Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Note: The present tense, I dare, is really an old past tense, so that the third person is he dare, but the form he dares is now often used, and will probably displace the obsolescent he dare, through grammatically as incorrect as he shalls or he cans. --Skeat."

From some thread I found somewhere, which credits the 1913 Webster's dictionary.

All this while following my hunch that the German modal verb dürfen "to be allowed/permitted to," was relateed to obsolete-ish English durst, which i had assumed to be from "dare." (As far as I can tell, I am wrong, my big Random House upstairs has dare from an old infinite "durran," cognate to OHG "(gi)turran,"--hmm. We shall see.)

I think my point was is that prescriptivist claims about incorrect usage and "correct" historical forms are much, much more likely than not to be sociological judgments than linguistic ones, just couched in half-assed linguistic terms. (everybody who says "he/she dare," raise your hands!) We definitely need more linguistic instruction in school, if only to convince people that they don't have the intuitive grasp of either their language or that of others than they otherwise might think. But mainly it was an excuse for me to write about digging into German modal verbs. And re-iterate my need for an etymological dictionary of German.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about He double dares? How does that one work correctly? Seriously, I got a thesis to write.

- Jesse

Anonymous said...

Hrm...in retrospect I suppose it would be He double dare. That sounds too country to be right.

- Jesse

P.S. That was my thesis in a nutshell. No wait, this is my thesis in a nutshell: "Get me out of here! I'm trapped in this nutshell!" Jeez. Austin Powers quote. I suck.

The Earthtopus said...

You're writing a thesis?

Anonymous said...

HA!

- Jesse

P.S. No. I'm being a jackass

Kukkurovaca said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kukkurovaca said...

Huh. It really blows that you can't edit your comments, but have to delete and re-post them.

I was saying, you really need trackbacks. But since you don't have them, here.