I stumbled across today’s op-ed contribution, “The Great Iceland Meltdown”, by Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times, where he says a lot of clever things (as usual), but also this (emphasis added by me):

Globalization giveth — it was this democratization of finance that helped to power the global growth that lifted so many in India, China and Brazil out of poverty in recent decades. Globalization now taketh away — it was this democratization of finance that enabled the U.S. to infect the rest of the world with its toxic mortgages. And now, we have to hope, that globalization will saveth.

I was shocked – as I usually am when native speakers use the Shakespearean or Biblical -eth ending wrongly. But this time I decided I wanted to find out about this, and I wrote an e-mail to Prof. Arnold Zwicky (Stanford University), one of the contributors to the fabulous Language Log. I half expected to be ignored (who knows – does he even read the mails that are sent to that address? Does he care about a German reader’s questions?). Well, I wasn’t. Only a few hours later Arnold Zwicky replied and told me he had written a blog entry about my question.
And now for an explanation of the headline of this entry. Zwicky says in his post (my emphasis):

Modern speakers, for the most part, don’t appreciate that -eth is historically appropriate only for 3sg present tense verb forms, and so use it ornamentally.

Well. Hm. I really find this surprising. Even intellectuals like Friedman don’t realize that they are producing grammatical nonsense (sth. will *saves)? Amazing.
But please, have a look for yourselves. Prof. Zwicky’s post is full of good examples and also explains why the quotation in question is a snowclone:
Language Log: Giveth and taketh

This entry with proper links: TulgeyWood

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