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
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
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
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.
http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/teonaht.html (T. homepage)
http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/contents.html (all else)
Niffodyr tweluenrem lis teuim an.
"The gods have retractible claws."
from _The Gospel of Bastet_