Languages

English

Fact corner

Introduction

English belongs to the Western group of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is most closely related to Low German dialects in northern Germany and to Dutch, sharing with them the absence of the Second Sound Shift which occurred around 600 AD.

English is descended from the language spoken in the English Isles by the Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who came to the British Isles around 450 AD and drove the original Celtic-speaking inhabitants to areas that are now Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland. The dialects spoken by these invaders formed the basis of Old English, which was also strongly influenced by Old Norse, spoken by the Viking invaders of the 8th-9th centuries.

For the 300 years after the Norman Conquest in 1066, the kings of England spoke only French. During this time, a large number of French words were assimilated into Old English, which also lost most of its inflections. The resulting language is known as Middle English.

The verb

English verbs have the following features:

  • Verbs are marked only in the 3rd person, e.g., he/she/it sits..
  • There are three voices: active (I broke the vase), passive (the vase was broken by me), and middle (The vase broke).
  • There are four moods: indicative, imperative, conditional, and subjunctive.
  • There are three tenses: present, past, and future.
  • There are two aspects: continuous, and perfect.
  • Most English verbs express tense/aspect through the use of various combinations of the auxiliary verbs be and have + main verb.
  • Like all Germanic languages, English has weak (regular) verbs that add -ed/-en to form the past tense, e.g., walk - walked, and strong (irregular) verbs that undergo internal vowel changes (umlaut), e.g., drink - drank.

Sample verb: talk

Present Past Imperative
Sg.1 talk talked -
Sg.2 talk / talkest 1 talked / talkedst 1 talk!
Sg.3 talks / talketh 2 talked -
Pl.1 talk talked -
Pl.2 talk talked talk!
Pl.3 talk talked -

Notes:

  1. This form is archaic and used with pronoun 'thou', e.g., thou talkest
  2. This form is archaic.

These archaic forms are not shown in Verbix on-line conjugator.

Click verbs to conjugate them in the table above!
cross, pass, talk, walk.

Conjugate more verbs at Verbix.

References

Verb Wiki

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