Sunday 7 September 2014

'-ed' and /-ɪd/

In an earlier post (see here) I wrote about the pron of <-ed> in aged. As you know there are many more words ending in <-ed>. The pronunciation of many of these words is rule-governed and the rule is fairly simple. I'm talking about the so-called regular past (participle) tense form of verbs such as
hate, love, seize. Here we have three allomorphs which are phonologically conditioned: The final phoneme of the verb in its infinitival form decides upon the correct allomorph. If the verb ends in an alveolar plosive, we add /ɪd/ as in hate. With final voiced sounds other than alveolar plosives we add /-d/, otherwise /-t/. So far, so easy.
But there are a few adjectives with final <-ed> most of which require the pronunciation /ɪd/ or /əd/ (I may not have dug up all):
  1. aged
  2. beloved
  3. blessed
  4. cragged
  5. crooked
  6. cursed
  7. cussed
  8. deuced
  9. dogged
  10. jagged
  11. learned
  12. -legged, legged3
  13. naked
  14. ragged3
  15. reserved
  16. rugged
  17. sacred
  18. wicked
  19. winged (sense: having wings)
  20. wretched 
Here are some sample phrases and sentences illustrating their verbal (= 2nd column) and nominal2 (= 4th column) use.
    1 he aged quickly, she's aged 12 --> my aged grandma
    2 I was beloved again --> my beloved daughter
    3 he blessed them --> the Blessed Virgin Mary
    4 ?? --> what a cragged stone
    5 its horns crooked backwards --> a crooked nose
    6 she cursed her fate --> she's a cursed woman
    7 the witch cussed him --> what a cussed day
    8 planes are deuced by some people --> don't be so deuced obstinate
    9 he dogged her footsteps --> their dogged resistance
    10 he jagged his hand --> Cornwall's jagged coast
    11 I've never learned this --> my learned friend
    12 I got on my toes and legged it --> he sat cross-legged on a stool
    13 ?? --> she was stark naked
    14 ?? --> men in ragged clothes
    15 he reserved two seats --> go fetch the reserved tickets
    16 she ragged him mercilessly about his sex life --> a land of rugged mountains
    17 ?? --> our chapel is a sacred place
    18 ?? --> she is a wicked person
    19 the bird winged back and forth --> Pegasus is a winged horse
    20 ?? --> he made the wretched happy
    What about their pronunciations?
    1  aged  'of a particular age'
    -->  eɪdʒd

    2  beloved   -->  bɪˈlʌvɪd, bɪˈlʌvd
    3  blessed --> ˈblesɪd
    4  cragged --> ˈkraɡɪd
    5  crooked  'not straight'
     'having a crook'
    --> ˈkrʊkɪd

    6  cursed
    --> 'kɜːsɪd, kɜːst
    7  cussed --> 'kʌsɪd
    8  deuced --> 'djuːsɪd, djuːst
    9  dogged --> 'dɒgɪd
    10 jagged --> 'ʤagɪd
    11 learned --> 'lɜːnɪd
    12 -legged --> 'legɪd
    13 naked --> 'neɪkɪd
    14 ragged --> 'ragɪd
    15 reserved --> rɪ'zɜːvd
    16 rugged --> 'rʌgɪd
    17 sacred --> 'seɪkrɪd
    18 wicked --> 'wɪkɪd
    19 winged --> wɪŋd, 'wɪŋɪd (= poetic)
    20 wretched --> 'reʧɪd
Things are getting even more complicated because some of these adjectives have a parallel adverbial form, e.g. reserved -> reservedly. More on those in a later post.
1 based on LPD3 and CPD18 (if listed at all); /æ/ -> /a/; the reference accent is GB.
2 nominal = adjectival and substantival
3 My thanks go to John Maidment for drawing my attention to these two verbs. The sentences were pinched from various sources.


  1. No, 12: There is a slang verb "to leg it", meaning to run off/escape. Its past tense is of course pronounced /legd/.

  2. Useful list. You may also want to include adverbs in -edly (/əˈlɛdʒd/ but /əˈlɛdʒɪdli/) and, if less consistently, nouns in -edness: /prɪˈpɛːrɪdnəs, prɪˈpɛːdnəs/.

    1. Oh, you do mention that - I've missed it, sorry.

  3. I was beloved again sounds completely archaic.
    crag is not current as a verb.
    crooked as a verb inflection is very unusual.
    cuss Murray in OED 1893 called the word ‘vulgar. It’s still at best markedly inelegant.
    deuce as a verb is non-existent and this example must’ve been invented.
    deuced as adverb is archaic.
    jag as verb is obsolete or dialectal according to OED.
    reserved is not current as three syllables.
    winged is only one syllable in current usge, as Wells sez “formerly and sometimes in verse” two syllables, eg 1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis iv, in tr. Virgil Wks. 308 Then thus, with winged Words, the God began.
    wretched is non-existent as a past tense or participle.

  4. No. 14 There is a rather old-fashioned slang term "to rag", meaning to tease, make fun of.

  5. I've noticed a recent trend towards pronouncing the "-ed" as a separate syllable in adjectival uses of past participles (regardless of phonetic environment). I rather like it.