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tofu
2007-Jun-07, 02:28 PM
http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major

Is it correct to say, "Ubuntu had learnt from the mistakes of other similar projects"

learnt??

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jun-07, 02:31 PM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/learnt

Nicolas
2007-Jun-07, 03:29 PM
Isn't this a Simpsons joke (Homer vs Lisa) as well?

Nicolas
2007-Jun-07, 03:38 PM
The Simpons joke was on learned as past tense of learn versus "well informed".

Lianachan
2007-Jun-07, 03:51 PM
Difference between "learnt" and "learned" (http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutspelling/learnt).

John Mendenhall
2007-Jun-07, 03:52 PM
Confining the discussion to American English and the 50 states, there are some remarkable - and readily understandable - verb forms in common (very common and usually low class) use. 'Went' as a substitute for 'have gone' comes immediately to mind. "Shoulda went to class." Come to think of it, 'shoulda' as a helping verb fits the model.

At any rate, I'd accept 'learnt', although your English teacher probably wouldn't. Languages are dynamic. Over time they change, and drift. It would be wonderful to hear a recording of George Washington and see how different his speech is from ours.

Delvo
2007-Jun-07, 04:44 PM
There's a similar issue with "spill" Maybe at one time the past conjugation was "spilt", just as it once was with "learnt", but conjugation has simplified and standardized a bit since then so nobody uses the "t" in either case... except in the phrase about "crying over spilt milk", and even not usually for that. (It's funny how a phrase can preserve a word that otherwise falls out of use, so the word ends up having not other uses left but in that one phrase...)

Gillianren
2007-Jun-07, 07:35 PM
Well, you know, we use a lot of words in quotations that we don't use ordinarily, such as "thou" and "shalt."

"Learnt" is a perfectly cromulent word, and indeed at one point, I believe, the distinction was "learned" with an accent over the "e" as "having studied and gained knowledge," and "learnt" as "the past tense of 'learn.'" It's mostly fallen out of usage, but it is still just as acceptable as "bent" or "knelt."

Peter Wilson
2007-Jun-07, 09:27 PM
cromulent
adj; 1) fine, acceptable
Usage: slang

grant hutchison
2007-Jun-07, 09:30 PM
Some of these t/ed pairs maintain a distinction in meaning, at least in British English. Despite the best efforts of some subeditors to stamp it out, many people still recognize a difference in intensity between "burnt" and "burned": "I burnt my finger" but "she burned to death". Likewise with "spelt" and "spelled": "I spelt the word wrongly" but "he spelled out for me how much trouble I was in".

Grant Hutchison

JohnD
2007-Jun-07, 09:51 PM
And of course there is, "m'learned friend", (my learned friend - a barrister referring to another in court, or when they are Members of Parliament, who must not address each other or even refer to each other, by name in the House).
The emphasis is on the second syllable - learn-ed - and it means scholarly, wise, educated. Well-learned. Well-learnt.

I think that the t/ed difference that Grant refers to reflects the action of the verb, whether it is in an active or a passive form:-
I learned English today - I became able to speak it by my own efforts.
I learnt English today - I was taught to speak it

See Grant's two examples - one done by the speaker, one done to them.
I'm sure this difference has a name in English grammar, but it's all Greek to me!

John

Peter Wilson
2007-Jun-07, 11:41 PM
Some of these t/ed pairs maintain a distinction in meaning, at least in British English...

Ok, here goes:

I turnt the pancake.

She turned over a new leaf.

Van Rijn
2007-Jun-08, 12:09 AM
In American English, I would make limited use of "burnt" (for instance, "burnt toast") and wouldn't use "learnt."

snarkophilus
2007-Jun-08, 12:28 AM
"I burnt my finger" but "she burned to death".

I don't think that's quite right. "Burnt" is usually used as an adjective, not a verb. My finger is burnt because I burned my finger.

The 't' form is useful if used that way. For instance, a statement like "the word is spelled correctly" is ambiguous otherwise. It could mean that, in general, it is spelled correctly, or it could mean that in this particular instance, the spelling is correct. Using the 't' form for the latter case removes the ambiguity.

grant hutchison
2007-Jun-08, 07:05 AM
I don't think that's quite right. "Burnt" is usually used as an adjective, not a verb. My finger is burnt because I burned my finger.In British English it's also used as a verb, and is in fact the preferred form of the verb for some publishing houses.
Hence my swipe at subeditors; I used "burned" in this little piece (http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/314/7082/0/j) for the British Medical Journal, and had a bit of correspondence with the sub who "corrected" it to "burnt". I still think "burned" would have done the better job, when the sense is "to destroy by fire".

Grant Hutchison

Gillianren
2007-Jun-08, 08:35 AM
American English does not make that distinction. I could say "burnt" in any sense where "burned" would go and, in fact, vice versa. "My finger is burned" is perfectly legitimate, though I'd go with "burnt" as well, simply because it sounds better. (It's an adverb, in fact, because it modifies "is.")

Van Rijn
2007-Jun-08, 08:58 AM
American English does not make that distinction. I could say "burnt" in any sense where "burned" would go and, in fact, vice versa. "My finger is burned" is perfectly legitimate, though I'd go with "burnt" as well, simply because it sounds better. (It's an adverb, in fact, because it modifies "is.")

Conceivably, this could be prejudice due to "local" (California) dialect, but in my experience the usage of "burnt" is limited in American English. I would expect to hear "burnt toast" or possibly "[something] is burnt," but in most cases I would expect "burned." I certainly wouldn't expect, for example, "I burnt my finger."

Donnie B.
2007-Jun-08, 11:26 PM
English must be such a joy to learn as a second language. (Yes, that was sarcastic.)

Here we have the same word ("burnt") which we all agree can be perfectly good when used as an adjective ("burnt toast") or adverb ("finger was burnt") but may or may not be okay to use as a verb ("burnt my finger"). And this is just one of dozens of such cases.

At least in this case, the form in question is not the standard formation of a past tense, and most here seem to accept "burned" in any such usage.

It's all because we've been willing to accept words and expressions from a wide variety of other languages, which has the wonderful side effect of giving us lots of synonyms. That in turn leads to a kind of lexical evolution, where the synonyms will take on various connotations and/or shades of meaning, much the same way that genetic mutations that produce duplications of sections of a chromosome can provide raw material for later evolution.

Now, should we discuss the use of -en as a plural suffix? :) :silenced: