wrote this sentence way back, and it was certainly my intention not to have the definite article in there. Either that was a typo or somebody added it. (Too lazy to go back through the history and check.) So the second meaning is correct. These semi-strong verbs do not exist in English, but there is a tiny group of them in German, and there is a larger tiny group in Dutch. --Doric Loon (talk) 11:01, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Not exactly tiny but still small. Wiktionary has 60 of them... wikt:Category:Dutch mixed verbs CodeCat (talk) 22:12, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Wow! 60?
BTW, I should point out that the phrase "semi-strong verb" was my coinage. I used it for convenience when I started this article, but included a note that it was not a technical term. That caveat has disappeared. Of course I would be delighted and flattered if the phrase catches on; but until you see it in an academic text book, treat it purely as a descriptive formulation. --Doric Loon (talk) 16:40, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Reminds me of semi-soft cheese. Angr (talk) 17:00, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I think at the time I was thinking of semi-skimmed milk :-) --Doric Loon (talk) 17:44, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
List of English irregular verbs includes several verbs that can have a weak preterite and strong participle, or vice versa. Among them are bequeath, crow, lade, mow, prove, saw, sew, shape, show, and upswell. Additionally, there are quite a few verbs that can be conjugated both as weak and as strong verbs, and I wouldn't be surprised if some people mix these, sometimes using one form in the preterite and another in the participle.
Moreover, while I don't know how the frequency compares with Dutch, it is also fairly common in Scandinavian languages. For instance, see in Norwegian bokmål is se, and is conjugated se - ser - så - sett. A difference from Dutch could be that, in Scandinavia, a strong preterite and a weak participle is by far the most common way around. These verbs are generally categorized and treated as strong verbs.-- (talk) 14:37, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the scandinavian languages are a good example. In Old Norse (from which they descend), the default form of the participle ended in -t (which is from the adjective inflection, compare that), and it's that -t which now appears in scandinavian verbs. Moreover, it appears in all past participles, even the strong ones, but only in their default form, not when used in agreement with a subject. For example Swedish jag har fallit "I have fallen" but de fallna äpplena "the fallen apples". CodeCat (talk) 17:28, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Vocabulary issue[edit]

The final column heading in the table in the "Verb Classes" section has the phrase "Class Inspired into Germanic".

What does this mean? "Inspired into" is non-standard English and doesn't seem to mean anything. And it also doesn't appear that "inspired" is being used in its original, Latin meaning of "breathe [life] into" (because that would require a different word order or structure). [One may inspire someone (direct object), be inspired by someone or something (passive construction), or be inspired to do something (infinitive of result or purpose), but "inspired into"? Why the implied movement? --Is this a usage parallel drawn from/inspired by "forced into"?]

Why not simply "Germanic Class" as a heading?

And, speaking of splitting hairs (sub "Most Common in Dutch", above), "It was me that wrote" should be "It was I who wrote".

(Yes, I do yell at the television whenever a split infinitive, dangling modifier or failure-to-use-the-subjunctive be heard! It's a wonder I'm not hoarse...)

--Polemyx (talk) 12:54, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

dubious PIE forms[edit]

Quite a few of the PIE forms seem dubious and contradict, say, Ringe's description in that they pre-suppose PIE forms that stand in regular sound correspondences with the Proto-Germanic forms. This includes the perfect plural ending (which was *-e:r and not *-nd in PIE) and the ablaut *-e:- in the perfect plural stem of the 4th and 5th classes (which should have had a zero grade instead), both of which Ringe explains as late analogies, the latter involving a laryngeal (p.193, pp.186-187 respectively). The vowel of the past participle of the 5th class should have had a zero-grade too, though Ringe thinks this change had "almost certainly" happened already in late PIE (p.187). The vowel *-o- preceding the *-no- participle ending is also a secondary Germanic development in his view (p.193).-- (talk) 13:33, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

This is true... But if we use the actual PIE forms, we risk losing sight of what we're really trying to explain in this article, which is the ablaut alternation patterns. The reconstructions for PIE could be limited only to the parts that haven't been remodelled between PIE and PG, which would usually be the stem, but that still wouldn't help with the lengthened grade. Maybe we should not use the term 'PIE' but instead 'Pre-Germanic'? CodeCat (talk) 19:49, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I'd go for the first option (and just ignore the lengthened grade); perhaps one could mention separately the PIE precursors of the endings, etc.. However, in any case, the remodelled parts should be indicated as such, and that as soon as possible, because the current exposition is bound to mislead people to get an incorrect idea about PIE verbal morphology. Most of our readers are not already experts in this and would be likely to take the forms labelled PIE at face value. I think "Pre-Germanic" would still be factually inaccurate, since the morphological remodellings did not necessarily precede each and every Germanic sound change that remains unreflected in the forms currently labelled "PIE" in this article. -- (talk) 11:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
One change that did happen is the creation of new perfect-aspect forms for roots that originally lacked them. If we wanted to be entirely correct, we'd have to leave many past tenses blank altogether because PIE had no corresponding form. I don't see how that would be any more helpful for explaining the Germanic forms than just listing the stem ablaut. CodeCat (talk) 11:59, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, re-creating a possible lexeme (and the different aspect versions of the verb were originally such) does not seem as bad to me as using morphonological patterns that never existed. "I took all the redges and twingled them into the lox" is not really misleading about the structure of the English, unlike, say, "I takavi alla thos booklar muta-throw-and they boxina-toin". Really, something - anything of what we've discussed in terms of possibilities, some clarifying notes, whatever - does need to be done urgently; every reader who visits this page is being misled as we are speaking. So why don't I just do it myself, if I think it's so important? Because I am not an active Wikipedian devoted the project, just a lazy passer-by with too much other stuff on his hands; and this looks like a long and painful edit. But really, coming up with new learned considerations while the very basic confusion in the article remains unchanged is useless. Maybe I'll come back and do something eventually, maybe I won't, but in any case, the best scenario would be if someone like you did it before that.-- (talk) 18:43, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Major restructuring[edit]

I'm afraid I don't like the major restructuring that was done November 3. A lot of information that I refer to once in a while has disappeared. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 11:41, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

What would you like to be added back in? CodeCat (talk) 17:47, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Well, everything that I added in the last eight months, for starters! It's hard to see what you took out because when I request to see the differences between your version and the previous version, I get a comparison that shows that a sentence was removed in the first paragraph, and then after that there's nothing in common. Whatever you kept is not recognized by the comparison program because it loses all "synchronization" between the two versions. Let's put it this way -- the article was interesting and had a lot of detailed information. Now I don't find a lot of that. Maybe we should put it back the way it was, and then we can discuss what to take out? Eric Kvaalen (talk) 10:18, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As the person who originally wrote the old version (a lot of detail was added by other users, but it was still pretty much my text) I have to say that the restructuring is a definite improvement. It may make it harder to compare one particular verb over several languages, but it makes it a lot easier to get an overview of any one language, and it solves the problem I always had of not being able to fit Gothic into the article structure. So well done. It seems to me that most of the data has been kept, but a few things may have slipped out. But that's the kind of thing that happens when a reorganization takes place. Maybe Eric can identify what else he sees missing? --Doric Loon (talk) 19:12, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I have just done a big edit putting back a lot of what was taken out. But I'm still not really satisfied. As Doric Loon says, in the previous version it was possible to compare what happened in the various languages with each class of verb. I think there's still a lot of material missing on how each class developed in Old English or Old High German or Old Saxon. People did a lot of work on this article which was simply removed!
Here's a link to the old version: [1]
It would be nice to have more on the Nordic languages by the way.
Can one of you check my recent edit of wiktionary:been#Middle English? A user called Stardsen put in a conjugation table which looked dubious to me.
Eric Kvaalen (talk) 19:49, 25 January 2014 (UTC)