Questions tagged [morphologia]

For questions about morphology.

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36
votes
4answers
1k views

Accusative equals nominative for neuter words – how universal is this and why?

The first mnemonic for Latin case ending I learnt was that for neuter words, the accusative form is always identical to the nominative form. This applies even to exotic word endings like animal or id, ...
23
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1answer
776 views

Why do ablatives of the 3rd declension sometimes end on -e, at other times on -i?

Normally, substantive nouns of the 3rd declension get an -e in the ablative (patre), and adjectives of the 3rd get an -i (audaci). This is already odd: normally, substantives and adjectives, both ...
21
votes
3answers
336 views

Did the Romans ever combine Greek and Latin morphemes?

Recently I was thinking about words in English which were formed from a Greek and Latin morpheme pair. An example of this is 'television', where 'tele-' is a Greek-originating prefix while 'vision' is ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Why do we learn the genitive singular of each Latin noun?

When Latin nouns are listed for memorisation they are listed with the nom. sg., the gen. sg. and their gender. E.g. agricola, agricolae, masculine. Why are each of these forms necessary for ...
17
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1answer
584 views

What are the relative frequencies of cases in Latin?

Latin has seven cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative, vocative, locative. What are their relative frequencies in classical Latin? I suppose an answer would have to be based on ...
17
votes
1answer
328 views

What is the origin of the -a in words like “collega, advena”?

There are a couple of masculine (or common) nouns of the first declension. Some are from masculine Greek -ês, like poeta, nauta. But others, like collega, advena, parricida, scriba, incola, agricola, ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Can “ee” appear in Latin?

There are a few instances in Latin where words are spelled with two vowels next to each other, in hiatus: filii "sons", metuunt "they fear". Now, the last words of the Emperor Julian II are normally ...
15
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1answer
659 views

Are there any other neuter words of the second declension that end on -us than “virus”?

Virus is a neuter word of the second declension even though it ends on -us, as evidenced by its genitive on -i (it has no plural). Are there any other such words? Bonus question: is it possible that ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Why do Latin nouns (like cena, -ae) include two forms?

So I recently learned the first declension nouns concept and my list of new vocabularies to learn suddenly changed. Words were usually presented as: sagitta pecunia etc. Now, they indicate the ...
14
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1answer
666 views

Why is Jesus inflected in such a way?

The name Iesus is declined in a very peculiar way in Latin, and no other word seems to follow similar declensions. Why is this so? Is there a way to put this broader declension in context to make some ...
14
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2answers
687 views

Latin passive endings: Why is -mini sticking out

The Latin passive ending usually feature an additional letter R compared to the active endings: laud-or, -aris, -atur, -amur, -antur. However, the second person plural is different, using the ending -...
14
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1answer
459 views

What is the optative?

Some conjunctive forms end in -im (and -is, -it, -imus, -itis, -int), but this is rare. The examples I recall are sim, possim, velim, nolim, malim, and duim (alternative to dem). These forms are ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Which verbs have reduplicated perfect stems?

Certain verbs, such as curro, have reduplicated perfect stems (such as cucurri). Other verbs, such as facio, fero had a reduplicated perfect stem in Old Latin (as seen on the Praeneste fibula) which ...
12
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2answers
296 views

Understanding the stem(s) of 'struere'

The present, perfect, and participle stems1 of the verb struere are stru-, strux-, and struct-. The -s- in the perfect stem and the -t- in the participle stem are nothing unusual, but they seem to ...
12
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1answer
289 views

Why is it “dare” and not “dāre” when most first conjugation verbs spell like “amāre”?

Why does dō conjugate differently from other first conjugation verbs in that you find a short a where otherwise you might expect a long ā? BACKGROUND Examples: amāre (dare), amārī (darī), ...
11
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2answers
439 views

Which Latin declension is most common?

Does anyone know the rough proportions of Latin words that fall into each of the five declensions? Which is most common? Which is least common?
11
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1answer
351 views

Why sequundus > secundus?

It seems quite clear that secundus comes from sequundus, a gerundive of sequi. But why did -quu- become -cu-? This change is not universal, since some Latin words do preserve -quu-, at least the end ...
11
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1answer
229 views

Why do some 2nd decl. “-er” adjectives and nouns drop the “e” in the stem?

Is there any rule explaining why certain second-declension nouns and adjectives with a nominative -er ending drop the e when declined (e.g. ager, liber, pulcher), and why others keep it (e.g. puer, ...
11
votes
1answer
208 views

Third conjugation passive infinitive: why -i and not -eri?

The active infinitive is uniform (-re from -se by rhotacism) across the regular Latin conjugations, but the passive one is not: the third conjugation loses the consonant. We have amare/amari, habere/...
10
votes
2answers
431 views

How is the supine related to the derived fourth declension noun?

I asked yesterday about the word venatu. There was a good answer and good comments, but I want to ask a broader related question more specifically — especially due to TKR's comment. I want to ...
10
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1answer
373 views

Which islands appear in the locative?

Textbooks, when describing the use of the locative, often say it's used with the names of "cities and small islands" (as well as a few nouns like rus). What counts as a "small island"? Wikipedia says ...
10
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2answers
732 views

How to decline a whale?

The Latin word cētus (a whale or some other major sea creature) behaves peculiarly. In singular it is a normal-looking masculine cētus, but in plural it is a neuter cētē. The ...
10
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1answer
212 views

Did the Romans borrow any inflection from other languages than Greek?

Some Greek loan words in Latin use Greek declension. For example, I recall seeing Aeneida and Aeneidos instead of the regular Latin declension Aeneidem and Aeneidis. Some elements of Greek inflection ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Contracted perfect and historical infinitive

The present infinitive is sometimes used as a predicate in a past tense sentence. The use context is similar to praesens historicum. My grammar gives two examples: Nihil Galli respondere, sed in ...
9
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2answers
433 views

Can enclitics be chained?

I am active in a small Latin Discord group; a member brought up a question concerning the validity of the following phrase with chained enclitics: Valēsneque? (with the enclitics distinguished) ...
9
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3answers
321 views

When is there a U instead of an E in gerund(ive)?

Tuomo Pekkanen's Latin grammar mentions (§52.3) that the -e- added to the present stem before -nd- in the gerund and gerundive (in the third and fourth conjugations) can be replaced with a -u-. For ...
9
votes
2answers
309 views

Vowel length in future perfect indicative and perfect conjunctive

I want to compare future perfect active indicative and perfect active conjunctive. They look identical, apart from first person singular (cogitavero ≠ cogitaverim). But is there a difference in the ...
9
votes
2answers
258 views

Why homicide instead of hominicide?

The word homicida is attested in classical Latin, and the English "homicide" is an obvious loan. The word seems to come from homo and caedere. Why is the first part homi- instead of homini-? The stem ...
9
votes
1answer
647 views

What is the origin of the 3rd-person plural perfect ending “-ēre”?

Laudavēre is an (apparently older) alternative to laudaverunt. What is the origin of this ending? Is it connected with any other known endings or affixes? Clackson & Horrocks say it is from an ...
9
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1answer
156 views

In Ancient Greek, why ἑπτά vs. ἕβδομος?

I was marveling today at the word hebdomadal, from the Greek ἑπτά for seven. But that had me wondering why words derived from seven sometimes use /bd/ and other times /pt/. I notice, for instance, ...
9
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1answer
98 views

Technique to find first principal parts when later parts change spelling? E.g. find 'nanciscor' from 'nactus'

I am tutoring a friend who is preparing for a graduate school translation exam, of the "unseen passage, dictionary allowed, time limit imposed, be accurate" variety. We came across nacti in ...
9
votes
1answer
119 views

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
8
votes
3answers
541 views

Is there a diminutive form for agent nouns?

I recently read a joke about the use of Latin -tor and -trix nouns in modern English. The punchline was that "trix is for kids". This got me wondering: Is there a way to make diminutives from agent ...
8
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3answers
408 views

What are the normal genitive and dative singular forms of “alius”?

Some sources mention a genitive singular alius, but I've also seen aliae. And I don't recall seeing a dative singular ali, but neither do I remember alio. I think several forms exist, including even ...
8
votes
1answer
413 views

Why is it Iuppiter rather than Iuppater?

Iuppiter comes from the vocative of the Indo-European *dyeus-patēr, cognate with Zeus in Greek. However, as *a > a in Latin and 'pater' survives elsewhere in Latin, one would expect Iuppater. How has ...
8
votes
2answers
381 views

What is the plural of virus, vulgus and pelagus?

There are three neuters in the second declension ending in -us: virus, vulgus and pelagus. (See this previous question for origin and listing of such words.) My grammar tells me that these words are ...
8
votes
1answer
230 views

The length of the final vowel in first declension nouns (Greek)

How can you tell whether a first declension noun ends in a short or long vowel? Background When the word is written and accented, I may be able to tell. (Not always. E.g. θύρᾱ if without the macron)...
8
votes
1answer
830 views

How many distinct forms does a typical Latin verb have?

I thought I read somewhere that Latin verbs usually have about 150 different endings, but when I looked over a paradigm table I only found around 90. How many distinct forms do you need to memorize, ...
8
votes
1answer
110 views

Future: why -am instead of -em?

The future tense of third and fourth conjugation verbs is marked by -ē-, as in trahes and audies. The regular personal endings are added after this vowel. But in the first person singular the ...
8
votes
1answer
286 views

Active perfect stem conjugation and forms of esse

Many forms formed from the perfect stem (habitav-, fec-, tetig-, and others) resemble forms of esse. It looks as if a form of esse was directly attached to the perfect stem. In perfect conjunctive an -...
8
votes
1answer
149 views

Do the locatives militiae, terrā, marī occur by themselves?

Textbooks tell us that the only common (in the sense of not proper) nouns that have a locative case are rūs "countryside" and domus "home". However, I'm familiar with two expressions that use ...
8
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2answers
125 views

Do non-Attic-Ionic dialects distinguish the accusatives of the ἀσπίς and χάρις types?

In Attic-Ionic Greek, nouns with dental stems show two types of accusative singular endings, depending on the position of the accent: If the accent is on the final syllable of the stem, the ...
7
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2answers
1k views

“Tu quoque, Brutus, mi fili?” Grammar question

Someone told me these were Caesar's actual last words. Google confirms this. But I can't find an explanation for what looks to me like weird grammar. First of all, shouldn't "Brutus" be &...
7
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2answers
374 views

Why does Ago become agit, agitis, agis, etc? [conjugate with an *i*?]

I am working on word endings in Latin, and I came across the word Ago. And I was looking at the different conjugations for this word and it did not make sense to me. Observe: Endings are: ...
7
votes
2answers
270 views

How can I find a verb root in ancient greek?

If I have a verb in ancient greek, how can I find its root? For instance, if I have λείπω νέω ἔμαθον μανθάνω how can I do to know that, respectively, these verbs have λιπ-/λειπ-/λοιπ- νευ- (<*...
7
votes
1answer
244 views

Is there a gerundive of “faciō”?

Faciō, "to make" or "to do", is a common Latin verb. It's famous for being suppletive: it's missing most of its passive forms, and instead uses the active forms of the separate verb fiō "to become". (...
7
votes
1answer
177 views

When did unsyncopated forms become archaic?

I'd always learned that the regular way to say "you loved" was amāvisti, with the "syncopated" version amāsti being poetic and uncommon. However, Unbrutal_Russian says differently (with good ...
7
votes
2answers
554 views

Regular passive forms of “facere”

Have regular passive forms of the verb facere ever been used? If so, what is the first occurrence? In all of the Latin I have seen, the passive forms of facere are replaced by fieri. Regular passive ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Are there unprefixed location verbs in Latin?

Two basic types of prefixed denominal locative verbs can be distinguished in Latin: the ones in (1) can be said to “agglutinate” a prepositional phrase expressing (dis)location, i.e., the place (cf. ...
6
votes
1answer
221 views

Irregular aorist imperative from ἔχω

Why does ἔχω exhibit a 2 s. aorist imperative σχές instead of what I would expect to be σχέ ? Do other verbs do this, or is this peculiar to this verb?