Intensified Verb Variants

The verbal stem –essō (rarely -issō) may be grafted onto existing verbs to denote a certain energy or eagerness of action (though not necessarily repetition.)

  • Capiō (take) —> capessō (snatch)
  • Faciō (do) —> facessō (do eagerly)
  • Petō (seek) —> petissō (look frantically for)

Declension of such verbs is usually third declension for present and infinitive, but fourth declension for perfect and supine.

  • Capessō, capessere, capessīvī, capessītum
  • Petissō, petissere, petissīvī, petissītum

This is somehow related to the rare variant of the future perfect stem -āssō.

  • amāssis (for ameris)
  • although these forms are so rare that there’s no complete declension of any one verb in this form in all extant Latin literature, fragmentary appearances suggest that these too would follow the third (present, infinitive) / fourth (perfect, supine) pattern

The Essential AG: 183.5, 263.2b, 236.2bn

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It Escapes Many

The impersonal latet (from the sans-passive lateō, latēre, latuī, —) takes either an accusative or a dative in prose and poetry. The accusative is the more common form.

  • It escapes me: mē latet.
  • Most people are unaware: plērōs latet.
  • She doesn’t know yet: eī adhuc latet.

Lateō can also be used impersonally, with the same variation in form:

  • Rome lies safe from enemies: Rōma hostibus latet.
  • The escaped songbirds elude their keepers: passērēs vāgī custōdēs latent.

In practice, a direct object isn’t always necessary.

  • The finest things remain unseen: pulcherrima latent.

(And yep, this word is related to λανθάνω)

The Essential AG: 388cn1, 396c, 396cn

The Latin Syllabe

Latin syllables are numbered according to the separate vowels and diphthongs within a word.

a-ci-ē (3), fī-li-us (3), etc.

A consonant is generally contained within the unit of a following vowel, except where there is a double consonant, since paired consonants are always separated, or where a consonant ends a word.

pa-ter (2), in-iū-ri-a (4), mit-tō (2)

(Not that is a semi-consonantal glide pairing, where the i is sounded as the English y.)

This rule becomes trickier with double consonants: what do we do with dixit? (dix-it or di-xit?)

  • A&G prefer dix-it, but acknowledge there is no hard and fast rule. Like the corresponding Greek ξ, this word would have been sounded as dic-sit, so it’s really a matter of preference where you put the double consonant.
  • Luckily, the double consonants, sd and ps, are much rarer in Latin

Note the distinction between a

  • Any syllable founding with a vowel or diphthong is open.
  • Any syllable ending with a consonant is closed.

In compounds, the rules are modified a little to mark the separation of compounded parts.

du-plex (2) instead of dup-lex (2) [it’s not clear to me whether this is a matter of A&G convention, or broader Latin phonological patterns of pronunciation.]

The Essential AG: 7, 7a-b

How to Decline Pater Familiās?

What’s the genitive of pater familiās? Is it pater familiātis? patris familiātis?

Actually, it’s patris familiās.

The second word, familiās is an archaic partitive genitive, so it’s not declined.

  • pater/patris/patrī/patrem/patre/patrēs,etc. familiās.

However, if we’re discussing the father of many families…

  • pater/patris,etc. familiārum

The Essential AG: 43b

Short ‘i’ in Fīō

As I discussed in the last post, certain forms of fīō feature a short i instead of the usual long. I thought there would be a long and complicated phonological history to tell, but it turns out fīō is just following a few phonological rules that we already know.

Long vowels before final m, r and t are shortened.

  • amō, amās, amat
  • amem, amēs, amet
  • amer, amēris, amētur
  • so also fīō, fīs, fit

The second rule is more exclusive to fīō, but follows a consistent pattern: the ī is shortened before -er.

  • fierem, fierēs, fieret; fierī

The Essential AG: 603.3, 606.3a

Compounds of Fīō

Compounds of faciō vary between passives in -fīō and passives in -ficior. The distinction? Check the vowel a (faciō) in the compound. In the rare case that this is retain in the compound, then –fīō is also retained.

benefaciō, benefacere, benefēcī, benefactum (in place of the expected beneficio/ficere/fēcī/fectum, and hence the English ‘benefaction’ but also ‘infection.’)

  • benefīō, benefierī, benefactus sum

Several of the faciō compounds that feature -ficiō/-ficior forms will also feature passive -fīō forms, with separate meanings.

  • cōnfit, it happens
  • dēfit, it lacks
  • īnfit, he beings (to speak)
  • interfit, he perishes
  • superfit, there remains

The Essential AG: 204b-c

Fīō

In place of a passive form [facior], Latin makes use of fīō, fierī, factus sum.

  • Note that both the ī and the ō are long, which distinguishes fīō from similar – verbs, where the i is short
  • Note that A&G get very prescriptive about the proper forms of fīō, and whereas they distinguish between those forms which appear in “good” prose from those which appear in (“bad”?) prose, we will make no such distinction here.

Picture 1

photo credit: Wiktionary

Note a few variations: the long vowel on ī is present in present in most places, but absent in fit, fierem, and fierī.

The Essential AG: 204