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> Date:         Tue, 7 Aug 2001 07:06:44 +0000
> From: Raymond Brown <[log in to unmask]>
>
> It seems to me that Danish/Norwegian/Swedish verbs have as few fexions as
> English, have the same problem about principle parts, and have a good deal
> fewer tenses - they must on that score be significantly easier than English.

Except for one form, Danish verbs _are_ their principal parts:
infinitive, non-past, preterite (= subjunctive II), past participle.
There's no further inflection, but the present participle is always
formed regularly on the infinitive. (Subjunctive I is dead, but was
otherwise identical to the infinitive).

There are two classes of regular weak verbs, corresponding to the
English spelt/spelled variation, and you just have to learn which
verbs take which. (The first type goes back to Germanic weak class I
verbs, a few of which didn't have the linking -i- before the dental
suffixes, but it has spread a bit since then).

The rest --- strong verbs, weak verbs with umlaut, preterito-present
verbs, to be, and a few other oddities --- number about 130. (However,
only 10 of these need to give the non-past form, which is otherwise
infinitive + <r>).

Swedish and Bokmål Norwegian are much the same, I think, though I did
read one relatively recent book by a Swede who insisted on using the
old plural forms of the preterite.

Nynorsk Norwegian preserves a lot more of the older Norse system.

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)