awoken/woken -- passive/active past participles?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Nov 12 03:12:57 UTC 2008

You were wondering where the second question had disappeared
to?  Here it is, but only peripherally attached to politics.

Lisa W. Foderado wrote in The New York Times on Thursday, Nov. 6
("For Striving 6th Graders, History is Now and Their Future Just
Changed", page P7):

"Too tired, perhaps, from having been awoken at midnight to hear the
news from their tearful mothers."  [The grade in question, in a
Brooklyn public school, is predominantly Hispanic and black.]

And later she wrote:

"The ... principal [asked] why ... their parents had woken them the
night before."

I am really confused.

One past participle for the passive and another for the active?  And
to me a strange one (or two) at that -- and seeming to prefer an
irregular to a regular form, which I would think is not the trend.

The OED tells me "woken" is an adjective, and rare, but Foderano used
it as a verb form; and that "awoken" is a variant form of the past
participle of "awake".

There is "wake", for which "woken" might be a ppl.  But the OED does
not show a past participle. form, so I guess "wake" is regular and
its ppl. is "waked".  Would I say "having been waked at midnight", or
"having been waked up at midnight"?   And "their parents had waked
them the night before", or "their parents had waked them up the night
before"?  I don't think so.

There is also "awake", for which the OED gives "awoke" and "awaked"
as ppls.   Would I say "having been awoke/awaked at midnight",?   And
"their parents had awoke/awaked them the night before",?  Again, I
don't think so, but these are less unspeakable than the previous.

But I see "awaken" (sense 4: "To arouse from sleep").  No ppl. shown,
so I assume it is "awakened".  I would say "having been awakened at
midnight" and "their parents had awakened them the night before".

What say the list?


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