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

(This answer is based on Weiss's Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin and Clackson and Horrocks's Blackwell History of the Latin Language.) The first thing to know about these two ablative ...
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13 votes
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'Fomites'? From 'fomes'?

The etymological derivation of the noun fōmes, fōmitis from the base of the verb foveo is too difficult for me to answer. So in this post, I'll focus on something else in your post that I think I ...
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12 votes

Why does singular "mons" become plural "montes"?

Short answer: Latin does not allow the sequence ts (except in compound words), so an expected form like monts was remade into mons. Of course, this only leads to the further question of why this ...
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10 votes
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Choosing -ter or -iter for adverbs from third declension adjectives

I have run a quick analysis using data from latinlexicon.org. I included adverbs ending in -ter (about 820). Most end in -iter (the rule). A good number end in -nter (which as you know are formed with ...
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10 votes
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-eris, -oris, -uris?

The usual explanation given in historical grammars, e.g. those of Weiss, Sihler, and Buck, is that the -er- stems result from regular sound change, while the -or- stems result from analogical ...
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10 votes
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Plural dative and ablative of Greek neuters ending in -ma

Greek Declension As a first note, I think it would be helpful to understand the morphology of these third-declension neuter nouns in -ma as they appear in Greek: Singular ...
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9 votes

Declining caput, capitis (3rd decl., neuter) as a starting student

There are two ways to approach this question that I would like to distinguish: Historical. In the historical version the question would be: "Where does the form caput come from and why is it ...
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9 votes

'Fomites'? From 'fomes'?

I believe you and the OED are talking about two different things. As you can see from the very same passage, the genitive is fomitis. This is par for the course for 3rd declension nouns. You find the ...
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8 votes
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How can you ascertain whether an apparently r-stem noun is actually s-stem?

Look at older forms. (See the end of this post for a tl;dr.) For example, consider the third-declension noun lār, laris ("home spirit"). In Classical Latin this seems to be a standard R-stem noun: ...
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8 votes
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Why does singular "mons" become plural "montes"?

A synchronic analysis: deletion of coronals before s within a syllable In "Latin Rhotacism for Real," Kyle Gorman describes the deletion of /t/ in the nominative form of words like mons, montis as ...
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6 votes
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What is the general ablaut rule that explains examples like φρήν, πρόφρων, πρόφρονα?

φρήν, stem φρεν-, reflects a Proto-Indo-European root (straightforwardly *bʰren-, though *gʷʰren- has also been posited) in the e-grade, -φρων, stem -φρον-, has the same root in the o-grade. In both ...
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6 votes
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Genitives like "axeos"

For what it's worth, I think this was simply a mistake. Greek nouns ending in -is are generally third-declension i-stems, like póli-s. In Attic, these nouns tend to show an -i- in some forms and an -...
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5 votes
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What consonants can a noun stem end in?

The definition of "I-stems" is relevant Although the question said to ignore i-stems, I think it's actually necessary to discuss them, because many Latin nouns of the third declension have a ...
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5 votes

What consonants can a noun stem end in?

Here are some examples of different stem-final consonants: B: plēbs, plēb- C: dux, duc- D: lapis, lapid- G: rēx, rēg- H1: Iphis, Iph- L: sōl, sōl- M: hiems, hiem- N: nōmen, nōmin- P: apis, ap- R: ōs, ...
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How did vāti-s become vātēs?

It's not just vatēs - see Weiss pp 243-244 for details. He mentions 30 i-stem hysterokinetic nouns that have -ēs ending in nom.sg. (instead of the expected -is), for example: aedēs, caedēs, cautēs , ...
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4 votes

Why does singular "mons" become plural "montes"?

The loss of the final consonant of –t stems before the –s suffix of the nominative singular is not specific to Latin, but is general Indo-European. It is thus not correct to try to explain it in terms ...
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4 votes

How can you ascertain whether an apparently r-stem noun is actually s-stem?

The general rule is that in Latin etymological s becomes r between two vowels. Thus nom. honos, but gen. honoris (but also nom. honor by analogy to the other cases). Words like honestus confirm that ...
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4 votes
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Plura or pluria?

The usual form used in Classical Latin seems to have been plura. I don't know of any "good reason" to choose plura aside from that. The discrepancy between plura and plurium was noted by past authors....
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3 votes
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Declining caput, capitis (3rd decl., neuter) as a starting student

Contrary to what one may expect, the nominative form is not the starting point for declension - the stem is. A large number of 3d declension nominals is characterised by having two distinct stems - a ...
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3 votes

How are "Arsaces" and "Gotarzes" declined, and why?

Here are all the references that I have found so far that have relevant information about the declension of nouns ending in -es that come from Greek. These references don't specifically mention ...
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2 votes
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Adjectives that decline as consonant stems in the neuter plural nominative/accusative

The clearest examples of third-declension adjectives that have attested consonant-stem forms in the neuter nominative/accusative plural seem to be the following: the class of comparative-declined ...
2 votes

Choosing -ter or -iter for adverbs from third declension adjectives

It looks as though there are three stages: First: inherited adverbs ending in -ter, like praeter, subter, propter (IE -ter-). Second: the ending -ter is abstracted from these and attached to the ...
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1 vote

Constantis vs. constantes et similia

I don't know enough to give a detailed answer, so this is just some basic information to start with. Speaking generally, -īs is an "i-stem" accusative plural ending, so it's expected to go along with ...
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