Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Several 18-19th century grammar references prescribe that the past subjunctive of "worden" is "wierde(n)" (with past indicative: "werd(en)", and this seems confirmed by one more modern source: [1]. This would make it the only Dutch verb where the plural past indicative and subjunctive were distinguishable (even though subjunctive "werde(n)" is attested as well).

The "wierde(n)" seems to be supported by usage in at least several 17th to 19th century texts. An example: "Ezechiel 19:9 (Statenbijbel): (...) opdat zijn stem niet meer gehoord wierde op de bergen Israëls." (Translation: (...) that his voice might no longer be heard on Israel's mountains."

This is obviously very archaic/obsolete, but equally very much part of written earlier Modern Dutch and well-attested. How can I add this irregularity to the verb template? Thanks, Morgengave (talk) 22:56, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

I'd question whether this form is actually authentic, or invented by "linguists". Linguists of the time were preoccupied with prescribing foreign grammatical features in Dutch, (like the hen/hun distinction, cases ported over from German or Latin, etc), so I would not blindly believe them. One question I'd also ask is what the source of this form is. The Germanic forms of the past subjunctive would not lead to wierde(n), but rather to *wurde(n). —CodeCat 23:43, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Very true - It's difficult to say for certain whether it was natural usage or usage influenced by the linguists of the time. It's possible the linguistics of the time invented the form, or at least taken it from a dialectal variant of choice to introduce an artificial distinction in the standard language. The WNT says in its Middle Dutch article: "in den conj. praeteriti komen ook voor worde, wurde, wierde, wierden, warden, woorden", meaning that "wierden" seems to have a long history, and 16th-17th century books seem to have used it as well, i.e. books written before the linguists of the time took undue hold of the language. In any case: in a time where productive use of the subjunctive was only alive in formal written language, the influence of these prescriptivists was likely quite significant, even to the extent that they likely determined the evolution of the language in this aspect. They seem to have been consistent in prescribing "wierde(n)", with Pieter Weiland playing an important role here: 1799: [2], 1820: [3], 1827: [4], 1839: [5], 1855: [6], 1867 (allows "werde(n)" as well, but seems to favour "wierde(n)": [7]; 1883: [8] In any case, it's easy to find many attestions of actual usage of "wierde(n)" in the subjunctive, which makes me in favour of adding "wierde(n)" to the template while retaining "werde(n)" as well. How can I adjust the template? Morgengave (talk) 00:40, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Hold on a moment. While we have as our mission to include all attested terms, we include them only as entries, we don't have an obligation to include them in inflection tables. A parallel in English is the 2nd person singular verb form, ending in -est, which is not included in English entries either. We make form-of entries for these forms when they exist, but the link is one-way. Since this is a prescriptive form that, in all likelyhood, was not used in the vast majority of Dutch content (oral or written) produced in the last 500 years, it can't be prominent enough to include in an inflection table. —CodeCat 00:48, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
But is this right thing to do? The only moment in modern Dutch that the past subjunctive forms were used, was in that historic period of time. Shouldn't we follow usage of that time? Like we do for the gij verb-forms which are set in stone now - even though these forms have a weaker case as there is still actual usage. In contemporary usage, the past subjunctive is obsolete, meaning we have no contemporary info to draw upon. Until it became obsolete, it seems to have heavily used or preferred "weirden", making it questionable whether we should only include "werde(n)" in the template. Morgengave (talk) 01:02, 10 August 2016 (UTC)