Subjunctive: Evolution from Classical Latin to Spanish

by María Constanza Pérez


See the Conjugation of the Latin Verbs.
 

II. Classical Latin and Subjunctive

Classical Latin had four classes of verbs which were characterized by the theme vowel of the infinitive ending: -âre, -êre, -ere, -îre. (See the Latin conjugations.)

In Latin, there existed confusion between the -êre and the -ere verbs (short and long e); another confusion existed between -ere verbs whose first person singular ended in -io and verbs of the -îre conjugation (see the Latin -io verbs). These factors contributed to considerable vacilation between conjugations.

Many verbs, therefore, came into Romance with a thematic vowel different from that of the original Latin verb.

Of the four conjugations -âre verbs have proven the most stable and abundant in Spanish.
 
 
A. Present Subjunctive in Classical Latin

The thematic vowels were reversed. The First conjugation (with thematic vowel -â-) used -ê- and the rest -â-, e.g. amem vs. legam.
 
 
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
amem
ames
amet
amer
ameris
ametur
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
amemus
ametis
ament
amemur
amemini
amentur
 
 
B. Imperfect Subjunctive in Classical Latin

It was formed with the morpheme -re- plus the personal endings:
 
 
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
amarem
amares
amaret
amarer
amareris
amaretur
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
amaremus
amaretis
amarent
amaremur
amaremini
amarentur

In Classical Latin, there were two types of Perfect Subjunctives: Present Perfect and Past Perfect or Pluperfect Subjunctive.

Note: The Grammars usually refers to them simply as Perfect and Pluperfect Subjunctive.
 
 
C. Present Perfect Subjunctive in Classical Latin

It was identical with the Future Perfect Indicative except in the first person singular:
 
 
Present Perfect Subjunctive
Future Perfect Indicative
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
amaverim
amaveris
amaverit
amatus, a, um sim
amatus, a, um sis
amatus, a, um sit
amavero
amaveris
amaverit
amatus, a, um ero
amatus, a, um eris
amatus, a, um erit
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
amaverimus
amaveritis
amaverint
amati, ae, a simus
amati, ae, a sitis
amati, ae, a sint
amaverimus
amaveritis
amaverint
amati, ae, a erimus
amati, ae, a eritis
amati, ae, a erunt
 
 
D. Past Perfect Subjunctive (Pluperfect Subj.) in Classical Latin

Its morpheme was -iss|e-:
 
 
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
amavissem
amavisses
amavisset
amatus, a, um essem
amatus, a, um esses
amatus, a, um esset
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
amavissemus
amavissetis
amavissent
amati, ae, a essemus
amati, ae, a essetis
amati, ae, a essent


Next Topic
Previous Topic

Subjunctive : Evolution from ... Index Page

History of the Spanish Language Main Page
Spanish Language Main Page

Modern Romance Languages Main Page
Orbis Latinus Main Page

This page is part of Orbis Latinus
© Zdravko Batzarov