A TEI Project

Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


168. The tenses of the Present System are made from the Present Stem as follows:— 1

a. In the Present Indicative the personal endings are added directly to the present stem. Thus,—present stem arā-: arā-s, arā-mus, arā-tis.

b. In the Imperfect Indicative the suffix -bam, -bās, etc. (originally a complete verb) is added to the present stem: as, arā-bam, arā-bās, arā-bāmus.

Note— The form †bam was apparently an aorist of the Indo-European root BHU (cf. fuī, futūrus, φύω, English be, been) and meant I was. This was added to a complete word, originally a case of a verbal noun, as in I was a-seeing; hence vidē-bam. The form probably began in the Second or Third Conjugation and was extended to the others. The a was at first long, but was shortened in certain forms (§ 167).

c. In the Future Indicative of the First and Second Conjugations a similar suffix, -bō, -bis, etc., is added to the present stem: as, arā-bō, arā-bis, monē-bō.

Note— The form † was probably a present tense of the root BHU, with a future meaning, and was affixed to a noun-form as described in b. N.

d. In the Future Indicative of the Third and Fourth Conjugations the terminations -am, -ēs, etc. (as, teg-am, teg-ēs, audi-am, audi-ēs ) are really subjunctive endings used in a future sense (see e). The vowel was originally long throughout. For shortening, see § 167.

e. In the Present Subjunctive the personal endings were added to a form of the present stem ending in ē- or ā-, which was shortened in certain forms (§ 167). Thus, ame-m, amē-s, tegā-mus, tega-nt.

Note 1—The vowel ē (seen in the First Conjugation: as, am-ë-s) is an inherited subjunctive mood-sign. It appears to be the thematic vowel e (§ 174 . 1) lengthened. The ā of the other conjugations (mone-ā-s, reg-ā-s, audi-ā-s) is of uncertain origin.

Note 2— In a few irregular verbs a Present Subjunctive in -im , -īs , etc. occurs: as, sim , sīs , sīmus, velim, velīs, etc. This is an old optative, ī being a form of the IndoEuropean optative mood-sign yē- (cf. siem , siēs , siet , § 170 . b. N.). The vowel has been shortened in the first and third persons singular and the third person plural.

f. In the Imperfect Subjunctive the suffix -rem, -rēs, etc. is added to the present stem: as, amā-rem, amā-rēs, monē-rem, tege-rem, audī-rem.

Note— The stem element -rē - is of uncertain origin and is not found outside of Italic. The r is doubtless the aorist sign s (cf. es-se-m, es-sē-s) changed to r between two vowels (§ 15 . 4). The ē is probably the subjunctive mood-sign (see e).

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The conjugation of a verb consists of separate formations from a root, gradually grouped together, systematized, and supplemented by new formations made on old lines to supply deficiencies. Some of the forms were inherited from the parent speech; others were developed in the course of the history of the Italic dialects or of the Latin language itself.