Mark Pagel and his team examined words in 87 Indo-European languages and concluded less-used used words might change over about 750 years, but common words might stay the same for as long as 10,000 years.
The article was interesting, but the examples selected by the author, Nikhil Swaminathan, seemed rather strange to me. He said:
Researchers scoured grammatical texts dating back to the days of Old English, cataloguing all the irregular verbs they came across. Among them: the still irregular "sing" / "sang," "go" / "went" as well as the since-regularized "smite" which once was "smote" in Old English but since has become "smited," and "slink," which is now "slinked" but 1,200 years ago was "slunk."I regularly say "slunk", so I guess I should admit there are some mornings I wake up feeling 1200 years old.
I'm not into the business of smiting people, so I can't be sure whether I'd choose smited, but I have a feeling smote would be my choice.