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Verb to eat

Why does the conjugation of the verb to eaat changes the first vowel e and i, instead keeping them the same???

July 7, 2012



What bree said. To give a bit more background information: In languages rooted in Germanic, there are generally two classes of verbs: strong and weak. Strong verbs are conjugated differently than weak verbs: they change there stem vowel. (This vowel change is called 'Ablaut' in German). Note that the 'Ablaute' also follow some regular patterns. There is for example the pattern 'ei - i -i ' (ich beiße, ich biss, ich habe gebissen) or 'ie-o-o' (ich biege, ich bog, ich habe gebogen), 'i-a-u' (ich singe, ich sang, ich habe gesungen) and more. You can find similiar conjugation patterns in all languages descending from Germanic. E.g. in English_ 'I speak, I spoke, I have spoken', 'I give, I gave, I have given'. Note that often if a verb is conjugated by vowel change in English, it also is in German: 'to speak, sprechen', 'to give, geben',... (BTW, in Dutch: 'spreken, sprak, gesproken', 'geven, gaf, gegeven'). Here is a German Wikipedia article about the 'Ablaut': http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablaut and here a list of strong verbs in German: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unregelm%C3%A4%C3%9Figes_Verb [Note that some of the forms aren't used any more.] Interestingly, there are some verbs in German that can be conjugated both as strong and as weak verbs, like 'backen' : 'Ich backe, du backst, er backt, ich backte, ich habe gebackt' is as correct as 'Ich backe, du bäckst, er bäckt, ich buk, ich habe gebacken'. The 'Ablautreihen' are regular but as there are quite a few of them and the vast majority of German verbs are weak, strong verbs may be called 'irregular'.


it's an irregular verb. that's just how it works, and you have to memorize it.

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