HoneyBuzzard wrote:Yeah, it's just a weird outlier. The root is *ცან, and in most forms the ა elides for essentially the same reason as in მეგობარ- → მეგობრის. The aorist first and second person originally had no suffix, so the stem vowel remained, შევიცან, then later an overt aorist suffix was borrowed. Stems with eliding vowels (Aronson explains it the other way around, as if the vowels are being inserted) usually use strong -ი instead of -ე in the aorist. That's probably the closest you can get to a practical rule, the only real exception would be the verbs with formant -ი like ვითვლი → დავითვალე.
The aorist third person singular was originally -ა too, Old Georgian იცნა, but it shifted to -ო, presumably due to confusion with genuinely nonsyllabic roots like დაიდებს. So *ცან is essentially regular in the aorist except for the ablaut shenanigans. I'm not sure about the optative. Old Georgian has theme -ა (ვცნა, ცნას), but Modern Georgian has -ო as you say, so I'm guessing it too assimilated to the pattern of the irregular -ებ verbs.
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