The Perfect Stem

The circumflected accents are used to mark the vowels' length.


The perfect stem is derived from the root in several ways:

1. With the characteristic v- after a long vowel. The most verbs of the I and IV conjugations and some verbs of the II and III conjugations form their perfect stem with it:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
amo, 1 to love
audio, 4 to hear
deleo, 2 to destroy
cupio, 3 to long for
amâ-
audî-
delê-
cupi-
amâv-
audîv-
delêv-
cupîv-

2. With the characteristic u- after consonants only. This characteristic replaces the thematic vowel of the verbs of the I, II and IV conjugations. A great part of the II conjugations verbs form their perfect stem in this way:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
veto, 1 to forbid
moneo, 2 to remind
alo, 3 to nourish
salio, 4 to jump
veta-
mone-
al-
sali-
vetu-
monu-
alu-
salu-

3. With the characteristic s- after consonants only. It is used to form the perfect stem of many verbs of the III conjugations and of some verbs of the II and IV conjugations; the verbs of the I conjugation never form their perfect stem in this way. The characteristic s- often brings for the changing of the preceding consonant:
 
Verb
Present stem
Sound changes
Perfect stem
maneo, 3 to remain 
repo, 3 to crawl
manê-
rep-
no changes
mans-
reps-
duco, 3 to lead
rego, 3 to rule
traho, 3 to drag
duc-
reg-
trah-
c+s > x
g+s > x
h+s > x
dux-
rex-
trax-
scribo, 3 to write scrib-
b+s > ps
scrips-
rideo, 2 to laugh
mitto, 3 to send
cedo, 3 to go
sentio, 4 to feel
ride-
mitt-
ced-
senti-
d+s > s
tt+s >s
d+s > ss
t+s >s
ris-
miss-
cess-
sens-

4. By reduplication of the first root consonant followed by the vowel e:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
do, 1 to give
cado, 3 to fall
cano, 3 to sing
da-
cad-
can-
ded-
cecid-
cecin-

5. By reduplication of the first root syllable:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
spondeo, 2 to promise
mordeo, 2 to byte
curro, 3 to run
sponde-
morde-
curr-
spopond-
momord-
cucurr-

6. By the lengthening of the root vowel and cutting away of the thematic vowel (if the verb belongs to the I, II or IV conjugation):
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
lavo, 1 to wash
video, 2 to see
lego, 3 to read
venio, 4 to come
lava-
vide-
leg-
veni-
lav-
vid-
leg-
vên-

7. By the ablaut and lengthening of the root vowel:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
ago, 3 to conduct
capio, 3 to seize
sido, 3 to sit down
ag-
capi-
sid-
êg-
cêp-
sêd-

8. By extracting an infixal n- from the present stem:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
vinco, 3 to vanquish vinc- vîc-

Note that some verbs have incorporated the infixal n- of the present stem in the perfect stem also:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
stringo, 3 to strain
pango, 3 to fix
string-
pang-
strinx-
panx-

9. By applying several of the above transformations at once:
 
Verb
Present stem
Transformation
Perfect stem
tango, 3 to touch
 

pango, 3 to fix
 
 

sino, 3 to allow

tang-
 

pang-
 
 

sin-

reduplication and extraction of the infixal n-

---,,---
extraction of the infixal n- and ablaut with lengthening

extraction of the infixal n- and adding the characteristic v-

tetig-
 

pepig-
pêg-
 

siv-

10. Few verbs have identical present and perfect stems:
 
Verb
Present stem
Perfect stem
bibo, 3 to drink
defendo, 3 to defend
statuo, 3 to set up
bib-
defend-
statu-
bib-
defend-
statu-


Verb - General Notions
Descriptive Latin Grammar

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