Spanish has a lot of influences from Latin. One of them is the -ar, -er, and -ir verbs.

Accordding to http://spanishlinguist.us/2013/10/the-origins-of-spanish-ar-er-and-ir-verbs:

""Latin’s -āre verb class, which evolved into the -ar class of Spanish, was used:

  1. to turn nouns and adjectives into verbs. Some examples are curare “to care” from cura “care”, navigare “sail” from navex “sailor”, and novare “to renew” from novus “new”.
  2. for repeated or frequent actions. Some examples are dictare “recite” from dicere “say” and factitare “to practice” from facere “to do, make”. for intensives (with a prefix). One example is ocupare “to seize” from capere “to take”.
  3. for intensives (with a prefix). One example is ocupare “to seize” from capere “to take”.

Latin’s -ēre class, which evolved into the -er class of Spanish, was used:

  1. for causatives, such as monere “warn” from men “think” (i.e. to cause someone to think) and docere “to teach” from dek “accept” (i.e. to cause someone to accept).
  2. for verbs that describe states, e.g. calere “to be hot”, frigere “to be cold”, pendere “to be hanging”. Latin’s -ĕre class, which merged into the -er class of Spanish, included a group of change-of-state verbs, e.g. calescere “get hot” (from calere) and tacescere “become quiet” (from tacere “to be quiet”).

Latin’s -īre class, which evolved into the -ir class of Spanish, was used:

  1. to turn nouns into verbs, as in finire “to finish” from finis “end” and servire “to serve, be a slave” from servus “slave”. I don’t know what, if anything, distinguished these from the verbs-from-nouns in the -are class.
  2. for desires, e.g. esurire “to be hungry” from esse “to eat”, parturire “to be in labor” from parere “to give birth”. "

Now in Spanish, I see that there are many negative verbs -ar verbs, while their positive counterparts are -er or -ir verbs
"odiar" (to hate) and "querer" (lo love)
"llorar" (to cry) and "reír" (to laugh)
So, what were the original Latin words for "odiar" and "llorar" and how do they turn nouns or adjectives into verbs or how they are repeated or frequent actions?

In Spanish there are also some pairs of verbs with opposite meanings, where one of them is an -ar verb, while the other one is either an -er or an -ir verb?
"entrar" (to enter) and "salir" (to leave)
"encender" (to turn on) and "apagar" (to turn off)
"saludar" (to greet) and "despedir" (to dismiss)
"quitar" (to remove) and "poner" (to put)
"levantar" (to awaken) and "dormir" (to sleep)
"abrir" (to open) and "cerrar" (to close)
"comprar" (to buy) and "vender" (to sell)

So, once again what was the original Latin word for "levantar" and how does it turn a noun or an adjective into a verb or how is it a repeated or frequent action? And I have the same questions for every Spanish verb I have listed in my examples.

  • I first tried asking the question at spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/35378/…. – Arunabh Bhattacharya Aug 1 at 16:28
  • 4
    This is pretty pedantic, but it feels weird to say that Latin has influences on Spanish - Spanish is a modern form of Latin! – Javier Aug 2 at 6:16
  • I can't find any evidence for a noun navex. Navigare is usually explained as from navis ('ship') + the productive suffix -igo. If navex exists, I'm sure it is a back-formation from navigo. – Colin Fine Nov 22 at 22:03

Unfortunately, your source is slightly misleading.

It's true that verbs formed from nouns and verbs denoting repeated action in Latin tend to be in the -āre conjugation. However, many other miscellaneous verbs are in the -āre conjugation as well, such as amāre "love", adjuvāre "help", lavāre "wash"…

In most cases, the conjugation of a verb is a historical accident; Latin "cleaned up" its verb system very thoroughly, sorting all verbs into one of four or five different patterns for the present tense. So in most cases, knowing the meaning of a verb won't tell you which conjugation it falls into. For example, audīre and auscultāre both mean "hear/listen", and imperāre and jubēre both mean "command", but they've ended up in different conjugations.

Now, there are certain suffixes that created verbs in a specific conjugation. For example, the suffix -scere creates a verb meaning "to become ___" (calēre "to be hot" > calēscere "to become hot"), and these verbs always end up in the -ere conjugation. This is where most of the meanings listed on that website come from. But there were still, for example, many -ere verbs which weren't created with the suffix -scere, which had all sorts of different meanings (dicere "say", currere "run", etc).

(As a side note, the site also implies certain things are Latin when they're not. For example, the roots it lists as "men" and "dek" are actually Proto-Indo-European reconstructions, *m-n- and *d-ḱ-, not anything that ever existed within Latin itself. Those pertain to how the -ēre conjugation originally developed in the first place, not how it worked in Latin times.)

| improve this answer | |
  • Just a minor qualification on your statement "the suffix -scere creates a verb meaning "to become__"( calēre 'to be hot' > calēscere 'to become hot')". Strictly speaking, unprefixed -sc- verbs are not telic, whereby the translation of calescere as 'to become hot' is not accurate enough. As pointed out by Haverling (2010: 297-298), the suffix -sc- just adds dynamicity to the stative verb, as in calescit 'it is getting warmer'; the -sco verbs become telic when prefixed as in concalescit 'it becomes warm'. So unprefixed -sc- verbs express atelic/ indefinite change of state. – Mitomino Aug 1 at 19:01
  • See Haverling's (2010: 299) precise translations of stative verbs (calere 'to be hot'), atelic/ indefinite change of state verbs (calescere 'to become warmer'), and telic/definite change of state verbs (concalescere 'to become warm'). Source: Haverling, Gerd. (2010). “Actionality, Tense, and Viewpoint”. In Perspectives on Historical Latin Syntax (chap. 4, vol. II), Philip Baldi & Pierluigi Cuzzolin (eds.), 277-524. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. – Mitomino Aug 1 at 19:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.