Talk:Ablaut derivatives

From The Anglish Wiki

Strong Class 2 with Weak Class 2 Derivatives?[edit]

Hey, I'm Hǽltam from the Anglish Discord server and I have been following your pages for a while now and I do think they're all really great :D. However, I'm just wondering about something right now.

It's come to my attention recently that some Strong Class 2 verbs seemingly have/had Weak Class 2 derivatives stemming all the way from Proto-Germanic. I found only 3 examples, but there might be more out there as I hadn't checked every SC2 verb.

Strong vs Weak:

  1. "To neet" (From OE nēotan (or neótan?), vs "To note" (From OE notian,
  2. "To fleet" (From OE flēotan (or fleótan?), vs "To float" (From OE flotian,
  3. "To smeek" (From OE smēocan (or smeócan?), vs "To smoke" (From OE smocian,

However, as their meanings are seemingly mostly identical (and different Germanic languages seemingly retain different combinations of the above), it makes me wonder what the relationship between these pairs are? Are they etymological causative pairs (whose causatives have lost their causative meaning)? Are the Weak Class 2 verbs just ancient verbified nouns from all the way in Proto-Germanic (as Wiktionary traces them unto Proto-Germanic)? Are there other Strong Class 2 (or other strong verbs) that follow(ed) a similar pattern, having a weak derivative in this manner?

Thank you in advance. -- 05:55, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

The Class 2 verbs are gotten from the ablaut derivatives. Essentially, for each strong verb, the noun derivative was gotten through ablaut, and then the noun was turned into a verb with the weak Class 2 infinitive ending. The -ian ending shows that these verbs are not etymological causatives of the strong verbs, since except for a few special cases, the causatives show -an.
There are indeed other weak Class 2 verbs of this nature. For example, stroke is attested in OE as strācian, a weak Class 2 verb based on the unattested OE strāc (but this begins to be attested in Middle English). And strāc was the past tense of the strong Class 1 verb strīcan, which became strike. --AtterCleanser44 (talk) 10:50, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

The 2 "To Think"s?[edit]

I've also been wondering about something...

On Etymonline's page on "think" (, it's stated that the modern verb "to think" is a merger of 2 distinct OE verbs that make a causative pair.

It seems that the main (or possibly all?) meanings of the modern verb stem from the OE causative þencan ("to imagine, conceive in the mind; consider, meditate, remember; intend, wish, desire"). It's also seemingly implied that the modern verb has lost the meanings ("to seem, appear") of the non-causative OE þyncan somewhere along the way (with the exception of "methinks").

However, this makes me wonder. Is this merger completely native and expected or is it an unexpected development? And also, why does the modern verb seem to take the shape evolution of þyncan instead of þencan (as in your page, -encan seemingly usually turns into -ench, like in quench and drench)? Shouldn't the expected forms be:

  • þyncan → to think
  • þencan → to thench (*)?

Or did the þ_ncan environment naturally cause this merger?

Thank you in advance. -- 06:06, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

For think as in methinks, OE þyncan would have normally yielded thinch, since the consonant had been palatalized. However, it seems that because of influence from inflected forms with the unpalatalized consonant (e.g., þyncst, þyncþ), the infinitive ended up becoming think instead. As for the past tense, I don't know what OE þūhte would have normally yielded, since I can't think of any surviving words whose OE forms had uht (regardless of length, since ht would have shortened the vowel later). But in any case, maybe because of confusion with the other think, it later became thought rhyming with bought.
As for the usual verb think, OE þencan would have normally yielded thench. But as was the case with the other think, inflected forms with the unpalatalized consonant apparently influenced the infinitive, so it later became thenk. Why it happened with this verb and not others like drench and quench is a mystery, but it's not wholly surprising to see inconsistencies in sound changes. Anyway, e before nk was later raised to i, and so thenk became think. As for the past tense, thought shows the expected development of OE þōhte.
In short, that both verbs ended up with the same infinitive form is coincidental. It's a bit unfortunate, since I would have liked the two verbs to stay distinct, but that's what befell. --AtterCleanser44 (talk) 11:06, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Perhaps a mention of "sithe" and "send" (causative of sithe) would be good for this page? The strong verb is unattested in any germanic language, but there's a weak verb (siþian/siðian) continuing the line. TimeMaster (talk) 08:36, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

"(to) will" and "to wale" Connection[edit]

So I was in the Anglish server just now, and someone there just informed me that the obsolete verb "to wale" (from Middle English walen; it is in the Wordbook) meaning "to choose, vote, elect" and cognate with other Germanic verbs of similar meaning like German wählen and Norwegian velja is the Ablaut causative of "(to) will" meaning "to want" (?), which is a view backed by Wiktionary as seen in the link below:

With that said, I wonder if it would be a good idea to add this pair into this page?

Thanks in advance.

It should be noted that wale appears to have been a verb converted from a noun that was a Norse borrowing. I think that the native OE reflex of the Proto-Germanic verb would be wellan (compare with OE tellan and sellan). But I guess that I can note it down in the Notes section. --AtterCleanser44 (talk) 04:56, 27 May 2022 (UTC)