Thursday, January 03, 2008

Read or Dead

I will read your comments later. I read a few comments today.

Today's note will lead to a more generic point. Yesterday's note led to a more genetic point.

In both "I read" and "you read" the tense is ambiguous and it can be very misleading. You thought. You wrote. You read. Why can't that word follow where others have led?

There is a significant trend in English for irregular verbs to become more regular. Based on millions of words of historical text, an excellent academic article has calculated the actual rates very precisely.

New verbs entering the English language universally follow regular conjugation rules. The least frequently used irregular verbs changed, or regularized, fastest. The data predicts the half-lives of 'be' and 'have' are 38,800 years, making these two verbs the most resistant to regularization. The team also predicts that the next irregular verb that will regularize is wed/wed/wed, because it is the least frequently used modern irregular verb. In fact, this verb is already is being replaced by wed/wedded/wedded in the four major English-language dictionaries.

Unfortunately, read doesn't seem to register as an irregular verb. I wish it did.

1 comment:

Faisal said...

What about wedding? When will that take on the correct meaning (to be getting well and, wedded?