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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: Alternative Verb Conjugations
Question: I am looking for examples of two alternative sets of verb
conjugations for the same tense, aspect, or mood that co-exist in
a language.

As an example, modern Spanish has two distinct conjugations for
the imperfect subjunctive. The older conjugation ends in -se and
comes from Latin's pluperfect subjunctive. The newer conjugation
ends in -ra and comes from Latin's pluperfect indicative. The -ra
set is more popular in the spoken language but -se is still used
in written Spanish, and I have occasionally heard it spoken.
There are some minor differences in usage but when it comes to
the primary functions of the imperfect subjunctive, -se and -ra
are interchangeable.

Do you know of other examples?

Judy Hochberg, Fordham University

Reply: The development of the dental preterite in Proto-Germanic, coexisting with the PIE ablaut verb forms would be another example. Unfortunately we have no evidence as the the socio-linguistic context of this early development.
Reply From: Herbert Frederic Stahlke      click here to access email
Date: 10-Jun-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Henrik Joergensen     (10-Jun-2013)
  2. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (10-Jun-2013)
  3. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (10-Jun-2013)
  4. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    James L Fidelholtz     (10-Jun-2013)

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