GOED TO WEND
A lot of people learning English gripe about all the irregular conjugations in the language, but one of the most interesting ones is the past tense of go, went. It seems so out of place when compared to other forms like goes, going, and gone, and that's for a reason. It all traces to the now-archaic verb wend, which has several definitions, including "turn" and "go in a specific direction". Both it and go were around since the days of Old English, essentially as synonyms, but for an unknown reason go did not have a past tense, and since went had direction, it was perfect for both words. Then wend became increasingly obsolete, leaving its offspring as the only remnant. This type of change, when one unrelated word becomes a conjugation of another, is called suppletion and is pretty rare in any language. It's also why we have bad/worse, good/better, and be/am - fascinating stuff!
12/7/2019 05:56:24 pm
I have no formal edumacation so this may all be wrong however...
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.