Somebody recently asked why we "overpronounce" the ending syllables of beloved and some variations of cursed. This is a very good question, and one which can be extended to many other words, such as crooked, wicked, jagged, and many more. In these final stressed -ed sounds, the e has what is called a "grave accent", which should be notated as an è. Many of these words used to have that accent, but then dropped them when they seemed too archaic. But the reason that these stressed vowels exist in the first place is because in the old times, when people wanted to take a verb and use it as an adjective, they added the diacritic. Instead of a necklace being beloved by Sally, it became the belovèd necklace of Sally. This stuck, even as some of these adjectives became nouns as well: the necklace was Sally's belovèd. This is the case most of the time, but occasionally throughout history the grave accent was added to help poets keep their rhyme scheme, like how Shakespeare frequently did to preserve his iambic pentameter.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd