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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


264. A Compound Word is one whose stem is made up of two or more simple stems.

a. A final stem-vowel of the first member of the compound usually disappears before a vowel, and usually takes the form of i before a consonant. Only the second member receives inflection.1

b. Only noun-stems can be thus compounded. A preposition, however, often becomes attached to a verb.

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The second part generally has its usual inflection; but, as this kind of composition is in fact older than inflection, the compounded stem sometimes has an inflection of its own (as, cornicen , -cinis ; lūcifer , -ferī ; iūdex , -dicis ), from stems not occurring in Latin. Especially do compound adjectives in Latin take the form of i-stems: as, animus , exanimis ; nōrma , abnōrmis (see § 73 ). In composition, stems regularly have their uninflected form: as, īgni-spicium , divining by fire. But in o- and ā- stems the final vowel of the stem appears as i- , as in āli-pēs (from āla , stem ālā- ); and i- is so common a termination of compounded stems, that it is often added to stems which do not properly have it: as, flōri-comus , flower-crowned (from flōs , flōr-is , and coma , hair ).