English Like?

Bob Sneidar bobsneidar at iotecdigital.com
Thu May 25 21:08:10 CEST 2017


Okay you copied that from an online encyclopedia! 

Bob S


> On May 24, 2017, at 14:47 , Mark Wieder via use-livecode <use-livecode at lists.runrev.com> 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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