Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 20
    #1

    Why do irregulars exist?

    Is there a reason why there are irregular verbs/plural forms etc?

    Why can't the past tense of 'go' be 'goed'?

    If the plural of 'house' is 'houses', why can't the plural of 'mouse' be
    'mouses'?

    Why can't the compartive form of 'good' be 'gooder'?

    When and for what reason did these rule breakers of language come about?


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    It occurs because of what is termed Erosion of Language.

    This occurred in the past, and gave us the irregularities. And you can see it happening now:
    In Australia, you will hear:
    I wish he had of given it to me/I wish he had of gone when I axed him.
    "I dunno" instead of "I don't know."
    Let some pupil in the future ask some poor teacher why 'dunno' is such an irregular verb. "Teacher, why do we say, 'I dunno' but not 'Dunno you?; or "Dun you no?" Why, in the negative, do we say, "I dunno", but in the positive, say,"I know." Is there a reason why there are irregular verbs/plural forms etc,. Miss?

    In America you hear:
    I had ran/went to the shop./I had sang. They are 'smoothing' out the irregularities, giving us 'sing, sang, singing' and maybe 'gone' and 'run' and 'sung' will disappear.

    All around, people say things like, "The boat sunk" instead of 'sank'.

    Pity the poor teachers of the future trying to explain why an instrument used for chopping wood also means 'seeking information'.

    You ask:
    Why can't the past tense of 'go' be 'goed'?
    You mean, like the past tense of 'make' used to be (circa 13th century) 'maked', pronounced 'make -ed'. This, it seems, was too much to say, so the 'k' became more and more 'swallowed' till we had 'ma'ed' - and not much of a jump then, to 'made'. So, when this took hold by the 15th century, some Victorian school ma'am then had to explain why the past tense of 'make' is the irregular 'made'

    It's partly caused by slovenly speech; and it's whether the changes have any rhyme or reason. For instance, 'why do we use the preposition 'of' in the past perfect form of a verb as in 'had of given'. One day, someone in this forum will be asking!!

    In all honesty, I should point out that my little rant doesn't compare with the more articulate doomsayers for the future of the English language. In 1712, Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver's Travels fame) wrote:"I do here, in the Name of all the Learned and Polite Persons of the Nation complain...that our language is extremely imperfect; that its daily Improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily Corruption..."
    As recently as 1974, a Viennese critic called Weigel wrote: "Every age claims that its language is more endangered and threatened by decay than never before. In our time, however, language really is endangered and threatened by decay as never before..."
    Last edited by David L.; 10-Oct-2008 at 09:26.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #3

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    It occurs because of what is termed Erosion of Language.

    This occurred in the past, and gave us the irregularities. And you can see it happening now:
    In Australia, you will hear:
    I wish he had of given it to me/I wish he had of gone when I axed him.
    "I dunno" instead of "I don't know."
    Urban Dictionary:

    Axed

    An African American word for asked.
    Jerome axed his mother for some money to go to the store.

    "Axed" is very rarely heard in Australia for "asked".
    Yes, you will hear "of" instead of "have" as frequently as anywhere in the English speaking world.
    But to answer the OP's question, you will have to admit that irregular verbs arose in England, perhaps even partly in London.

    You're much more credible, David, when you are dealing with Standard English grammar questions rather than when you decide to bash other countries and dialects (not least because you don't seem to have the necessary knowledge of non-British varieties).

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,910
    #4

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Sopme of the rules go back hundreds of years- irregular plurals with -n, like children, oxen, etc, go back to the period when Saxon and Viking languages mixed and the -s form became dominant and squeezed out most of the plural formed with -n.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #5

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Raymott:
    ...rather than when you decide to bash other countries and dialects (not least because you don't seem to have the necessary knowledge of non-British varieties).

    I spent 43 years in Australia. I speak from experience, both in Australia, and many many trips to the USA, and my daily doses of reality programs in the US (and I don't refer to 'high class pulp' like Oprah), where I am fascinated by their use of language. I comment on what I hear. Just because your exposure to language is so constricted that you are not aware of my own examples...

    Politeness constrains me from commenting on that totally uncalled for attack, but words like 'smug' and 'sanctimonious' and 'prig' dance before my eyes.
    It is one thing to point out differences in opinion and errors - but what the hell gives you authority to pass judgment on my 'credibility' other than your own competitive audacity!

    You, mate, have overstepped the mark - or should I say, have reset the boundaries. I look forward to making more observations on the quality of your own posts in the future, all in the interests of preserving the highest possible standards and credibility of this forum.
    Last edited by David L.; 10-Oct-2008 at 15:20.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #6

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    .
    Politeness constrains me from commenting on that totally uncalled for attack,
    Well, apparently politeness hasn't done any such thing, since here you are commenting. Do you see how your emotional responses trick you into illogical replies that do not occur when you stick to what you're good at.

    but words like 'smug' and 'sanctimonious' and 'prig' dance before my eyes.
    I know they do. You've called Soup as much, at least. No doubt they often give you merry entertainment.

    It is one thing to point out differences in opinion and errors - but what the hell gives you authority to pass judgment on my 'credibility' other than your own competitive audacity!
    I have no wish to compete with you, David. For what? I find you (usually) credible when you answer grammatical questions, and keep your prejudices against other countries and peoples to yourself. That's just my opinion.

    I look forward to making more observations on the quality of your own posts in the future, all in the interests of preserving the highest possible standards and credibility of this forum.
    Sarcasm really does diminish you. You want to catch me out because you want to punish me for calling you ... let me check ... less credible when your ranting. Do you think I'm a fool?
    If anyone doubts that your credibility falls when you mount your high horse, let them consider whether you have given an honest reason for why you are going to monitor my posts more closely in future.
    R.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    #7

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Federerexpress View Post
    Is there a reason why there are irregular verbs... ?

    Why can't the past tense of 'go' be 'goed'?

    When and for what reason did these rule breakers of language come about?
    "Most irregular verbs exist as remnants of historical conjugation systems. What is today an exception actually followed a set, normal rule long ago. When that rule fell into disuse, some verbs kept the old conjugation." .

    Most English irregular verbs originated in Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon: spoken between the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century.)

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_irregular_verbs


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #8

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Raymott:
    Well, apparently politeness hasn't done any such thing,

    I guess the subtleties of English escape you. Let me explain: I was being sarcastic.

    I will read no further as I have no intention of dignifying you by responding any further. My opinion of you was early formed, now confirmed.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #9

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I said:
    (not least because you don't seem to have the necessary knowledge of non-British varieties).
    Sorry, I should have written "you don't seem to have the necessary respect for non-British varieties".
    I'm sure your knowledge is equal to mine, and I don't mind your knocking yourself out to prove it.

  4. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #10

    Re: Why do irregulars exist?

    Children, children. In the words of Sky Masterson, in Luck, be a lady tonight, 'Let's keep the party polite.'

    To return to the topic, people seem to have missed this point (though David L approached it, whil discussing the English language family, and I haven't combed though every word of this thread - so I may be wrong): irregularities are not peculiar to English. Show me a natural language and I'll show you an irregularity. In the development of human languages, irregularities necessarily occur; see Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language for a thought-provoking account.

    (Some languages have more irregularities than others, and for historical reasons English has more than many. But a good place to start in your search for irregularities in your own languages is the verb "to be".)

    b

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The middle sound of exist...
    By ongetz in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-Aug-2008, 09:56
  2. Does it exist?
    By ovos in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Dec-2007, 22:18
  3. does "Northern Irish" exist?
    By retro in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Sep-2007, 04:39
  4. what is the difference between Exist and Exists
    By premanand in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-Jan-2006, 22:50
  5. Dose cyber-love really exist in our lives?
    By winster in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-Aug-2004, 16:42

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •