Learn ------> learned or learnt?

Adolfo   Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:00 pm GMT
What is the most used form ? According to Collins Master Bilingual Dictionary, past and participle of the verb to learn are either learned or learnt, but which of the two do the native speakers prefer?
Jim   Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:10 pm GMT
I prefer "learnt" but can't claim to speak for the majority.
furrykef   Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:31 pm GMT
I, an American, definitely prefer "learned". "Learnt" sounds old-fashioned or British to me. So it may depend on which dialect you're learning.

- Kef
Jeff, Texan in NY   Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:27 am GMT
Americans say "learned" and the British generally say "learnt." "Learnt" seems to carry a certain amount of stigma for native American English-speakers, marking someone who uses it as having a rural, less-educated accent. If you're learning English as a second language, however, Americans will not hold it against you if you say "learnt." They'll just think you sound British.

The situation with "spoil" and "smell" is basically the same. "Spoiled" and "smelled" are definitely more commonly heard in the U.S., and "spoilt" and "smelt" sound less prestigious. In my estimation, "spilt" and "burnt" and perhaps "spelt" are not as objectionable, but still less prestigious than "spilled" and "burned and "spelled." On the other hand, "knelt" and "dreamt" and "leapt" seem to be holding their own in both prestige and usage.
Guest   Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am GMT
I always thought that you say "learnt" after "have", and same with dreamt...
Milton   Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:29 am GMT
''Last night I dreamt of San Pedro'' (La Isla Bonita; Madonna)