[Marxism] Schoolmarm grammar

dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Fri Dec 28 19:00:37 MST 2012


Well, this is not completely true.

The verb HANG is a good ol' Germanic verb whose preterit was always HUNG 
(English vb: HANG preterit : HUNG, German : HING HANG, Dutch : HING HANG)
As is the case with many other English irregular verbs, the preterit of 
HANG (i.e. HUNG) is sometimes "regularized" (meaning the ending -ED is 
added as if it was a normal verb). As with DIVE DOVE (many people say "I 
DIVED into the lake" and not DOVE), or DREAM DREAMT ("I DREAMED of my 
mother" instead of "I DREAMT of my mother"), or even SHIT SHAT ("I 
SHITTED my pants" and not "I SHAT my pants"). The usage of irregular 
preterits is an American English/British English thing, but also, a 
dialect (NOT dialectical) thing. Some English dialects follow the old 
Germanic preterit, some don't. Same with American dialects.

In the case of HANG/HUNG/(regularized :HANGED) the official usage was 
established in the 18th century : HANG , HUNG for objects and coats, 
HANGED for people on the gallows. The reason is obscure, but my theory 
is that legal terminology always follows the Latin/French and must thus 
regularize HANG as the parallel of French PENDRE/PENDU which displays 
the regular -DRE/-DU correspondence.

Back to the previous post. There is no evidence that there were TWO 
verbs meaning HANG in Old English (i.e. PRoto-Germanic) and that the two 
verbs gave different preterits.

There was and always has been ONE verb : HANG.


 >>"Slooowly I turned. This is what philologists refer to as schoolmarm
grammar.

Now in fact from the earliest times there have been two 'hang' words
in English, represented by Old English (= "Anglo-Saxon") 'hangian' and
'hôn' -- the former being a weak verb, past tense 'hangode', and the latter
a strong verb, past tense 'heng', participle 'hangen'. 'hôn' gives us our
modern hang, hung, through routine phonetic changes which are thoroughly
understood. 'hangian' survives only in the shibboleth usage 'hanged'
when referring to the method of execution. But both words have always
been used for both. In the Anglo-Saxon translation of Genesis we find
'hine man hçng' (they hung him) in reference to Joseph's unfortunate
cellmate the baker. In fact you could make a pretty good case that 'hung'
is actually preferable to 'hanged' and the latter hypercorrect, since
'hangian' mostly seems to be used in an intransitive sense."<<




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