>So I just taught my Old English students about syncopation, assimilation, and i-mutation in strong verbs this week, and I came across something that confused me.
I thought that i-mutation only happened in short/light syllable environments — where the root word has a short vowel + consonant, followed by an i or j in the prehistoric form. (Am I wrong?) But then why does the Class 6 strong verb ‘standan’ show i-mutation in its 2nd and 3rd person singular present forms (at least in the book I’m using): stendest or stenst, and stendeþ or stent(t)? I guess the real question is, where did that -n- come from, since it’s not in the past tense (then or now). It’s not gemination, which I know happens in this class, but what is it?
If you can help this Middle English person out, she’d be grateful. And my students will be interested to know the answer, too, since they were also curious about all the way that “standan” is weird.