There is one thing in English that doesn't make sense to me: adding 's' (or 'es') to verbs when the subject is a third person. It seems redundant and adds no extra information to the sentence.

"I like cakes", but "he likes cakes" --> 's' serves no purpose here. In other European languages, there are conjugations for other subjects as well, e.g. in Dutch: "ik spreek", "jij spreekt", "jullie spreken". All of those conjugations are, in my opinion, purposeless in modern languages.

But as a product of linguistic evolution, they must have been there to serve a purpose. That purpose is lost now but I'm very interested in finding out what it was.

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    @XavierHernándezBalcázar: Old English did have pronouns for third person: etymonline.com/… – カオナシ Dec 8 '14 at 21:58
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    They are indeed remnants of a fuller system where every person had a unique (or more or less unique) form, just like they still do in, say, Spanish. Germanic languages developed a heavy initial stress, which resulted in a lot of final syllables (and the distinctions those syllables made) being lost; personal pronouns started being mandatory in compensation. This didn't happen in Spanish: tomo ‘I take’, tomaremos ‘we will take’, tomasteis ‘ye took’, etc. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 8 '14 at 22:01
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    I'm guessing from your name that you're Japanese, in which case, I might ask: what's the point of different stems that serve no real function in Japanese—why not just say 持ちない instead of 持たない? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 8 '14 at 22:06
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    @Barmar This is the definition of this site: "English Language & Usage: For linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts." – カオナシ Dec 8 '14 at 23:07
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    @Barmar I believe it is for general linguistic interest. My question is specific for English. – カオナシ Dec 8 '14 at 23:10

Like many features in language, there is no clear answer for "what purpose does that serve". Many European languages retain distinct endings for most or all the combinations of person and number; the modern Scandinavian languages have lost all of them. English has lost most, but retains the 3s ending.

Languages with full verbal conjugation may allow speakers to omit personal pronouns; but do not necessarily do so.

Really this is a historical accident, and there is not necessarily any reason or justification for it.

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