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Group of Verbs

  • Date Submitted: 11/16/2012 05:43 PM
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Strong Verbs

Strong Verbs are verbs in which the vowel in the stem is changed to indicate tenses. The strong verbs in OE (as well as in other OG languages) are usually divided into seven classes.
Classes from 1 to 6 use vowel gradation which goes back to the IE ablaut-series modified in different phonetic conditions in accordance with PG and Early OE sound changes. Class 7 includes reduplicating verbs, which originally built their past forms by means of repeating the root-morpheme; this doubled root gave rise to a specific kind of root-vowel interchange.
In Classes 1 and 2 the root of the verb originally contained [i] and [u] (hence the names i-class and u-class); combination of the gradation vowels with these sounds produced long vowels and diphthongs in the first and second stems. Classes 3, 4 and 5 had no vowels, consequently the first and second forms contain the gradation vowels descending directly from the short [e] and [o]; Class 3 split into subclasses as some of the vowels could be diphthongised under the Early OE breaking. In the third and fourth stems we find the zero-grade or the prolonged grade of ablaut; therefore Class 1 – i-class – has [i]. Class 2— [u] or [o]; in Classes 4 and 5 the Past pl stem has a long vowel [æ]. Class 5 (b) contained [j] following the root in the Inf.; hence the mutated vowel [i] and the lengthening of the consonant: sittan.
In the verbs of Class 6 the original IE gradation was purely quantitative; in PG it was transformed into a quantitative-qualitative series.
Class 7 had acquired its vowel interchange from a different source: originally this was a class of reduplicating verbs, which built their past tense by repeating the root. In OE the roots in the Past tense stems had been contracted and appeared as a single morpheme with a long vowel. The vowels were different with different verbs, as they resulted from the fusion of various root-morphemes, so that Class 7 had no single series of vowel interchanges.

Weak Verbs...

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