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I wrote:
> Irregularities tend to come very quickly, when the grammar shifts.

Or phonology.  An even better example of rapidly-formed irregularity is
the stem-changing verbs of Spanish.  Originally, they were predictable.
There was a predictable rule that when /O/ and /E/ were stressed, they
became /we/ and /je/, thus /pO'dEr/ --> /'pwe.do/, but /po'dar/ -->
/'po.do/, but later /O/ and /o/ and /E/ and /e/ merged, and it was
suddenly unpredictable, /po'der/ --> /'pwe.do/, /po'dar/ --> /'po.do/.
In this case, a relatively minor phonetic change created hundreds of
irregular verbs, which are, in some dialects, becoming regularized.  For
instance, some dialects use -ue- and -ie- in all forms, regardless of
stress, thus despiertamos as opposed to the Standard despertamos.

--
"It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father
was hanged." - Irish proverb
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