Conjugate the verb "wake"?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Baron Max, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Okay do you conjugate the verb "wake"? in "to wake up".

    Baron Max
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  3. draqon Banned Banned



    Past:waked, woke
    Present Participle:waking
    Past Participle:waked, woke, woken

    He, She, It:wakes


    Singular Possessive:wake's
    Plural Possessive:wakes'
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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    really? waked? wouldn't you just use woke?
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  7. Zephyr Humans are ONE Registered Senior Member

    "Yestewday I waked up the fallen leaves. They wewe all wed and owange."

    Makes much more sense than "Yestewday I woke up the fallen leaves."
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Woke" is preferred, according to M-W, but "waked" is acceptable.

    Simplification is a powerful force in English. The series of "strong" verbs that we inherited from Anglo-Saxon have five forms: eat, ate, eaten, eats, eating. "Weak verbs" only have four: learn, learned, learns, learning. That makes the weak paradigm more popular. In addition, strong verbs are irregular; there's no pattern for how (or whether) you "umlaut" the vowel from present to past to participle, or what form the ancient German participial ending -en will take: see, saw seen -- beat, beat, beaten -- sing, sang, sung -- write, wrote, written -- come, came, came -- ride, rode, ridden -- swim, swam, swum -- take, took, taken. These random fluctuations are an affront to our orderly British cultural motif of demanding that the universe make sense.

    They are the reason backwoods people (and an increasing number of educated people who have no excuse) have so much trouble figuring out when to use "lay" vs. "lie," since "lay" is the past tense of "lie" in addition to being its own present tense. ("Lay" is transitive, "lie" is intransitive, like "set" and "sit.")

    So over the centuries we turn strong verbs into weak verbs to make English more predictable. You see that in action with wake, waked, waked replacing wake, woke, woken. You even see irregular weak verbs being regularized: leaped and pleaded are replacing leapt and pled.

    Unfortunately countertrends spring up occasionally, but the motivation is usually easy to discern. Sneaked and dived are rather difficult words to pronounce, so some people have voted to move them into the strong verb paradigm and turn them into snuck and dove. These will not survive the force of regularization, over the ages.

    We do the same thing with nouns, but we're more diligent about it. German has a large set of strong nouns that form their plurals by umlauting and other means. We have converted almost all of them to the -s ending. We say mice and lice, but not hice. Children, but very rarely brethren and never sistren. Hands, not henden.

    We've done that with our entire grammar. German has four forms for the present tense: ich komme, du kommst, er kommt, wir kommen. Ihr kommt and sie kommen reuse previous forms but you still have to pick the right one. In English it's only he comes and all the rest of us just come. In German the past tense has four forms: ich kamm, du kammst, wir kammen, ihr kammt, and you have to remember that er kamm and sie kammen. In English everybody came.

    We don't even have the masculine, feminine and neuter genders and the nominative, genetive, dative and accusative cases for our nouns any more, much less for adjectives and articles, which make German a bewilderment to study.

    So be glad we've stopped saying "woke." That's real linguistic progress!
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I'm with Orleander here. I would say woke. I can't remember seeing waked used commonly. Can anyone find examples, say in newspapers.

    A person who says:
    "I waked at seven o'clock this morning, yesterday I waked at 6.30, but the day before that I waked at 7.30."

    Will probably go on to say:
    "After that, I had Wice Kwispies for Bwekfast"
  10. draqon Banned Banned

    guys this is American version.
  11. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Whatever happened to "awakened"? I was awakened by a loud noise."

    And what about "awoke"? "I awoke to the sound of gunfire."

    I'm confused. And moreso since I don't think we were ever taught that "woke" or "woken" was ever correct. When did it change? Or am I just fucked in the head? (Don't answer that last question!!)

    Baron Max
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I can't recall seeing it in writing, but I've heard people say it. It's like "leaped" and "pleaded," it grates on my ears. But I recognize it as a healthy trend toward the loss of archaic grammatical forms that make our language pointlessly complicated, so I don't campaign against it. I've had to get along speaking German, which preserves far more of this Stone Age grammar such as strong verbs, and I've had to get along speaking Chinese, which has virtually no grammar at all. Its verbs are not inflected, not even for present/past/future. The Chinese way, unburdened by the paradigms of an earlier culture, is clearly the way of the future.
    We've got four verbs in English, derived from the same root: wake, waken, awake, and awaken. The dictionary definitions refer back and forth to each other! They can each be used as an intransitive or transitive verb: "I awakened early today, realizing that something had awakened my desire for chocolate."

    About the only thing I can say about all of this is that "wake" is usually combined with "up": "As soon as my dog woke up, he woke me up."

    I can't say that I've often encountered "waken," or the use of "awake" as a verb. The only example I can think of for the latter is the newsletter "Awake!" handed out by members of the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society (colloquially known as Jehovah's Witnesses).
  13. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: I'm not following "woke," because as a past tense I just don't understand the verb. Maybe I had too many glasses of wine when I quoted this tense...

    I prefer "she was awakened by the light," "he was awakened by a startle," "she awoke to find him gone...".

    M*W: I am of the belief that the English language has rules that can be broken for charicatural artistry. In other words, it's okay to grammatically incorrect to characterize a particular character pertinent to his/her coloquialisms and form of speech.

    M*W: I'll tell you what... I appreciate the language of the backwoods folks, but I don't like to hear the language of high school and college graduates today. It's a sad sign of the uneducated.

    M*W: Regardless of the language one speaks or what dialect one knows, it is important to try to understand the differences in meanings and understandings. It makes communication all that much more interesting.

    M*W: I appreciate the Germanic-Anglo origin of our Anglicized words. Having been fluent in both English and German at one time, I can see how closely the languages intermesh!

    M*W: Yes, I understand your proper usage. What I'm afraid of is that the English language will crumble to the efforts of its more common usage where anything, proverbally, goes. Even though I cringe at this possibility, if it helps us communicate with one another, I guess that's the best possible end result. I think we have finally reached the point of no return in the bastardization of the Queen's English.
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I've just googled the phrases, and "woke up" is by far the commonest usage, by a factor of hundreds.

    I don't think that anyone has mentioned that.

    I didn't myself, but come to think of it , it is the phrase I would probably use.

    "I woke up this mornining at eight o'clock"
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Oh come on, how many blues songs have at least one verse starting with the phrase, "Well I woke up this mornin'..."

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    • Wake and awake are strong verbs: wake, woke, woken; awake, awoke, awoken.
    • Waken and awaken are weak verbs: waken, wakened, wakened; awaken, awakened, awakened.
    • Their similarity makes these inflections very difficult to learn correctly.
    The "Queen's English" is already the result of a continuum of "bastardization." What do you suppose Queen Elizabeth I, who spoke the language of Shakespeare, would think of the language of Queen Elizabeth II? Chaucer would have found Shakespeare to be clever, but he would have cringed at his simplified grammar and pronunciation and loss of classic vocabulary, pretty much the way we feel about the more artistic and expressive rap stars.

    Every language has to evolve to serve the needs of our ever-advancing civilization. Things that were of vital importance to our ancestors and required rich vocabularies are now taken care of by machines. Our pathetic, fixed set of a couple of dozen prepositions probably described all of the relationships that a Stone Age Teutonic tribesman needed to talk about. Today those prepositions have been usurped so many times that they're practically meaningless. Try describing to a foreigner the difference between being "at school" and "in school," or getting somewhere "on time" and "in time." Or how about articles, what's the difference among "the food," "a food," and "food"?

    Since literacy reached nearly 100% in anglophone countries we now allow ourselves to form new words from initials, like radar and Cobol. More recently we've had to invent an entire new grammatical construction so we can describe relationships like cable-ready and user-friendly. The next Queen will consider the current Queen's English lovely but out of date.
  16. charlesd Registered Member


    The woken is English as in England. How can we keep them out? I don't like it when our language is changed. Should our dictionary writers (guardians of the language) allow a word to have another meaning just because people use it wrong. Example: dumb for stupid.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    24,690, an American dictionary, does indeed list "waked" as the non-preferred verb form, but "woke" and "woken" are still considered standard. I would never allow "waked" in the writing I edit and I can't remember ever seeing it in print since it would have made me cringe.
    How can we keep whom out?
    Oh don't be ridiculous! Language has to evolve to serve the needs of its people. As civilization advances our needs change. Would you really like to tackle daily life in the Post-Industrial Era with Anglo-Saxon or "Old English," a language that evolved to serve the needs of people living two Paradigm Shifts behind us? Its inflexible syntax, its polysyllabic morphemes and its stifling grammar with cases and genders? You should be grateful that Old English changed into Middle English and Middle English changed into Modern English.

    And bear in mind that there was no point at which the government or some other authoritative body said, "Okay folks, we're going to stop speaking Middle English and start using Modern English because it's better." These changes occurred gradually

    Modern English is evolving too. Not yet into a new language, but certainly into a dialect that serves our needs better than our great-grandparents' dialect did. In an era with nearly 100% literacy, acronyms evolved as a handy new way of forming words, such as DNA and laser. And as I noted in an earlier post, we have also developed another new way of forming words, the noun-adjective compound such as fuel-efficient and consumer-hostile.

    This makes English more flexible and more adaptable in an era when culture and technology change more quickly than ever before. But as I have also noted before, Chinese is far more flexible than English and that gives them an advantage which, mark my words, will help them leapfrog past us as they solve some of their other cultural problems. It makes their language more compact, easier to use, and perhaps most important, possible to be spoken more slowy to facilitate comprehension by foreigners. Look at all their two-syllable words: dian shi for "television," qi che for "automobile, shi you for "petroleum," and dian nao cheng xu for "computer programmer."

    Change in culture is good because in the long run (although not monotonically) it advances civilization, and change in language must keep up with change in culture.
    Perhaps you would be happier living in a place like Spain, where an Academy passes judgment on admitting new words to the dictionary, or in Germany, where people are such slaves to authority that they would not think of using a word that was not considered acceptable. English is a democratic language and the speakers in aggregate have complete control over its evolution. Lexicographers (the people who write dictionaries, perhaps you should try just using the words we already have

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    ) are not "guardians" of our language. They are reporters. In English, a word is "right" if it's accepted by journalists, scholars and bureaucrats. Lexicographers don't get a vote, they just tell us when that happens. And before it happens, they report it as slang or vulgar.
    I think these days you would get into a world of trouble if you actually referred to a person who can't speak as "dumb"!
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Loss of flexibility in word order is a serious loss, along with the nuances possible via prepositions, tenses, etc.

    And as far as I can tell Chinese loses all its comprehensibility gain and much of is flexibility gain, from its simple grammar, in its ineradicable dependence on tones.

    Intuitively, one would expect to find the "best" or most effective setup somewhere in the middle of the grammatical complexity spectrum.

    According to the people with stopwatches, Chinese poetry is declaimed at the same line speed as poetry is in other languages - the fewer syllables extended by the tones and emphasis into the same rate of information delivery.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Why??? Please support that assertion.
    What "nuances" can there possibly be in a pathetic array of a couple of dozen prepositions left over from the Stone Age which have almost completely lost their meaning? In Chinese you get that nuance by having thousands of nouns and verbs to choose from in order to express a relationship. As for tenses, all of the major European languages have simplified their verb paradigms over the centuries. Have they all given up something important and just don't realize it yet?

    English has lost the nuance between "shall" and "will." "Wait on" has replaced "wait for" in journalism and even doctors and lawyers confuse "lie" and "lay."
    I don't know which of us is more fluent in Chinese, but perhaps it's me since you seem a little bewildered by the tonal system. For people who are accustomed to tones being phonemic there is no loss of comprehensibility. Admittedly it's not so easy for foreigners, but the slower delivery and the ease of telling where one morpheme ends and the next begins (they're all monosyllables) help compensate for that. I find Chinese much easier to understand than machine-gun Spanish, despite the fact that I speak Spanish more fluently.
    Intuition is a perfectly fine basis for a hypothesis, but you need to gather supporting evidence now.

    I would argue that grammatical complexity thwarts adaptability. As I've mentioned before, in my lifetime I've seen the anglophone community give up on prepositions in disgust, and start expressing relationships more precisely with nouns-adjective pairs like "cable-ready."

    How about a referendum on articles next?

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    So is Chinese prose and news reports. The dialog in Chinese movies is a dream for students. The slower delivery of phonemes reduces comprehension errors, particularly in noisy venues and particularly in a country where Mandarin is a second language to a large segment of the population.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010

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