H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
During the thirteenth century, according to Sweet,56d was changed to t in the weak preterites of verbs (ending) in rd, ld, nd. Before that time the preterite of sende (send) had been sende; now it became sente. It survives in our modern sent, and the same process is also revealed in built, girt, lent, rent and bent. The popular speech, disregarding the fact that to hold is a strong verb, arrives at helt by imitation.57 In the case of tole, which I almost always hear in place of told, there is a leaping of steps. The d is got rid of without any transitional use of t. So also, perhaps, in swole, which is fast displacing swelled.Attackted and drownded seem to be examples of an effort to dispose of harsh combinations by a contrary process. Both are very old in English. Boughten and dreampt present greater difficulties. Lounsbury says that boughten probably originated in the Northern (i.e., Lowland Scotch) dialect of English, which inclined to retain the full form of the past participle, and even to add its termination to words to which it did not properly belong.58 The p-sound in dreampt follows a phonetic law that is also seen in warm(p)th, com(p)fort, and some(p)thing, and that has actually inserted a p in Thompson (=Toms son).
The general tendency toward regularization is well exhibited by the new verbs that come into the language constantly. Practically all of them show the weak conjugation, for example, to phone, to bluff, to rubber-neck, to ante, to bunt, to wireless, to insurge and to loop-the-loop. Even when a compound has as its last member a verb ordinarily strong, it remains weak itself. Thus the preterite of to joy-ride is not joy-rode, nor even joy-ridden, but joy-rided. And thus bust, from burst, is regular and its preterite is busted, though burst is irregular and its preterite is the verb itself unchanged. The same tendency toward regularity is shown by the verbs of the kneel-class. They are strong in English, but tend to become weak in colloquial American. Thus the preterite of to kneel, despite the example of to sleep and its analogues, is not knel, nor even knelt, but kneeled. I have even heard feeled as the preterite of to feel, as in I feeled my way, though here felt still persists. To spread also