· strong endings · strong class I · strong class II · strong class III · strong class IV · strong class V · strong class VI · strong class VII (reduplicated) · weak class 1 · weak class 2 · weak class 3 · weak class 4 · preterito-presentic verbs · the copula · the medio-passive inflexion ·
Preterito-presentic verbs are called preterito-presentic because their present stems look like strong preterite stems. The present tense of vita 'to know' is thus veit 'knows' in the 3rd person singular and vitu in the same person in the plural. This is the same alternation that is found in the preterite of strong verbs like bíta 'to bite', which is beit : bitu. The preterite of these preterito-presentic verbs may look a little strange, but they are inflected like weak verbs. Originally - thousands of years ago - veit was a perfect tense form of a verb that meant 'to see' or, but the meaning shifted from 'he has seen' to 'he knows' , which is basically the same thing, and the perfect tense of this and a few other verbs was thought of as being present tense forms. To these present tense forms new past tense forms were made.
* Eiga does actually belong to the same class as vita, but that may be difficult to see...
The origin of veit is of course the PIE *woide which despite of it's perfect tense form had a present tense meaning already in PIE (cf. greek oida, sanskrit veda &c.). When the meaning had shifted from perfect to present new forms had to be made for other tenses, and in germanic a week one was made - vissi.
© Peter Pettersson