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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

Called also the active participle and the participle in ing


The

following is a specimen of the future power of _be['o]n_ in Anglo-Saxon:--_"Hi ne _be['o]dh_ na c['i]lde, sodhlice, on domesdaege, ac _be['o]dh_ swa micele menn swa swa hi migton be['o]n gif hi full weoxon on gewunlicre ylde."_--Aelfric's Homilies. "They _will not be_ children, forsooth, on Domesday, but _will be_ as much (so muckle) men as they might be if they were full grown (waxen) in customary age."

s. 341. Now, if we consider the word _be['o]n_ like the word _weordhan_ (see s. 343) to mean not so much _to be_ as to _become_, we get an element of the idea of futurity. Things which are _becoming anything_ have yet something further to either do or suffer. Again, from the idea of futurity we get the idea of contingency, and this explains the subjunctive power of _be_. In English we often say _may_ for _shall_, and the same was done in Anglo-Saxon.

s. 342. _Am_.--Of this form it should be stated that the letter -m is no part of the original word. It is the sign of the first person, just as it is in _Greek_, and several other languages.

It should also be stated, that although the fact be obscured, and although the changes be insufficiently accounted for, the forms _am_, _art_, _are_, and _is_, are not, like _am_ and _was_, parts of different words, but forms of one and the same word; in other terms, that, although between _am_ and _be_ there is no etymological connexion, there

is one between _am_ and _is_. This we collect from the comparison of the Indo-European languages.

1. 2. 3. Sanskrit _Asmi_ _Asi_ _Asti_. Zend _Ahmi_ _Asi_ _Ashti_. Greek [Greek: Eimi] [Greek: Eis] [Greek: Esti]. Latin _Sum_ _Es_ _Est_. Lithuanic _Esmi_ _Essi_ _Esti_. Old Slavonic _Yesmy_ _Yesi_ _Yesty_. Moeso-Gothic _Im_ _Is_ _Ist_. Old Saxon -- [63]_Is_ _Ist_. Anglo-Saxon _Eom_ _Eart_ _Is_. Icelandic _Em_ _Ert_ _Er_. English _Am_ _Art_ _Is_.

s. 343. _Worth_.--In the following lines of Scott, the word _worth_ = _is_, and is a fragment of the regular Anglo-Saxon verb _weordhan_ = _to be_, or _to become_; German _werden_.

Woe _worth_ the chase, woe _worth_ the day, That cost thy life, my gallant grey.--_Lady of the Lake._

* * * * *

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE PRESENT PARTICIPLE.

s. 344. The present participle, called also the active participle and the participle in -ing, is formed from the original word by adding -ing; as, _move_, _moving_. In the older languages the termination was more marked, being -nd. Like the Latin participle in -ns, it was originally declined. The Moeso-Gothic and Old High German forms are _habands_ and _hap[^e]nt['e]r_ = _having_, respectively. The -s in the one language, and the -[^e]r in the other, are the signs of the case and gender. In the Old Saxon and Anglo-Saxon the forms are -and and -ande; as _bindand_, _bindande_ = _binding_. In all the Norse languages, ancient and modern, the -d is preserved. So it is in the Old Lowland Scotch, and in many of the modern provincial dialects of England, where _strikand_, _goand_, is said for _striking_, _going_. In Staffordshire, where the -ing is pronounced -ingg, there is a fuller sound than that of the current English. In Old English the form in -nd is predominant, in Middle English the use fluctuates, and in New English the termination -ing is universal. In the Scotch of the modern writers we find the form -in.


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