Re: [tied] Latin perfect tense

From: petegray
Message: 7406
Date: 2001-05-26

> >...steterai
> 3 plural... hmm. ... (is the -e in -e:re from *-e, *-i, *-ei, *-oi, *-ai

(a) The presence of an -i in 1 2 3 singular at least allows us to suggest,
in the absence of other evidence, that it was -i, from the same source
(presumably the present deictic thing we get on "primary" endings).

(b) Latin inherits a final short -e from PIE in the vocative of thematic
declension, and in a few words like -que and quinque, but I can't think of
anywhere in the verbal system. Does that make an original *-e:re unlikely?

(c) For *-oi, Avestan shows a form which I can't easily reproduce by email,
something like a:Nha:ire = "sit". Some authors say this is from PIE
*h1e-h1s-eh1-roi. I don't know enough about Avestan to tell if this is a
necessary origin or merely a possible one.

(d) The steterai form shouldn't worry us. The 1 sing had -ai, the 2 sing
*-tai (attested as -is-tei), and we can imagine how easily these endings
would spread either in speech or as a spelling error. The lack of
attestation of the 2 sing *-tai is probably due to the nature of the

(e) There is an early form DEDRO (= dederunt) but this is probably simply
omission of final -nt, not a form in -o. (It's in CIL 379).

(f) I note that Szemerenyi says "The Latin 3rd pl ... goes back to -e:ro
... and together with Toch B. -a:re/are, Hittite -ir and OInd -ur proves an
IE -r/-ro for the 3 plural." I don't know about the Tocharian, but the
other two seem to me to prove nothing of the sort -- at most, an IE *-r.
And since Latin added -i to 1 2 3 sing, why not also to 3 pl?

Aren't unanswerable questions fun? At least we can try to clarify the
evidence and the possibilities.