English Like?

Mark Wieder ahsoftware at sonic.net
Wed May 24 23:47:15 CEST 2017


On 05/24/2017 08:03 AM, Mark Waddingham via use-livecode wrote:

 > Syntax is an emotive issue (I could beat Python to death with some of 
the decisions they have made about syntax - but yet I still use it and 
slightly enjoy doing so for the purposes I use it for) - but it is not 
the be-all-and-end-all.

I could say the same for any of the computer languages I use.
And not just computer languages- the various forms of the irregular 
verbs for instance...

Old English beon, beom, bion "be, exist, come to be, become, happen," 
from Proto-Germanic *biju- "I am, I will be." This "b-root" is from PIE 
root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow," and in addition to the words in 
English it yielded German present first and second person singular (bin, 
bist, from Old High German bim "I am," bist "thou art"), Latin 
perfective tenses of esse (fui "I was," etc.), Old Church Slavonic byti 
"be," Greek phu- "become," Old Irish bi'u "I am," Lithuanian bu'ti "to 
be," Russian byt' "to be," etc.

The modern verb to be in its entirety represents the merger of two 
once-distinct verbs, the "b-root" represented by be and the am/was verb, 
which was itself a conglomerate. Roger Lass ("Old English") describes 
the verb as "a collection of semantically related paradigm fragments," 
while Weekley calls it "an accidental conglomeration from the different 
Old English dial[ect]s." It is the most irregular verb in Modern English 
and the most common. Collective in all Germanic languages, it has eight 
different forms in Modern English:

BE (infinitive, subjunctive, imperative)
AM (present 1st person singular)
ARE (present 2nd person singular and all plural)
IS (present 3rd person singular)
WAS (past 1st and 3rd persons singular)
WERE (past 2nd person singular, all plural; subjunctive)
BEING (progressive & present participle; gerund)
BEEN (perfect participle).

Old English am had two plural forms: 1. sind/sindon, sie and 2. 
earon/aron. The s- form (also used in the subjunctive) fell from English 
in the early 13c. (though its cousin continues in German sind, the 3rd 
person plural of "to be") and was replaced by forms of be, but aron (see 
are) continued, and as am and be merged it encroached on some uses that 
previously had belonged to be. By the early 1500s it had established its 
place in standard English.

That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all.
["Macbeth" I.vii.5]

-- 
  Mark Wieder
  ahsoftware at gmail.com



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