An experiment in language: a different Past Tense

Listening to a child learn to speak, it's interesting to observe some of the errors. One that caught my attention a while ago is the regular past tense.

Forming the past tense is a haphazard process. Much of the time we can follow the rule of "Add ED", or, if the verb ends in an "e", simply "Add D". Thus "add" becomes "added", "rule" becomes "ruled" and "talk" becomes "talked".

However, there are many exceptions. "Think" does not become "thinked", it becomes "thought", "swim" does not become "swimmed", it becomes "swum", and "write" does not become "writed", it becomes "wrote".

But listening to children learning their language, we can hear the rules in action. They haven't yet learned all the exceptions, so they say "thinked" and "seed" and "writed" instead of "thought" and "saw" and "wrote".

There's nothing wrong with that - it's a part of the natural progression when learning English, as is an equivalent for every other language.

But recently I've been trying an experiment. Instead of using the "ED" construction as the regular past tense, I've taken the idea from "swim/swum" to say, let's form the past tense by changing a vowel to a "U". Thus "swim" becoming "swum" is the regular form, rather than an exception.

So what's this like? Well, here are some examples:

 swim     swum 
 think  thought  thunk 
 link  linked  lunk 
 click  clicked  cluck 
 pick  picked  puck 
 drag  dragged  drug 

It works particularly well when the vowel in the present tense is "i", but other cases also work well. Some exceptions are still required, and this is just a bit of fun, triggered by the computing term "thunk".

But even so, I wonder if it could catch on? I've now heard one of my colleagues use this form when he didn't know I was listening, so in some sense it has "cutch on".

I wonder if it will spread ...