German terms “starkes Verb” and “schwaches Verb”. The vowel that appeared in any given syllable is called its “grade”. As the Germanic languages developed from PIE, they dramatically altered the Indo-European verbal system. In Germanic, the aorist eventually disappeared and merged with the present, while the perfect took on a 500 regular verbs pdf tense meaning and became a general past tense.
The strong Germanic present thus descends from the PIE present, while the past descends from the PIE perfect. The inflexions of PIE verbs also changed considerably. In the course of these changes, the different root-vowels caused by PIE ablaut became markers of tense. Thus we can reconstruct Common Germanic as having seven coherent classes of strong verbs. Germanic strong verbs, mostly deriving directly from PIE, are slowly being supplanted by or transformed into weak verbs.
Weak verbs originally derived from other types of word in PIE and originally occurred only in the present aspect. They did not have a perfect aspect, meaning that they came to lack a past tense in Germanic once the perfect had become the past. Not having a past tense at all, they obviously also had no vowel alternations between present and past. This is why only strong verbs have vowel alternations: their past tense forms descend from the original PIE perfect aspect, while the past tense forms of weak verbs were created later. The development of weak verbs in Germanic meant that the strong verb system ceased to be productive. Practically all new verbs were weak, and few new strong verbs were created. Over time, strong verbs tended to become weak in some languages, so that the total number of strong verbs in the languages was constantly decreasing.
In English, however, the original regular strong conjugations have largely disintegrated, with the result that in modern English grammar, a distinction between strong and weak verbs is less useful than a distinction between “regular” and “irregular” verbs. Some verbs, which might be termed “semi-strong”, have formed a weak preterite but retained the strong participle, or rarely vice versa. The same vowel is used through most of the present tense. The same vowel is used in the 2nd singular. This vowel is used only in the participle.
1 and 2 are from the e-grade, part 3 from the o-grade, and parts 4 and 5 from the zero grade. Germanic strong verbs are commonly divided into 7 classes, based on the type of vowel alternation. This is in turn based mostly on the type of consonants that follow the vowel. However, they are normally referred to by numbers alone.