The simple present forms go back to Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (“to be”). Cognates include Old Saxon is, Dutch is, Old High German ist, sind, German ist, sind, Old Norse em, est, es, Gothic 𐌹𐌼 (im), 𐌹𐍃 (is), 𐌹𐍃𐍄 (ist), and with Avestan (ahmi) (Persian است (ast)), Ancient Greek εἰμί (eimi), εῖ, εστί, Latin esse, sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt, Slavic *jestь (Old Church Slavonic єстъ, Russian есть), Lithuanian esu, Latvian esmu, esi, Albanian jam.
Wesan comes from Germanic Proto-Germanic *wesaną, from Indo-European *h₂wes-, *(a)wes- "to dwell, to be." Cognates include Celtic *westi- (Old Irish feiss). Germanic cognates: see Proto-Germanic *wesaną.
- IPA: /ˈbeːon ˈwesɑn/
- to be
|1st-person singular||eom · bēo/bēom||wæs|
|2nd-person singular||eart · bist||wǣre|
|3rd-person singular||is · biþ||wæs|
|plural||sind, sindon, sint · bēoþ · earon||wǣron|
|singular||sīe · bēo||wǣre|
|plural||sīen · bēon||wǣren|
|singular||wes · bēo|
|plural||wesaþ · bēoþ|
The verb "to be" in Old English was a compound made up of different sources (see etymology). Bēon and wesan were the two infinitive forms, though they were only used in certain tenses. Bēon was used in the present tense to express permanent truths (the "gnomic present"), while wesan was used for the present participle and the preterite. In addition, there was a set of "simple present" forms, for which no infinitive existed.
- sēon (Etymology 2)
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