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Romance verbs refers to the verbs of the Romance languages. In the transition from Latin to the Romance languages, verbs went through many phonetic, 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 changes[edit]

Comparison of conjugations[edit]

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

Latin Vulgar Latin Spanish Portuguese Italian French
Infinitive amāre *amare amar amar amare aimer
Indicative
Present
amō
amās
amat
amāmus
amātis
amant
*amo
*amas
*ama
*amamos
*amates
*aman
amo
amas
ama
amamos
amáis
aman
amo
amas
ama
amamos
amais
amam
amo
ami
ama
amiamo
amate
amano
aime
aimes
aime
aimons
aimez
aiment
Preterite amāvī
amāvistī
amāvit
amāvimus
amāvistis
amāvērunt
*amai
*amasti
*amau
*amammos
*amastes
*amaron
amé
amaste
amó
amamos
amasteis
amaron
amei
amaste
amou
amamos
amastes
amaram
amai
amasti
amò
amammo
amaste
amarono
aimai
aimas
aima
aimâmes
aimâtes
aimèrent1
Imperfect amābam
amābās
amābat
amābāmus
amābātis
amābant
*amabã
*amabas
*amaba
*amabamos
*amabates
*amaban
amaba
amabas
amaba
amábamos
amabais
amaban
amava
amavas
amava
amávamos
amáveis
amavam
amavo
amavi
amava
amavamo
amavate
amavano
aimais
aimais
aimait
aimions
aimiez
aimaient
Pluperfect amāveram
amāveras
amāverat
amāverāmus
amāverātis
amāverant
*amara
*amaras
*amara
*amaramos
*amarates
*amaran
amara
amaras
amara
amáramos
amarais
amaran2
amara
amaras
amara
amáramos
amáreis
amaram


-


-
Future7 amābō
amābis
amābit
amābimus
amābitis
amābunt


-


-


-


-


-
Future Perfect amāverō
amāveris
amāverit
amāverimus
amāveritis
amāverint
*amare
*amares
*amare
*amaremos
*amaretes
*amaren
amare
amares
amare
amáremos
amareis
amaren3,6
amar
amares
amar
amarmos
amardes
amarem3


-


-
Subjunctive
Present
amem
amēs
amet
amēmus
amētis
ament
*amẽ
*ames
*ame
*amemos
*ametes
*amen
ame
ames
ame
amemos
améis
amen
ame
ames
ame
amemos
ameis
amem
ami
ami
ami
amiamo
amiate
amino
aime
aimes
aime
aimions
aimiez
aiment
Perfect amāverim
amāveris
amaverit
amāverimus
amāveritis
amāverint


-


-


-


-


-
Imperfect amārem
amārēs
amāret
amārēmus
amārētis
amārent
*amarẽ
*amares
*amare
*amaremos
*amaretes
*amaren


-
amar
amares
amar
amarmos
amardes
amarem4


-


-
Pluperfect amāvissem
amāvissēs
amāvisset
amāvissēmus
amāvissētis
amāvissent
*amassẽ
*amasses
*amasse
*amassemos
*amassetes
*amassen
amase
amases
amase
amásemos
amáseis
amasen5
amasse
amasses
amasse
amássemos
amásseis
amassem5
amassi
amassi
amasse
amassimo
amaste
amassero5
aimasse
aimasses
aimât
aimassions
aimassiez
aimassent5,6
  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. Its meaning has shifted to that of a future subjunctive in Spanish and Portuguese.
  4. Reanalysed as a personal infinitive. See below.
  5. 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.
  6. Disused.
  7. 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 + HABEO periphrasis, later reanalysed as a simple tense.

Note that the Vulgar Latin reconstructions are believed to have normalized word stress on the penultimate syllable and that the nasal vowels (marked with ~) were probably commonly realized as their non-nasal counterparts. Word-final <e>s probably converged on /ə/.

Copula[edit]

Main article: Romance copula

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 sit down) 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
Latin Italian French Spanish Portuguese
Present sum sto sono sto suis soy estoy sou estou
Perfect/Preterite fui steti fui stetti fus fui estuve fui estive
Imperfect eram stabam ero stavo étais era estaba era estava
Pluperfect fueram steteram - - - fuera estuviera fora estivera
Future1 ero stabo sarò starò serai seré estaré serei estarei
Subjunctive
Present sim stem sia stia sois sea esté seja esteja
Perfect/Preterite2 fuerim steterim - - - fuera estuviera for estiver
Imperfect essem starem - - - - - ser estar
Pluperfect fuissem stetissem fossi stessi fusse fuese estuviese fosse estivesse
Non-finite
Infinitive esse stare essere stare être ser estar ser estar
Supine - statum essuto stato été sido estado sido estado
Gerund esendum standum essendo stando étant siendo estando sendo estando
Indicative
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 - - -
Future1 ero stabo seré estaré - - - -
Subjunctive
Present sim stem sigui, siga estigi, estiga - - saja să fiu
Pluperfect fuissem stetissem fos estigués fussi stassi fiss fusesem
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 except in the first person singular. The two paradigms merged in Vulgar Latin.

Semantic changes[edit]

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 and 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 perfect subjunctive 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]

Periphrases[edit]

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 also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

References[edit]

  • Maurer, Theodoro H. (1968). O infinitivo flexionado português: estudo histórico-descritivo (in Portuguese). São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional. 
  • Osborne, Bruce (1982). "On the origin of the Portuguese inflected infinitive". In Anders Ahlqvist. 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. 

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