Harvard students tell us that our verbs are obsele...
Harvard students tell us that our verbs are obselete
This article on the Register tells how some Harvard students (yes, from the country that "revised" the spelling used in the English Language) are trying to tell us that a number of our irregular verbs are likely to become obselete.
To back their case, the researchers identified 177 irregular verbs used in Old English and tracked their use over the centuries from Beowulf to Harry Potter via The Canterbury Tales.
They found that the figure had been reduced to 145 by the 14th century, and the current lingo boasts just 98 - a paltry three per cent of all verbs.
The team says that of the 98, 15 will have evolved into regular verbs within the next 500 years. The preterites "very likely" to suffer the ignominious fate are "bade" (bidded) "shed" (shedded), "slew" (slayed), "slit" (slitted), "stung" (stinged) and "wed" (wedded).
Among those most likely to resist are "ate", "broke", "bought", "chose", "drew" and "drank".