Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I haven't buyen anything recently

Why can't boughten be a word? After all, I've taken a shower and eaten dinner. Ohh, now I see. I would have to have buyen something.


Chaka said...

Let's see...English verbs come in two flavors, strong and weak. Strong verbs have five forms, e.g., I take, he takes, I took, I was taking, I have taken. Weak verbs only have four of these: I buy, he buys, I bought, I was buying. The missing fifth form is simply the same as the past tense: I have bought.

So if buy was a strong verb, would its fifth form be "boughten" or "buyen"? If I were to make a guess by comparing it with take, I suppose "buyen" would make sense.

Of course, all English verbs used to be strong, so it should be fairly easy to look this one up and find out what the past participle of buy was once upon a time. It might actually be something like bighten, since umlaut is probably involved...

Chaka said...

From an online Anglo-Saxon dictionary, we find this entry:

BYCGAN, bicgan, bycgean; ic bycge, bicge, ðú bygest, he bygeþ, pl. bycgaþ, bicgaþ; p. bohte, pl. bohton; impert. byge, bige, pl. bycgaþ; pp. boht; v. a. To BUY, procure;

Note the participles there: bohte (singular) and bohton (plural). So Special K's original "boughten" was pretty close to the original past participal form!

Chaka said...

Credit where credit is due. The website for the AS dictionary is