Romance verbs

Romance verbs refers to the verbs of the Romance languages. In the transition from Latin to the Romance languages, verbs went through many phonological, syntactic, and semantic changes. Most of the distinctions present in classical Latin continued to be made, but synthetic forms were often replaced with analytic ones. Other verb forms changed meaning, and new forms also appeared.

Morphological changesEdit

Comparison of conjugationsEdit

The following tables present a comparison of the conjugation of the regular verb amare "to love" in Classical Latin, and Vulgar Latin (reconstructed, with stress marked), and five modern Romance languages.

Form Classical Latin Vulgar Latin Spanish Portuguese Italian French Sardinian
(Logudorese)
Infinitive amāre *amáre amar amar amare aimer amare
Indicative Present amō
amās
amat
amāmus
amātis
amant
*ámo
*ámas
*ámat
*amámos
*amátes
*ámant
amo
amas
ama
amamos
amáis
aman
amo
amas
ama
amamos
amais
amam
amo
ami
ama
amiamo
amate
amano
aime
aimes
aime
aimons
aimez
aiment
amo
amas
amat
amamus
amades
amant
Preterite amāvī
amāvistī
amāvit
amāvimus
amāvistis
amāvērunt
*amái
*amásti
*amáut
*amámmos
*amástes
*amáront
amé
amaste
amó
amamos
amasteis
amaron
amei
amaste
amou
amámos
amastes
amaram
amai
amasti
amò
amammo
amaste
amarono
aimai
aimas
aima
aimâmes
aimâtes
aimèrent[a]
amesi
amesti
amesit
amemus
amezis
ameint
Imperfect amābam
amābās
amābat
amābāmus
amābātis
amābant
*amába
*amábas
*amábat
*amábamos
*amábates
*amábant
amaba
amabas
amaba
amábamos
amabais
amaban
amava
amavas
amava
amávamos
amáveis
amavam
amavo
amavi
amava
amavamo
amavate
amavano
aimais
aimais
aimait
aimions
aimiez
aimaient
amaia
amaias
amaiat
amaiamus
amaiades
amaiant
Pluperfect amāveram
amāveras
amāverat
amāverāmus
amāverātis
amāverant
*amára
*amáras
*amárat
*amáramos
*amárates
*amárant
amara
amaras
amara
amáramos
amarais
amaran[b]
amara
amaras
amara
amáramos
amáreis
amaram[c]
Future[d] amābō
amābis
amābit
amābimus
amābitis
amābunt
Future perfect amāverō
amāveris
amāverit
amāverimus
amāveritis
amāverint
*amáre
*amáres
*amáret
*amáremos
*amáretes
*amárent
amare
amares
amare
amáremos
amareis
amaren[e][f]
amar
amares
amar
amarmos
amardes
amarem[e]
Subjunctive Present amem
amēs
amet
amēmus
amētis
ament
*áme
*ámes
*ámet
*amémos
*amétes
*áment
ame
ames
ame
amemos
améis
amen
ame
ames
ame
amemos
ameis
amem
ami
ami
ami
amiamo
amiate
amino
aime
aimes
aime
aimions
aimiez
aiment
ame
ames
amet
amemus
amedes
ament
Perfect amāverim
amāveris
amaverit
amāverimus
amāveritis
amāverint
Imperfect amārem
amārēs
amāret
amārēmus
amārētis
amārent
*amáre
*amáres
*amáret
*amáremos
*amáretes
*amárent
amar
amares
amar
amarmos
amardes
amarem[g]
amere
ameres
ameret
ameremus
amerezes
amerent
Pluperfect amāvissem
amāvissēs
amāvisset
amāvissēmus
amāvissētis
amāvissent
*amásse
*amásses
*amásset
*amássemos
*amássetes
*amássent
amase
amases
amase
amásemos
amáseis
amasen[h]
amasse
amasses
amasse
amássemos
amásseis
amassem[h]
amassi
amassi
amasse
amassimo
amaste
amassero[h]
aimasse
aimasses
aimât
aimassions
aimassiez
aimassent[h][f]
  1. ^ Literary.
  2. ^ Its meaning has mostly shifted to that of an imperfect subjunctive in modern Spanish. It is now usually interchangeable with amase, amases, amase, etc. Nevertheless, a few rare uses as a pluperfect subsist.
  3. ^ Fell into disuse in modern Portuguese, now found only in literary texts. Nowadays largely replaced by the compound forms tinha amado" or havia amado (had loved).
  4. ^ The future indicative tense of the modern languages does not derive from the Latin form (which tended to be confounded with the preterite due to sound changes in Vulgar Latin), but rather from an infinitive + habeō periphrasis, later reanalysed as a simple tense. The conditional tense was formed similarly from the imperfect of habeō.
  5. ^ a b Its meaning has shifted to that of a future subjunctive in Spanish and Portuguese.
  6. ^ a b Disused.
  7. ^ Reanalysed as a personal infinitive. See below.
  8. ^ a b c d Its meaning has shifted to that of an imperfect subjunctive in most Romance languages. But note the normal use, in modern south-eastern Umbrian of amassimo instead of standard Italian amammo to express an indicative past perfect.

Note that the Vulgar Latin reconstructions are believed to have regularized word stress within each tense (except the present). Word-final ⟨e⟩ probably converged on /ə/.

CopulaEdit

While the passive voice became completely periphrastic in Romance, the active voice has been morphologically preserved to a greater or lesser extent. The tables below compare the conjugation of the Latin verbs sum and sto in the active voice with that of the Romance copulae, their descendants. For simplicity, only the first person singular is listed for finite forms. Note that certain forms in romance languages come from the suppletive verb sedeo (to be seated) instead of sum, e.g. subjunctive present: sedea > sia, sea, seja... (medieval Galician-Portuguese, for instance, had double forms in the whole conjugation: sou/sejo, era/sia, fui/sevi, fora/severa, fosse/sevesse...)

Indicative
Form Latin Italian French Spanish Portuguese Logudorese
Present sum sto sono sto suis soy estoy sou estou so isto
Perfect/Preterite fui steti fui stetti fus fui estuve fui estive essesi istesi
Imperfect eram stabam ero stavo étais era estaba era estava essia istaia
Pluperfect fueram steteram fuera estuviera fora estivera aia essidu aia istadu
Future1 ero stabo sarò starò serai seré estaré serei estarei appo a essere appo a istare
Subjunctive
Present sim stem sia stia sois sea esté seja esteja sia iste
Perfect/Preterite2 fuerim steterim fuera estuviera for estiver appe essidu appe istadu
Imperfect essem starem ser estar essere istere
Pluperfect fuissem stetissem fossi stessi fusse fuese estuviese fosse estivesse aere essidu aere istadu
Non-finite
Infinitive esse stare essere stare être ser estar ser estar essere istare
Supine statum - stato été sido estado sido estado essidu istadu
Gerund esendum standum essendo stando étant siendo estando sendo estando essende istande
Indicative
Form Latin Catalan Sicilian Romansh Romanian
Present sum sto sóc estic sugnu staiu sun sunt
Perfect/Preterite fui steti fui estiguí fui stesi fui, fusei
Imperfect eram stabam era estava era stava era eram
Pluperfect fueram steteram fóra estigués fora fusesem
Future1 ero stabo seré estaré
Subjunctive
Present sim stem sigui, siga estigui, estiga saja să fiu
Pluperfect fuissem stetissem fos estigués fussi stassi fiss
Non-finite
Infinitive esse stare ser, ésser estar siri stari esser fire, a fi
Supine statum estat, sigut, sét estat statu statu stà fost
Gerund esendum standum sent, essent estant sennu stannu essend, siond fiind

  1. The future indicative tense does not derive from the Latin form (which tended to be confounded with the preterite due to sound changes in Vulgar Latin), but rather from an infinitive + HABEO periphrasis, later reanalysed as a simple tense.
  2. Formally identical to the future perfect indicative, the two paradigms merged in Vulgar Latin.

Semantic changesEdit

In spite of the remarkable continuity of form, several Latin tenses have changed meaning, especially subjunctives.

  • The supine became a past participle in all Romance languages.
  • The pluperfect indicative became a conditional in Sicilian, and an imperfect subjunctive in Spanish.
  • The pluperfect subjunctive developed into an imperfect subjunctive in all languages except Romansh, where it became a conditional, and Romanian, where it became a pluperfect indicative.
  • The future perfect indicative became a future subjunctive in Old Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician.

The Latin imperfect subjunctive underwent a change in syntactic status, becoming a personal infinitive in Portuguese and Galician.[1] An alternative hypothesis traces the personal infinitive back to the Latin infinitive, not to a conjugated verb form.[2]

PeriphrasesEdit

In many cases, the empty cells in the tables above exist as distinct compound verbs in the modern languages. Thus, the main tense and mood distinctions in classical Latin are still made in most modern Romance languages, though some are now expressed through compound rather than simple verbs. Some examples, from Romanian:

  • Perfect indicative: am fost, ai fost, a fost, am fost, ați fost, au fost;
  • Future indicative: voi fi, vei fi, va fi, vom fi, veți fi, vor fi;
  • Future perfect indicative: voi fi fost, vei fi fost, va fi fost, vom fi fost, veți fi fost, vor fi fost.

New forms also developed, such as the conditional, which in most Romance languages started out as a periphrasis, but later became a simple tense. In Romanian, the conditional is still periphrastic: aș fi, ai fi, ar fi, am fi, ați fi, ar fi.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Williams (1962); Wireback (1994)
  2. ^ Maurer (1968); Osborne (1982)

ReferencesEdit

  • Maurer, Theodoro H. (1968). O infinitivo flexionado português: estudo histórico-descritivo (in Portuguese). São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional.
  • Paola Monachesi, The Verbal Complex in Romance: A Case Study in Grammatical Interfaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Osborne, Bruce (1982). "On the origin of the Portuguese inflected infinitive". In Anders Ahlqvist (ed.). Papers from the Fifth International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Galway, April 6–10 1981. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 243–48. ISBN 978-90-272-3514-5.
  • Williams, Edwin Bucher (1962). From Latin to Portuguese: Historical phonology and morphology of the Portuguese language (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Wireback, Kenneth J. (1994). "The Origin of the Portuguese Inflected Infinitive". Hispania. 77 (3): 544–554. doi:10.2307/344992.