The Old English Preterite Plural Lives!

Carol Genetti linchair at LINGUISTICS.UCSB.EDU
Thu Nov 29 16:51:02 UTC 2001

I've definitely heard and used "we snook" (rhymes with "look"). I grew up in
northern California. For some reason, I associate this with my teenage years
in the 70's -- maybe because we frequently snook out of the house without
our parents knowing.

    -- Carol Genetti

----- Original Message -----
From: <hstahlke at ATT.NET>
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 8:15 AM
Subject: The Old English Preterite Plural Lives!

> I just finished with an undergrad HEL class in which we
> were talking about the development of OE strong verbs
> into ModE.  One of the minor developments we covered was
> the analogical rise of new strong verb forms like
> dive/dove and sneak/snuck.  At this point one student,
> who grew up in Phoenix, astonished me by saying that she
> also has the form [snUk] (rhymes with look) and that she
> uses it only in the plural:  I [snAk] but we [snUk].  I
> surveyed the class to see if anyone else had heard or
> used this form, and a student from St. Louis confirmed
> it, that she heard it in the speech of her teenage son
> and his friends.  Obviously, this is not a reversal of
> merger restoring the lost OE preterite plural, but it
> does create a new preterite plural form.  Has anyone
> heard this usage or forms like it?  Has anything been
> written about it?
> Herb Stahlke
> Ball State University

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