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Lyrics: "dreamed"

Posted by R. Berg on October 17, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Leant posted by Gary on October 17, 2002

: : : : : : : : Is usa(d)ge a British spelling? In our unabridged dictionary, I found no alternate spelling for "usage."

: : : : : : : : I know that we Yanks have our own spelling for some words, stemming from our desire to separate ourselve from the mother country. Perhaps this is one of them.

: : : : : : : : ES

: : : : : : : I think it was a play on a typo in the subject of your original post where you accidentally spellled usage u-s-a-d-g-e.

: : : : : : I checked a few sources and found no such word as "usadge".
: : : : : : Also I found no such word as "spellled".
: : : : : : The irony of it all!

: : : : : Although Ms. Camel seems to need help in how to stop spelling "spelling", there is, I believe, a transatlantic difference with the past tense and/or past participle of the verb "to spell". For some reason, my tendency is to opt for "spelt" - "I spelt it out for him". Similarly, I'd opt for "learnt" rather than "learned". Am I right in thinking that this is not the way you'd do it over the pond?

: : : : Yes, you are. The -t forms are understood here--another one is "dreamt"--but they look archaic. We do write "unkempt," though.

: : : How about "leant"?

: : That looks even more archaic than "learnt." Our past for "lean" is "leaned," pronounced with one syllable, a long E, and a D at the end. But our past for "bend" is usually "bent"; "bended" is rare (Amer. Heritage Dict.). For "lend," only "lent." Amer. Heritage allows "blent" as an alternative past for "blend," but I've never seen it used. "Fent" (from "fend") isn't even listed as an option, nor is "ment," so that "The hermit fent for himself and ment his raveling garments all winter" would be written only by someone whose education ent too soon.

: A favourite song of mine is Bob Dylan's 'I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine'. It hadn't occurred to me until now that he might actually pronounce it that way in real life, as it were. Dreamt is the way it is usually said in the UK.

In the musical "Les Misérables," Fantine sings the song "I Dreamed a Dream":

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living,
I dreamed that love would never die,
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

Then I was young and unafraid,
And dreams were made and used and wasted,
There was no ransom to be paid,
No song unsung, no wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night . . .
[At the end, "dreamed" is rhymed with "seemed"]

The English-language version of Les Miz was first produced in London, 1985. So this is definitely British English. Possibly US imperialism extends farther into songwriting than into speech? Or maybe lyricists use "dreamed" because it's easier to rhyme than "dreamt."