Dec 1st, 2010, 02:04 am
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Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
| | 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.