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Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Saturday, October 2, 1999, 6:59
Nik Taylor wrote:
> > Sally Caves wrote: > > No, that wasn't the point. It wasn't my point, at least. My point was > > about standard modern English, in which the verb wrought isn't used > > anymore, > > in response to whoever it was who said that wrought has turned into a > > new > > verb entirely. > > Well, I said it, and it was probably a bad example. Granted, it's been > lost in today's English, but I believe it was once an active verb.
Oh, very much so!
> Perhaps a better example would be "may" and "might", originally present > and past forms, but now completely separate verbs, same with > "will/would", "shall/should", and, to a lesser extent, "can/could"
They had different meanings in Old English, and got "demoted" to modals, if that's a demotion. May, which now means "be permitted," used to mean "can"; can used to mean "know how to," or "be acquainted with"; might was the past tense of may, "was able to"; will, our futuric, used to mean "want," "desire"; shall, now a variant of "will," used to mean "constrained to," "obligated to," "must." Must used to be the past tense of _motan_, "be permitted to." Chaucer already uses it in its present sense, but in the old present tense: So oft a daye I mot thy werk renewe, it to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape... "So often each day I must your work renewe, to correct it and also to erase and scrape... To his long-haired incompetent Scribe Adam.
> --
Sal ============================================================ SALLY CAVES (bragpage) (T. homepage) (all else) ===================================================================== Niffodyr tweluenrem lis teuim an. "The gods have retractible claws." from _The Gospel of Bastet_ ============================================================