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USAGE: German 'be' (was: Re: Person distinctions in languages?{

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Friday, February 4, 2005, 9:47
On 4 Feb 2005, at 8.29 pm, Philip Newton wrote:

> I don't know the history, but "wes" certainly exists in the past > participle: "gewesen". I suppose it's also what is responsible for the > imperfect "war(st), waren", since Low German has "was" there (as in > English).
English was and were both derive from an earlier verb that had the same consonant but different stress and stuff after the consonant, which meant that the *s in the origin of 'were' became *z which in West Germanic became *r. _waren_ probably reflects the r form (as En. 'were'; _warst_ might be a generalisation, or it could be the natural evolution.
> I believe Low German has "wees" as the imperative... [pIs] is not > *that* far from there.
> Hm... this should receive a subject tag, but I'm not sure which. > [USAGE]?
Probably, and a different subject in any case. -- Tristan.


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>