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December 2, 2009

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Past tense of “text”

  • December 2, 2009, 4:40pm

If this ends up posted twice, I apologize, but I hit the wrong key the first time.

Going back to porsche's post:

>>" If the present tense of the verb ends in a consonant “t” or “d” sound, then the -ed adds a syllable, ending in a voiced “d”, usually pronounced something like -id, (but the vowel is really a shwa).... For all other verbs, the -ed does NOT add an extra syllable. It only adds either a “t” sound or “d” sound, appended to the end of the word without adding a syllable."

If you listen carefully to folks in my area of the country, you will not hear the final "t" on "text" when people are speaking extemporaneously. You will hear they send tex' messages and are tex'ing their friends. People who pronounce the word without the final "t" sound will tend to follow the linguistic rule that says not to add an extra syllable after the "x" sound, following the same rule as is used with faxed, waxed, fixed, mixed.

Those who do pronounce the final "t" will tend to use two syllables. I am told that in the OED, "tex'd" is listed as one of the spellings for the past tense of "text." Unfortunately, I'm not home right now, or I'd go check my own copy. Can do it tonight, if anyone is that interested.

English is a living language that changes constantly. In Shakespeare's day it was common to pronounced the -ed as a separate syllable on many words that we pronounce as one syllable now:

I nurs'd her daughter that you talk'd withal.
(Romeo and Juliet 1.5.115)

I'll bet he received a lot of criticism from the linguists of his day.

Gotta love a living language. It never gets stale.