Dived or dove? I say not you are wrong. #Writing

Here’s an interesting piece on the evolution of grammar. It’s more random that you think.

The study also revealed that a flower today is more likely to be “smelled” rather than “smelt” and that the neighbour’s cat probably “dove” behind the sofa – although, as Plotkin notes, British felines remain more likely to have dived.

But there was a puzzle. “The prevailing view is that if language is changing it should in general change towards the regular form, because the regular form is easier to remember,” said Plotkin. However, four of the six verbs show a rise in the irregular form of the past tense.

Quite fascinating.

Read the full article, here.

Caption and credit for the featured image:  The grammar of negating a sentence has changed from “Ic ne secge” (Beowulf, c. 900) to “Ic ne sege noht” (the Ormulum, c. 1100) to “I seye not” (Chaucer, c. 1400) to “I doe not say” (Shakespeare, c. 1600) before returning to the familiar “I don’t say” (Virginia Woolf, c. 1900). Photograph: Cherissa Dukelow. TheGuardian.com

 

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