[Owl] Latin Morphology

Morphology studies patterns of word formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.

In Latin, every WORD has meaning (Lexemes) and form (word form). Form helps to determine the meaning of the word.


Every word has a STEM and a ROOT or ROOTS.

The STEM, which is contained in every change of form, holds the semantic (dictionary) meaning of the word.

The ROOT is the primitive element of the word form. Stems and roots are often the same. But a Compound word has as many roots as it has composing parts, but has only one stem.


Prefix and ending are the additional elements of the word form.
PREFIX is a syllable placed before a word to modify its meaning (word formation).
An ENDING is the element following the root. It converts a stem into a word and changes (inflects) according to the word's grammatical meaning in a sentence.

"lup"= "wolf" is the stem
"lup" is the root
"-us" is the ending, other endings can be "-o" "-os" ....

"can"= "dog" is the stem
"can" is the root
"-is" is the ending, other endings can be "-i" "-es" ....

"inven=to find" is the stem
"in-" is the prefix. Other prefixs can be "-sub" "-per"
"ven" is the root
"-io" is the ending. Other endings can be "-it" "-imus" ....

"destill=to drip" is the stem
"de-" is the prefix. Other prefixs can be "-in" "-ex"
"still" is the root
"-o" is the ending. Other endings can be "-at" "-amus" ....

LATIN INFLECTION (change of form)
In Latin, word-order is not so significant. Its grammatical relationships are marked by the endings in inflections.
Vir manducabat pullum. Pullum manducabat vir. (A man ate a chicken)
Pullus manducabat virum. Virum manducabat pullus. (A chicken ate a man)

There are 2 kinds of inflections in Latin: declensions for nouns, pronouns, adjectives and conjugations for verbs.
DECLENSIONS determine:
- gender (masculine, feminine, neuter),
- number (singular, plural),
- case (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, vocative)
* The Noun is inflectional in number and case, but inherent in gender. It gives a name, e.g. vir (man), puella (girl), donum (gift). There are 5 declensions for nouns. (paradigms)
* The Adjective (positive, comparative and superlative) is inflectional in number, case and gender. It adds a quality to the noun, e.g. bonus, bona, bonum (good). There are 2 groups: the group of 1st and 2nd declension adjectives, the group of 3rd declension adjectives.
Nouns, numerals, adverbs can be derived from adjectives.
* The Pronoun is inflectional in number, case and gender, except the 1st and 2nd personal pronouns where gender is inherent. The declension of pronouns doesn't follow exactly noun declensions. Pronouns point out without describing, e.g. hic (this), ille (that), ego (I),
- voice (active, passive, deponent),
- mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative, infinitive),
- tense (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, future perfect),
- aspect (incomplete, complete),
- person (1st, 2nd, 3rd),
- number (singular, plural)
* The Verb is mostly inflectional in voice, mood, tense, person and number. It expresses a complete thought, either assertion (amat - he loves), wish (amet - may he love), command (ama - Do love!) or pure action (amare - to love).
- There are 4 conjugations. (paradigms)
Adjectives and nouns can be derived from verbs.

Particles, Prepositions, Adverbs, Conjunctions are not inflectional.
* Particles are mutilated forms of the noun and pronoun carrying a negative or interrogative function.
* Preposition showing local relation.
* Adverb showing circumstances.
* Conjunction showing connection.