Lecture 4-11.1 Early Modern English Continued Verbs: Strong Verb Classes 1. Of the original seven classes of strong verbs the number is greatly reduced, but some of the classes remain remarkably stable; class I and III stand out as survivors. 2. The double past tense forms of strong verbs are leveled to one: Thus old I sang and we sungen become I,we sang (have sung) I rood, we riden become I,we rode (have riden) 2. The -en is used unevenly: hence forgotten but got and gotten Weak Verb Classes Great increase in the number of weak verbs, although some weak verbs took on strong forms by analogy dive dived dived –* dive dove dived Personal Endings The endings of -est and -eth become just -s for 3rd per pres ind by the end of the period.
Although in some sophisticated circle, such as Thomas Hobbes philosophical text Leviathan the est endings remain. The thou forms reamin est, -st in the present and est, st in the past. Conjugation of Irregular Verbs (to be and modals) Always irregular, in Early Modern English, the forms of to be differed from contemporary use only in the th- forms (thou art, thou wast and thou wert) and in the odd use of be for plural present. Rub a dub dub / Three men in a tub / And who do you think they be? The powers that be. 2.
The modals cause trouble: would and should are past tense version of will (variants of will are wull and woll) and shall. Could was developed by adding an l on analogy with would and should; otherwise, it should be coud.