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What's the difference between eom and bēo, for example? aren't both first-person indicative present singular? -- 10:27, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Basically the beon forms were used to express the so-called "gnomic present" - see w:Gnomic, or this short explanation. Widsith 10:53, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, thank you. It sounds interesting -- 11:16, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Beon / buanEdit

The article makes it seem like *bu- "dwell" is the original form, but the sense of *beu-, be, seems to be more original according to the PIE cognates. Wakuran 15:00, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

not a "compound" as usually understoodEdit

I can't say I like the nomenclature by which this verb is known as a "compound", especially not in conjunction with the titling of the article with a hyphen. It all strongly gives the unfortunate suggestion that forms of OE "be" were expressed in each instance with two verbs in succession, one from beon _followed by_ one from wesan, which is entirely not the case. Can we move the article, to beon/wesan or something? And is "compound" traditional? -- cause I wanna change it if not. 4pq1injbok 05:08, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree, the current presentation is very confusing. It makes it sound like beon-wesan is an Old English infinitive meaning "to be". —RuakhTALK 19:47, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. This entry is hard to read but it seems that rather than "compound" we're really talking about w:suppletion and the current title here would be like having an English entry titled be-was. — hippietrail (talk) 06:48, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

RFM discussion: September 2012Edit

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for moves, mergers and splits.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

I think bēon-wesan should be split into bēon and wesan. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 06:46, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Indeed; the usage notes say that they are separate words, if that's true, why do we link them together with a hyphen as a single entry? Mglovesfun (talk) 09:03, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I assume because it was added in 2005 before the rules were clearly established and no one has questioned it since. There is also sēon apparently, which seems to be mixed into the conjugation just as much. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 10:59, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Sēon isn't really a separate verb as far as I can tell, but a regularisation of the infinitive based on the present tense forms. German and Dutch have a similar verb, but in those languages the attestations clearly show that it's a later invention, not inherited. —CodeCat 11:17, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article gives sindon rather than seon. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:42, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Is there an attestation of beon-wesan in an Old English text? If not, that would rather seal the deal. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
There is a general consensus that lemmas do not have to be attested words, if their inflected forms are. We have languages for which the lemmas are bare stems, and also languages for which only the inflected forms have any attestations. So I don't see a problem with this entry on that principle alone. I do support splitting it because they are two distinct verbs, though. —CodeCat 16:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I meant the exact word 'beon-wesan'. I mean, what sort of inflected form would lead back to 'beon-wesan' anyway? Are any of them attested? Mglovesfun (talk) 18:37, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
No, there is no attestation for it. The entry was created with the intention of having a single page for both bēon and wesan. Widsith (who created the page) knows Old English well enough to know there's no compound bēon-wesan. Any information not currently at the two entries needs to be moved there, and then this page deleted. —Angr 19:06, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
To Mglovesfun: I know. What I meant to say is that even though 'beon-wesan' as a word isn't attested, that in itself doesn't mean it can't be used as the lemma form of some term, because we have many other lemmas that are not attested words either. —CodeCat 19:15, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
It gets tricky at that point! Back-forming infinitives from verb forms may be a scientific process, but it's not infallible either. I've done it for loads of Old French verbs, but I can think of at least one I've avoided, soloir, where soloit is attested but the infinitive doesn't have to be soloir as a result. So it's a question of what the reconstructed infinitive should be, not overall inclusion. Beon-wesan doesn't sound like a reconstruction we want to me! Mglovesfun (talk) 19:24, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
That is definitely true. In such a case we would probably include both and add a notice saying that there are other possible reconstructions. We've already done that for some Gothic words I think. But in any case, for Bantu languages like Swahili and Zulu, we have verbs and adjectives listed as bare stems, which are never encountered as words on their own. —CodeCat 19:53, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Just to add to this discussion, it's somewhat conventional to group these words together in modern guides. It's definitely lemmatised as beon-wesan in the standard Cambridge Old English Reader, and I believe that the Mitchell/Robinson grammar does the same thing, although I don't actually have a copy of that in front of me to check. Ƿidsiþ 05:44, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
In modern English this is a single suppletive verb (along with sēon). No doubt the roots were originally separate, but the fact that it's suppletive in German, too, leads me to think the transition from the completely independent stage predates Old English. In the present tense and the infinitive, they're indeed separate, but what about all the parts of the paradigm where only there's only one root? In a way, this is like Siamese twins- splitting is major surgery, which requires some thought as to how to deal with the parts that are shared.
Perhaps we should have a common beon-sēon-wesan entry, but follow the example of sēon in having separate entries for all three roots, too. It's complicated, but the reality that we're trying to represent is complicated, too. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:48, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The conjugation of this verb is unique; it merits its own template. Why not create a dedicated template (which contains the information already, rather than taking parameters), and in that template, use superscript numbers (I would have suggested colours, but as Neskaya would point out, that isn't accessible to everyone) to indicate which form derives from which verb? Then put the table on the pages of all three verbs. - -sche (discuss) 19:54, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
From a Germanic perspective there are two paradigms: *beuną with present *biumi and past *was, and *wesaną with present *immi and past *was. So they share the same past tense but have distinct present tenses. From what I can see, this is still pretty much the situation in Old English. This isn't actually the only verb to have this situation... flēon and flēogan also share a past tense, and so do the Germanic verbs *stāną/*standaną and *gāną/*ganganą. —CodeCat 20:10, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I've been trying to figure out the distribution of the different roots in the paradigm, but there's a lot of ambiguous overlap. Here's my best guess as to which forms belong to which root:
While working on this, I noticed that our entries for the above forms are a bit spotty and inconsistent with each other. I've collected the definition lines to give an overall picture of our coverage:
I apologize if I've overloaded the discussion with tables, but I thought it would be good to see what we have now so we can better decide how to change it. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:13, 12 September 2012 (UTC)


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