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eo, ire imperfect active question

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eo, ire imperfect active question

Postby Calliope » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:14 pm

Hello,

I have been looking everywhere, but I can't find WHY [exactly] the active imperfect from eo, ire is:
ibam, ibas, ibat...
and not:
iebam, iebas, iebat...

I know eo, ire is irregular - but that's not an answer, either :)

I would greatly appreciate any help on this.
Calliope
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Re: eo, ire imperfect active question

Postby Shenoute » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:15 pm

Hi,

I always found "it's irregular" was a good enough answer :-)
Originally eo had a stem that was *ei-. So the present was *ei-o, *ei-s, *ei-t, etc.
Before a vowel, the "i" was lost, so *ei-o > eo and *ei-unt > eunt.
Before a consonant the "e" was lost, leaving only "i" as the stem. Thus the imperfect i-bam, etc.

Taken from :
Ernout, Morphologie historique du latin, 1914, p.262-263
Bennett, The Latin language, a historical outline of its sounds inflections, and syntax, 1907, p.154
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Re: eo, ire imperfect active question

Postby Calliope » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:58 pm

Thanks for your answer, it cleared up some things.
But I was actually thinking why "eo, ire" is conjugated as a 1st / 2nd conjugation verb in imperfect ("-ba-" instead of "-eba-"), because it seemed to me that the 4th conjugation would have been more logical ("-i" before the infinitive ending).

I guess it's really not that important, but I started thinking about this because at first I learned that "ire" in imperfect is "iebam, iebas..." - from a textbook that had an error regarding this. Afterwards I checked in some 10 other places, and it was always "ibam, ibas...".

I guess the mistake in the textbook got me thinking too much about this :)
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Re: eo, ire imperfect active question

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:10 am

From what I read here and there, it is in fact the 4th conjugation that is irregular while ire has kept the regular/original forms. Originally the imperfect and the future of 4th conjugation verbs was in -b- like the 1st and 2nd conjugation but at some point (and surely because of their common ending -io), they began to "borrow" forms from the -io verbs of the 3rd conjugation.

This explains that, for some verbs, "irregular" forms can sometimes be found :
- audibis instead of audiam (Ennius, Pancratiastes, 382)
- audibam instead of audiebam (Ovidius, Her. XIV, 37)
- see also here for references to "irregular" forms of verbs based on eo.

Disclaimer. This is based mainly on what I read here but I am not sure I understood all of this correctly (and maybe research on Indo-european has modified this conception during the last century), please correct me if this is the case.
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