I’d forgotten about this: some people use “viewn” instead of “viewed”. This is, I assume, by analogy with “seen”. The fact that it looks weird doesn’t seem to put people off.

Using (the very flaky!) Google Groups Search, the first appearance on Usenet appears to be:

Viewn from a technical standpoint, I know it is still quite hard to create a rather simple “alternative” (alt.) newsgroup

“Pete”, 7 January 2001

Pete has an Austrian email address, and if you read the rest of the post it’s clear he’s not a native English speaker. Another writer from Austria, Christian, wrote on 1st October:

Habe bis jetzt nur einen [jpg-Bildbetrachter] gefunden und der war leider Shareware 😦 Bräuchte nur was zum viewn, Bearbeitung ist mir egal.

Taking these two messages together, it would seem that viewn originated as a Germanised infinitive. (All German infinitives end in -(e)n.)

“Mr Y”, writing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, wrote on 18 March 1993:

Often you will hear “computer nerds” or hackers use hybrids like “viewen“, “listen”, or “compressen”; these are, however, no real German words.

Indeed, on 11 August 1992, Henning Sauer had written:

Im Handbuch steht glaube ich drin das dieser Monitor hauptsaechlich fuer DTP gedacht ist und dafuer und fuer das viewen von DVI-Files ist er bestens geeignet!

The past participle is geviewt, and this is first seen on 30 January, 2001:

Diese können z.B. mit einem BrowserPlugIn (Cosmoplayer) oder externer Software geviewt und vermessen werden.

It would be natural for “Pete”, when translating “geviewt” into English, to think the correct form is “viewn”.

So, to return to the hunt for early native-speaker examples, there’s

how to search files that cannot be viewn in disk

(the label given to a thread at, dated by Google as 2 September 2002)

?, 23 July 2003:

If you have viewn these statistics, then I would be really interested in you restating them here

“Khelder”, 1 July 2006

The controversial phrase is “Deutsches Vaterland”, which can be viewn as meaning that Germany was the origin of the human race.

We’ve got to 2006 (the date of Scott Kolp’s post on the subject, which is where we came in) and only got a handful of examples, from foreigners, geeks and, er, reactionaries. So I turned instead to (the even flakier) Google Books Search and hit paydirt:

Johan Åkerman’s 1960 book “Theory of Industrialisation” contains no less than three uses of “viewn”.

The book was published in Sweden, by Gleerup of Lund, but someone must’ve proof-read it, someone who thought “viewn” was an English word. No wonder, for the next hit takes us right back to Victorian England.

“Southampton considered as a Resort for Invalids” by Edwin Wing (1848), page 22-23:

…as we have now seen that Southampton deserves a high reputation for health, it can well afford the darker side to be viewn

And there’s more…

Jan J. Koenderink, in Liliana Albertazzi (ed.) “Unfolding Perceptual Continua” (John Benjamins, Amsterdam/New York, 2002), p107:

Rows of characters are viewn from a distance.

Herwig Hauser (University of Innsbrueck), in “Singularities” (Birkhaeuser, Basel, 1998), page 293:

… R can be viewn as a formal power series ring in n variables over K.

?, Expert Systems in Production Engineering (Springer, 1987) page 172:

… extended semantical networks can be viewn as description … of interrelations among project qualities …

?, Euro ASIC 91, (IEEE, 1991) page 175:

… the two corresponding adjacent segments are viewn as a single segment.

Nordenson, Finney, Bradfield, Bradfield (trans.) “Constitutional Documents of Sweden” (Swedish Rijksdag, 1981) page 18:

… the distribution of the seats totally viewn will become proportional to the number of votes …

Proceedings of the ASCA Annual Meeting (2001):

… the viewn monocular eye was at the apex …

Claude Teancum Barnes “The Wending Year” (1941) p 100:

On planet Mars beyond the fulgent moon,

Within the deep and cloudless sky of night,

Perhaps from mountain there the earth is viewn, …,%22

Brita Alroth, “Opus Mixtum” (1994) page 80:

This woman is shown in profile and turned towards her frontally-viewn companion.

Revue internationale du trachome et des maladies oculaires des pays tropicaux et sub-tropicaux (1952) p 33:

When viewn from the standpoint of age the incidence is higher in groups 7 to 14, …

Taniguchi Kōgyō Shōreikai, “History of Psychiatry” (1982) page 159:

The k’uang Madness Disorder is viewn as an agitated variety of the same disorder, …

Buchholz, Richard, Aliabadi, “Advances in Fracture and Damage Mechanics” (2003), page 346:

2-D projection of the Voronoi tessellation plasticity models can not be viewn as material specific parameters in the classical sense …

Like that last one, there were a couple more that Google promises to show, only to chop off the relevant part.


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