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As rogermue already pointed out, these verbs once were past tense forms: Verbs that had a shift were past tense forms gained a present tense meaning like muss/müssen are called preterite presents or Präteritopräsentien and most of these verbs are the modals that you gave. In former times, there was a difference in singular and plural for strong past tense ...


3

Historically the modal verbs derive from the perfect tense which took over a meaning referring to present time. That's why the forms of the modal verbs don't follow the normal pattern. German wissen, not exactly a modal verb, has a similar conjugation in present tense. It is connected with the Latin perfect vidi - I have seen. If you have seen something ...


1

Just a small addendum: The phrase "Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod" has become very popular again within the last years. One of the more popular ambassador of this oppinion is a journalist called Bastian Sick, who writes his columns entitled "Zwiebelfisch", published on the german magazine Spiegel. The phrase itself is kind of a wordplay as it ...


4

The claim comes from the fact that Proto-Indo-European has a glaring lack of sounds said to be a voice bilabial stop */b/ (this would also include that sound in initial position in a word). The reflex of this sound would be /p/ in Germanic languages (and further changed to the sound /pf/ in certain places in certain German dialects). There is a lot of truth ...


3

Glaube nicht, dass solche Posen speziell auf deutsche Dichter zu beziehen sind. Siehe Michelangelos Skulptur Lorenzo di Medici oder Dürers Melancholia. Nachdenkliche Gestik ist eine menschliche Körperhaltung, die nicht erst seit dem 18. Jahrhundert beobachtet wurde.



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