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Certain verbs such as drink, speak, and swim seemed to be misused more and more with this tense. Is this a regional phenomenon or common in all English speaking countries? For example, in southern Illinois and western Michigan many people say, I have spoke, I have swam, or I have drank and opposed to using spoken, swum or drunk.

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closed as not constructive by Bill Franke, FumbleFingers, John Lawler, Barrie England, coleopterist Jan 28 '13 at 13:36

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Language, like everything else, inexorably and ineluctably changes. This is neither good nor bad, merely annoying: all change is amoral, so judgments about change are merely expressions of personal preference (I like it versus I dislike it). Even the grammar of English is changing. "Misusing the language" has come to mean "not using the language the way I do, and it sounds strange, stupid, and ugly to me". Arguing and expressing opinions about this is politics, not linguistics: you can tell because of the zealousness with which language abusers defend themselves. (Oops!) (B-O –  user21497 Jan 28 '13 at 4:59
    
"If my speech ain't broke, don't fix it!". I get 18.8M hits on Google for broke, but only 1.1M for broken. Yes, "correct" usage is disappearing (everywhere, not just among "uneducated" Illinoians). –  FumbleFingers Jan 28 '13 at 5:19
    
This sounds like peeving, and I have voted to close for this reason. –  Barrie England Jan 28 '13 at 8:36
    
There really is no way of answering this right now. I'm voting to close as well. –  coleopterist Jan 28 '13 at 13:36

1 Answer 1

The short answer to your question of "Is it Disappearing?" is no.

I generated Google ngrams for all three examples you gave "have swum vs. have swam", "have spoken vs. have spoke", and "have drunk vs. have drank", and I found that for all three usages, the usage frequency for the incorrect usages has remained stable and low for a long time, and for all three examples, the incorrect usage was in fact more common in the past, not less common.

Have swam vs. have swum have swam vs have swum

Have spoke vs. have spoken Have spoke vs. have spoken

have drunk vs. have drank have drunk vs. have drank

Your observations are probably just an example of the recency illusion, the belief or impression that something is of recent origin when it is in fact long-established.

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+1, because I'm sure this is right, but we must remember that nGrams tell us only about writing, not speech. –  Barrie England Jan 28 '13 at 8:48
    
@BarrieEngland ... and the OP appears to be only aware of speech in parts of Illinois and Michigan :) –  coleopterist Jan 28 '13 at 13:34
    
This NGram for it ain't broke/broken may be a special case, but it certainly shows a massive rise in the "non-grammatical" form over recent decades. –  FumbleFingers Jan 28 '13 at 17:14

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