Are andar and estar the only verbs that end in -ar that have a preterite using the -uve -uviste preterite verb forms? If so, why just these verbs? They don’t seem related to each other, and other verbs that also are spelled similarly use an expected ending. For example, for prestar vs. estar, yo este (accent on e) is wrong, but preste (accent on e) is ok? Similarly, andar has the same spelling as brindar (same last four letters at least) and brinde is good but not ande? What makes these two words special? Can you enlighten me on what is going on?
They follow the “-tener verb” form of irregular conjugation. All verbs with ‘tener’ in them like mantener, obtener, contener, sostener, etc. conjugate with the uve, uviste, etc. form in the preterite tense. The same words in English end in “-tain” - maintain, obtain, contain, sustain, etc.
No idea why andar and estar follow that form too, but in almost all questions about why irregular verbs are the way they are the only answer is “because that is just the way they are.”
I hope that someone with better Spanish grammar knowledge can shed more light but I fear that is probably the case here too.
I think, basically, because they are “irregular”, and that’s what makes them irregular. As far as I know, all natural inflected languages have some irregular forms.
Most languages that are restricted to a single country, from time to time, simply “announce” that there will be changes in the language, and it’s a done deal, and people just have to get used to it. Why can’t the powers that be just regularize all irregular forms, they way they metricized measurement to universalize the metric system? L’academie francais could just make French a wonderfully easy language to learn.
It would be a great deal more difficult to do that in a language spoken in many countries, like English or Spanish. Even American and Canadian “rules” differ.
For the second time this week, I recommend to Dopers the book Words and Rules, by Steven Pinker. Most of its examples are from English, but not all of them. It’s really about how the human brain processes “regular” and “irregular” forms differently. Among other things, you’ll learn that “irregular” forms have their own regularities.
A perfect example of this: the other day, my 5-year-old son said he thought he might have “sprun” his ankle (he was perfectly fine, BTW). He had subconsciously put “to sprain” in the same category as, say, “to sing.” If there is a “rule” he’s applying (mistakenly, in this case), then maybe calling these verbs “irregular” is a bit misleading. “Non-default” would be more accurate.
Exactly. Well put. Known as “strong” verbs in some Germanic language studies. The distinction goes all the way back to Proto-Indo-European – even the basic English forms are detectable at that early date (present tenses with more of an -e or -i type of sound, or unmarked; past tenses with more of an -o or -u type of sound).
Note that the cite itself indicates people did not “just accept the changes”. And one thing the cite does not say is that, as spelling reforms don’t affect material written prior to them, they mean people need to be familiar with two versions, old and new. OK, so they eliminated a lot of instances of ß from schoolbooks - that didn’t eliminate words with its old usage from a ton of signs, movies, paintings, glass windows…
The Spanish Academies very-slight updates to their Ortografía seem to come in two flavors: those which are linked to the limitations of some new medium (teletext, computers, text messages) and those which reflect the acceptance of some usage that’s pretty extensive.