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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

And is only the subjunctive of am


290. In the forms _luf-iadh_, and _lov-en_, the change from singular to plural is made by adding a syllable; but there is no reason against the inflection running thus--_I love_, _thou lovest_, _he loves_; _we lave_, _ye lave_, _they lave_; in other words, there is no reason against the _vowel_ of the root being changed, just as is the case with the form _speak, spoke_; _fall, fell_.

Now, in Anglo-Saxon, with a great number of verbs such a plural inflection not only actually takes place, but takes place most regularly. It takes place, however, in the past tense only. And this is the case in all the Gothic languages as well as in Anglo-Saxon. Amongst the rest, in--


Sk['a]in, _I shone_; skinum, _we shone_. Sm['a]it, _I smote_; smitum, _we smote_. K['a]us, _I chose_; kusum, _we chose_. L['a]ug, _I lied_; lugum, _we lied_. Gab, _I gave_; g[^e]bum, _we gave_. At, _I ete_; ['e]tum, _we ete_. Stal, _I stole_; st['e]lum, _we stole_. Qvam, _I came_; qy[^e]mum, _we came_.


Arn, _I ran_; urnon, _we run_. Ongan, _I began_; ongunnon, _we begun_. Span, _I span_; spunnon, _we spun_. Sang, _I sang_; sungon, _we sung_. Swang, _I swang_; swangon, _we swung_. Dranc, _I drank_; druncon, _we drunk_. Sanc, _I sank_; suncon, _we sunk_. Sprang, _I sprang_; sprungon, _we

sprung_. Swam, _I swam_; swummon, _we swum_. Rang, _I rang_; rungon, _we rung_.

From these examples the reader has himself drawn his inference; viz. that words like

_Began_, _begun_. _Ran_, _run_. _Span_, _spun_. _Sang_, _sung_. _Swang_, _swung_. _Sprang_, _sprung_. _Sank_, _sunk_. _Swam_, _swum_. _Rang_, _rung_. _Bat_, _bit_. _Smote_, _smit_. _Drank_, _drunk_, &c.,

generally called double forms of the past tense, were originally _different numbers of the same tense_, the forms in a, as _swam_, being singular, and the forms in u, as _swum_, plural.

* * * * *



s. 291. The Anglo-Saxon infinitive has already been considered.

Between the second plural imperative, and the second plural indicative, _speak ye_, and _ye speak_, there is no difference of form.

Between the second singular imperative _speak_, and the second singular indicative, _speakest_, there is a difference in form.

Still, as the imperative form _speak_ is distinguished from the indicative form _speakest_ by the _negation_ of a character rather than by the possession of one, it cannot be said that there is in English any imperative mood.

s. 292. _If he speak_, as opposed to _if he speaks_, is characterized by a negative sign only, and consequently is no true example of a subjunctive. _Be_, as opposed to _am_, in the sentence _if it be so_, is a fresh word used in a limited sense, and consequently no true example of a subjunctive. It is a different word altogether, and is only the subjunctive of _am_, in the way _puss_ is the vocative of _cat_.

The only true subjunctive inflection in the English language is that of _were_ and _wert_, as opposed to the indicative forms _was_ and _wast_.

_Indicative._ | _Subjunctive._ _Singular._ | _Singular._ _Plural._ 1. I was. | If I were. If we were. 2. Thou wast. | If thou wert. If ye were. 3. He was. | If he were. If they were.

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