Tom Payne tpayne at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Mon Apr 7 18:03:29 UTC 1997

Has anyone ever made lists of "regular" vs. "irregular" (or "strong")
verbs in English and compared them for semantic features? Might it be
the case that "regular" verbs (those that inflect with -s and -ed) tend
to describe changes in state, whereas "irregular" verbs tend to describe
states or activities? If so, this might explain why children, and other
speakers I'm sure, have this tendency to regularize "be" to express a
more "volitional" or "active" meaning.

Do any other irregular verbs have a more volitional/active meaning when
regularized? I'm really interested in this.

dove/dived? sank/sinked? Is "They sinked the ship" somehow more logical
than "The ship sinked"?
Thomas E. Payne, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403, USA
Voice: 541 342-6706. Fax:   541 346-3917

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