Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Readed This Just Today

Fire-breathing traditionalists are already aware that we are fast losing our past. Now it seems we are losing our past tense, too.

Tracing the evolution of English verbs over 1,200 years -- from the Old English of "Beowulf" to the modern English of "The Princess Diaries" -- researchers have found that the majority of irregular verbs are going the way of Grendel, falling to the linguistic equivalent of natural selection.

The irregular verbs, governed by confusing and antiquated rules, came under evolutionary pressure to obey the modern "-ed" rule of regular verb conjugation, according to a report today in the journal Nature.

This morning's Times explains it all here.

So that's why we don't say "He remembering His mercy hath holpen His servant Israel" any more.

Not in casual conversation, anyway.