Posted: Nov 13, 2017 9:35 pm
by Blackadder
Calilasseia wrote:Here's a question that's been puzzling me for some time.

In languages I've encountered, the verb "to be" is an irregular verb. This is the case in English, French, German, Latin, Classical Greek and Russian. As I don't know anything about Asian or African languages, I was wondering, if those who did have some familiarity therewith, could answer whether or not this situation is replicated in those languages too.

Only the thought occurred to me, that if an irregular "to be" is a universal feature of human languages, this phenomenon would be very interesting indeed.

I can vouch for the fact that "to be" is irregular in Hindi and in Arabic.

In Hindi, it's also heavily used as an auxiliary verb, similar to the present continuous in English, e.g. "I am going". The present simple tense ("I go") doesn't really exist in Hindi.

In Arabic, "to be" is a really weird irregular verb altogether, with completely different forms in the positive and negative.