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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

The following double praeterites are differently explained


s.

301. The following double praeterites are differently explained. The primary one _often_ (but not _always_) is from the Anglo-Saxon _participle_, the secondary from the Anglo-Saxon _praeterite_.

_Present._ _Primary Praeterite._ _Secondary Praeterite._ Cleave Clove [55]Clave. Steal Stole [55]Stale. Speak Spoke Spake. Swear Swore Sware. Bear Bore Bare. Tear Tore [55]Tare. Wear Wore [55]Ware. Break Broke Brake. Get Got [55]Gat. Tread Trod Trad. Bid Bade Bid. Eat Ate Ete.

s. 302. The following verbs have only a single form for the praeterite,--

_Present._ _Praeterite._ | _Present._ _Praeterite._ | Fall Fell. | Forsake Forsook. Befall Befell. | Eat Ate. Hold Held. | Give Gave. Draw Drew. | Wake Woke. Slay Slew. | Grave Grove. Fly Flew. | Shape

Shope. Blow Blew. | Strike Struck. Crow Crew. | Shine Shone. Know Knew. | Abide Abode. Grow Grew. | Strive Strove. Throw Threw. | Climb Clomb. Let Let. | Hide Hid. Beat Beat. | Dig Dug. Come Came. | Cling Clung. Heave Hove. | Swell Swoll. Weave Wove. | Grind Ground. Freeze Froze. | Wind Wound. Shear Shore. | Choose Chose. ---- Quoth. | Stand Stood. Seethe Sod. | Lie Lay. Shake Shook. | See Saw. Take Took. |

s. 303. An arrangement of the preceding verbs into classes, according to the change of vowel, is by no means difficult, even in the present stage of the English language. In the Anglo-Saxon, it was easier still. It is also easier in the provincial dialects, than in the literary English. Thus, when

_Break_ is pronounced _Breek_, _Bear_ -- _Beer_, _Tear_ -- _Teer_, _Swear_ -- _Sweer_, _Wear_ -- _Weer_,

as they actually are by many speakers, they come in the same class with,--

_Speak_ pronounced _Speek_, _Cleave_ -- _Cleeve_,

and form their praeterite by means of a similar change, i.e., by changing the sound of the ee in _feet_ (spelt ea) into that of the a in _fate_; viewed thus, the irregularity is less than it appears to be at first sight.

Again, _tread_ is pronounced _tredd_, but many provincial speakers say _treed_, and so said the Anglo-Saxons, whose form was _ic trede_ = _I tread_. Their praeterite was _traed_. This again subtracts from the apparent irregularity.

Instances of this kind may be multiplied; the whole question, however, of the conjugation of the _strong verbs_ is best considered after the perusal of the next chapter.


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