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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 30th, 2010, 04:45 pm
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Default Learned/learnt?

As part of my training I need to correct some sentences that a FL student made.
It made me think about whether learned is incorrect, as a British English speaker, I would not say/write it. I would use learnt, but that does not mean learned is wrong.
What to you think?
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Unread Nov 30th, 2010, 06:40 pm
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Default Re: Learned/learnt?

Hi tigerfly,

Richard Hudson and Geoff Barton look at learnt versus learned - Article - TES Connect

Difference Between Learned and Learnt | Difference Between | Learned vs Learnt

Tell Me Why?: What is the difference between "learnt" and "learned" ?

I hope these help clear your doubt.

Last edited by Oden : Nov 30th, 2010 at 10:34 pm.
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Unread Dec 1st, 2010, 02:04 am
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Default Re: Learned/learnt?

Either is fine - I don't think it's fully regional any more, rather individual. I'm a British English speaker too, but learned seems more natural to me. It's only a problem in written English anyway as in the stream of spoken English it would be unnoticeable - possibly /d/ possibly /t/ and very likely something in between the two. And in speakers who use both, it will often be conditioned by the next sound in the sentence eg if it's trigonometry the initial /t/ would be more likely to produce learnt :
I learnt trigonometry at school whereas dictionary would produce learned :
We learned dictionary skills in class today.

I'm talking about in speech remember, not in writing. This is a phonological effect called assimilation.

The answer is probably that most native speakers aren't actually fully aware of what they use when they're speaking, even if they know what they'd write.

It's another example of the language changing. I'd hypothesise that 50 years ago most British writers would have used learnt, but that nowadays the percentage is much lower.

So no - it's certainly not incorrect. In the current state of the language two forms are alternatives. One may be more frequent amongst certain groups of speakers, but as far as the students are concerned - whichever.
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Unread Dec 1st, 2010, 03:52 am
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Default Re: Learned/learnt?

Wow, Sue's answer is excellent.

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Unread Dec 2nd, 2010, 08:31 am
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Default Re: Learned/learnt?

Oden, the second article brought back memories of an English lesson I had when I was a child!

Susan, thanks for the clarification, it really helps to have someone give and explanation that I can use. Being new to ESL I have never needed to 'think' about many word decisions before, but I think it is really important so that you can be consistent for your students.

many thanks
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Unread Mar 22nd, 2011, 05:57 pm
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Default Re: Learned/learnt?

These are all irregular verbs and its part of their irregularity which is an alternative forms of the past tense and past participles of the verb. Learnt is common in British English while learned is common in American English.
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