Giving me fits
Posted by Helen on April 19, 1998 at 13:04:01:
In response to Language anachronisms, written by Linden on April 16, 1998 at 21:10:12
One thing I have noticed is that the American past tense of "fit" is "fit" - in British English it's "fitted".
In my experience of Middle/Early Modern English (which is fairly substantial) I can't remember any striking literary "gotten"s (it's probably in Shakespeare, isn't everything?), but people do play around with "fit", generally to suit scansion in poetry.
What's interesting about this is that it's a grammatical rather than a spelling difference - any idea about where the difference comes from? Oh, and re. standardized English, this was what was naturally happening to the language, especially after the development of print, but it was an especially Enlightenment project: the dictionaries of Johnson and Bailey were attempts not only to fix words but also spellings, working from a notion that there can only be one correct form of any language, preferably one derived from Latin models ;-) If they had had their way, there would be an English Academy like the French one (thank goodness it didn't happen)
- "Got" vs. "Gotten" MB 16:50:43 4/20/98 (0)
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