Questions tagged [morphology]

For questions about morphology.

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Declensions and Conjugations in Latin

I have noticed that in charts parsing the Declensions and Conjugations of Latin words, that the words are sometimes parsed with what looks like multiple options. For example, if you take the root &...
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When do the demonstratives ille, illa, illud become reduced definite articles?

More specifically, what are the first attestations of the nascent reduced forms of the definite articles in Latin (or Proto-Romance) e.g. Latin illam > la?
6 votes
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How often was the -i- stem dropped in second declension nouns?

In chapter four of Wheelock's Latin, it states that: In spelling the genitive singular of neuter (and masculine) nouns with a base ending in -i- the Romans sometimes dropped that vowel, e.g., cōnsilī ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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“Itis” Versus “Is” in Latin

I am learning Latin on Duolingo, and the app does not clarify when to use “itis” and when to use “is”. They both mean “to go”, for the second person singular in present tense. Clarification would be ...
6 votes
1 answer
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Did Plautus say "morbus hepatiarius" or "morbus hepatarius"?

The word hepat(i)arius seems to be a hapax found in Plautus's Curculio. The meaning and use of the adjective seems interesting, but this question is focused on its form. Is the right form hepatarius ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Suffixes -τρον, -θρον, and -εθρον

Dickinson College's digitization of the grammar text by Goodell seems to suggest that -τρον and -θρον are synonyms. We also have πτολίεθρον, where it looks to me like the suffix is -εθρον (unless this ...
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4 votes
1 answer
295 views

What is the general ablaut rule that explains examples like φρήν, πρόφρων, πρόφρονα?

Φρήν (midriff, will) gives rise to the adjective πρόφρων (eager, literally motivated by will). It looks to me like the -ων comes from ablaut applied to -ην. (It doesn't look like a suffix -ων, since ν ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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When are deponent perfect forms used with a present meaning?

As Cerberus mentions in this answer: With many (semi-)deponent verbs, the perfect participle often has a present meaning. And in the comments: I thought this was commonly known, but apparently not. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why does conscio not have four principal parts?

I have been using working through some latin translations and stumbled across conscio, -ire, -ivi in my latin dictionary, which it lists as a transitive verb meaning "to have on one's conscience.&...
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1 answer
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Is "Noli illud dixisse!" good Latin for "You should not have said that!"?

I am trying to understand how the perfect imperative functioned in Latin. Is "Noli illud dixisse!" good Latin for "You should not have said that!"? I know "Noli illud dicere!&...
4 votes
1 answer
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What is wanting in Gildersleeve's declension charts?

In Gildersleeves Latin Grammar you can find declension charts with the word wanting inserted in 3 places I II III Nom. a. us (os) ; wanting ; um (om). s ; wanting. Gen. ae (ās, āī, āi). ī (ēī). is ...
6 votes
1 answer
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Why is it "Discipulus pulcher est" and not "Discipulus pulchrus est"?

I think its something with declension, but can't quite wrap my head around why it would be pulcher instead of pulchrus for that phrase.
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2 answers
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'Fomites'? From 'fomes'?

Of the many candidates for 'word of the year', 'fomites' is a semifinalist for sure (with the added flavor of multiple pronunciations). But why the dental '-t-' in the plural? What is the pattern? Is ...
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15 votes
1 answer
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Is there any rule for determining whether a verb beginning with ε- will augment to η- vs ει-, or must all verbs' behaviors be memorized?

For instance, the verb ἐλευθερῶ augments to ἠλευθέρουν in the past, whereas the verb ἔχω augments to εἶχον (not ἦχον as might have been predicted).
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1 answer
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In Vulgate, Matthaeus 4:23, it says "et prædicans Evangelium regni". Shouldn't it be "regno" (dative) rather than "regni" (genitive)?

In Vulgate, Matthaeus 4:23, it says "et prædicans Evangelium regni". Shouldn't it be "regno" (dative) rather than "regni" (genitive)? He was talking the gospel TO the ...
5 votes
3 answers
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Why is *dōna* the plural acc. Instead of *donos* like the rest of the 2nd declensions?

I am currently studying the declensions for nouns (currently on the 2nd one) and saw this difference. amīcōs, fīliōs, agrōs VS dōna
6 votes
2 answers
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Why -ώς in αἰδώς?

The word αἰδώς means awe, shame, or respect. There are related words such as αἰδοῖος. I feel like I ought to be training my brain to recognize inflections in order to get clues as to meaning, but as ...
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4 votes
2 answers
459 views

Tables of Greek expressions for time, place, and logic

I'm trying to build my vocabulary in koine using flashcards, and so far have had pretty good success attaining a decent level of reading fluency, e.g., I can get through the first couple of chapters ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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On the (necessary or typical?) relationship between double accusative and causation

I was wondering if there is a syntactic/semantic generalization that can account for the so-called "double accusative" predicative frame in Latin (verbs with person & thing (docere ...
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1 answer
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What construction is "διδαχή?"

There is an interesting early Christian document called the Διδαχή, translated into English as "The Teaching." The word seems to be classical, not just Koine. Is this some kind of more ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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On the formation of perfect passive infinitives

I Think I understand why the passive infinitive of " amo " is not " esse amatus" : "being loved" is not perfect ( without any play on words). So we need something else ...
5 votes
1 answer
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Are there ever separate number and case markers in Latin?

It seems to me that in Latin the case endings in singular and plural have very little in common. For an example of singular–plural pairs: puella–puellae, puellam–puellas, puellae–puellarum, puellae–...
3 votes
0 answers
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What would the perfect stem of 'apparere' be?

Lewis and Short only give present stem forms of the verb appărĕre, appărio. They say, quite rightly so, that it comes from ad+părĕre, and one would therefore expect the conjugation to be as that ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Is "gate to heaven" "foris paradisi" or "foris paradiso"?

I noticed that the Croatian for "gate to heaven" is "vrata raja", "raja" being the genitive singular (rather than dative) of "raj" (heaven). I was wondering how ...
4 votes
3 answers
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Deriving verbs from nouns: iota > iotare

What is the natural way in which to derive verbs from nouns, where their meaning is to furnish something with the thing named by the noun? For example, what might one call an omega furnished with an ...
7 votes
1 answer
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Is it φιλημι or φιλημμι?

In fragments of Sappho, we see athematic (μι-verb) forms for what Attic would call contract verbs, like φιλημ(μ)ι and καλημ(μ)ι for Attic φιλέω, καλέω. However, authorities seem to differ on how many ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is unius an irregular genitive?

I notice that the genitive of unus can apparently be either the regular uni, or can also be unius. Is this form, unius, just a completely irregular oddity, or is there some logical precedent for it? ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Trying to coin a new word, and trying to stay true to Latin Sandhi phonological rules

I'm writing a paper and I'm proposing a couple of new latin terms: alterpersona realterpersona or to break them down into components alter-persona re-alter-persona I'm wondering about the sandhi ...
4 votes
2 answers
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In "fortis fortuna adiuvat" is "fortis" accusative plural?

Fortis fortuna adiuvat, is fortis accusative plural here? Fortis has different forms for the same conjugation as I see at Wiktionary, and I couldn't find which forms adiuvare takes as an exhaustive ...
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2 answers
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"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 &...
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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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
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What are the θη-future and θη-aorist?

I see on quite a few resources tenses referred as θη-future or θη-aorist and I don't understand what it exactly means. Are θη-future and θη-aorist another way to say future passive and aorist ...
17 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
12 votes
2 answers
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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?
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3 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Livy Book 1 27.1 type of subjunctive, sequence of tenses

Invidia vulgi, quod tribus militibus fortuna publica commissa fuerit, vanum ingenium dictatoris corrupit. What kind of subjunctive is fuerit and why. What tense is corrupit — perfect with or ...
8 votes
2 answers
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effeminare = evirare (?)

Assuming that (i) the meanings of vir and femina are indeed opposite and (ii) the meaning of the prefix ex- is quite transparent, why are the verbs evirare and effeminare then synonymous? Are there ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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?
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1 answer
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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. ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Why had the word "gold" morphed from "ausum" into "aurum"?

Etymologists/Linguists posit that the prefix for gold in Proto-Indo-European was: *aus- Which gave way to *auzom in Proto-Italic languages and ausum in Classical Latin. At some point, ausum ...
10 votes
1 answer
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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, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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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- (<*...
5 votes
1 answer
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Does an ig- prefix mean there's an underlying g in the root?

There seem to be certain words in Latin which start with an underlying /gn/, such as noscō /gnosko:/ [nɔsko:]—this "hidden" /g/ appears when prefixes are added, as in cognoscō /congnosko:/ [cɔŋnɔsko:] ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Is it better to memorize verb's 1st person perfect tense?

Is it necessary to memorize verb's perfect form like paro, parare, paravi? Or can I predict a verb's perfect forms if I remember the rules by which perfect stems are formed. Like, the suffix -v/iv or ...
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1 answer
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Dies and the fifth declension

In an answer to this question on Ζεύς Draconis mentions (quoting his own post on another site): The accusative form of the root, *dyēm (cf AGrk Zēn), also survived in Latin, in the form *diēm > ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Why "amatus est" instead of "*amavitur"

Is there any diachronic reason whereby synthetic perfective passive forms like *amavitur (and similar ones) are not possible and analytic forms like amatus est (and similar ones) are selected instead? ...
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1 answer
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Does anyone know of a resource that lists 'root morphemes' of latin words?

I having been searching the web like crazy trying to find a resource that list Latin root morphemes. That is, words which all share the same base meaning and are listed in their word families. For ...
3 votes
3 answers
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The lexical root of the perfect tense forms differs from the lexical root of the infinitive form

Do the Latin have any other verbs, whose perfect tense forms base on the lexical root, that differs from the lexical root of the infinitive form (by analogy with the verb fero > tuli)?
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3 votes
0 answers
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When did the infinitive in -ier fall out of use?

At one point, the Latin passive infinitive was formed with a suffix -(r)ier, as in agier "to be driven", amārier "to be loved". Allen and Greenough call this an "ancient form[…] found chiefly in ...
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