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Pre-Carolingian Gaul

Italy: Ss. vi - viii

Africa and Spain: Ss. vi - viii

Pre-Carolingian British Isles

Carolingian Reform to 1000

Medieval Latin after the Year 1000

Latin at the End of the Imperial Age

(Dag Norberg, Manuel pratique de latin médiéval, Paris, 1980; trans. R.H.Johnson)

Latin in the Middle Ages


At first Latin was a language of farmers and shopkeepers. Its use was limited to Rome and its environs. Despite this modest beginning Latin gradually came to be a language of high civilization and spread throughout the entire western part of the Roman empire. Few languages have known such remarkable success.

More remarkable still is the history of Latin after the fall of the empire. The spoken Latin, which remained astonishingly stable for a long time, did not die; it changed from one generation to another, branching out in several directions, and this evolution gave birth to the Romance languages. Written Latin continued in use. It provided the means of expression in churches as well as schools where it was written as well as spoken. To be sure, medieval Latin was no longer a national tongue and its use was limited to the learned class of society.

But for the same reason Latin knew no borders. With the spread of Christianity, Latin moved to lands of the Celtic, Germanic, Hungarian and western Slavic languages, and became a common tongue for all western civilization, which it marked with an indelible stamp. During the first centuries of the modern era, the intellectual élite still possessed Latin completely. The practical importance of it did not begin to decrease until after the middle of the seventeenth century. Even in our day, Latin preserves its universality. Schools teach it, even overseas; the Roman Church uses it daily as a liturgical language, science and technology, old and new, have recourse to Latin to develop their vocabulary. This is why whoever desires to understand the unity and complexity of our civilization, cannot ignore the study of this language, which shaped thought for so long. No language possesses a parallel history, no language has played a comparable role.

The period of the history of Latin which we will discuss here embraces about a thousand years. The end of this period is clearly marked by the Renaissance. Its beginning is more difficult to determine. Roman education and civilization did not disappear because the Visigoths sacked Rome or because the last Roman emperor was deposed by Odoacer. The Roman administration ceased to function and people began to live, to think and to express themselves in a new manner. The Latin of the Middle Ages is a continuation of the learned and literary Latin of the late empire. The transformation occurred very slowly, and, in order to understand this development, it is necessary to begin with the linguistic situation before the fall of the empire.


In the third century, the Roman empire experienced violent crises. The Persians, Goths, Alemanni, and other barbarian peoples handed the Romans crushing defeats; internally, perpetual revolts threatened to tear the state apart. When, at last, the barbarians were repulsed and the unity of the empire was reestablished, the world had changed profoundly. Rome was no longer the center of political and cultural life. The emperors lived in Milan, Treves, Constantinople, and even other locations. These cities, especially Carthage and other provincial capitals, frequently offered a setting more congenial to intellectual life than the ancient metropolis, and one could already foresee the future linguistic decline.

The senate no longer held political power. The emperor, who was called dominus, was all-powerful, his ministers comprised the consistorium sacrum, the functionaries of the court received the title comites, "companions of the lord, counts." The emperors imposed on society a caste system according to which all were linked to a certain profession and a certain social class. At the same time a new system of honorific titles was instituted. The emperor could be called gloriosissimus, serenissimus, christianissimus, the functionaries were divided into four classes of which the attributes were illustres, spectabiles, clarissimi, and perfectissimi. The emperor was addressed by the words vestra maiestas, vestra gloria, vestra pietas, others were addressed, depending on their rank, vestra excellentia, eminentia, magnificentia, spectabilitas, etc. The titles beatitudo and sanctitas were preserved for ecclesiastical dignitaries. The emperor, speaking of himself, did not say ego but nos, the subject had to call him vos, not tu. This use of the plural spread very quickly among all social ranks influenced by the official language, and soon people came to use a plural of respect even for addressing their own colleagues. Imperial administrative cabinets and, after their example, the ecclesiastical chanceries as well introduced other expressions which passed into medieval Latin. For example, the participles suprascriptus, supradictus, praedictus, praefatus, memoratus, were often used in the place of the anaphoric pronoun is. In most European languages the excessive use of words corresponding to aforesaid, aforementioned, above-named, etc. is still a sign of formalism and pedantry. In the same manner, hic was replaced by praesens and one wrote "praesenti iussione praecipimus", "scriptis praesentibus adhortamur", lator or portitor praesentium (sc. litterarum), praesens portitor, etc. From these phrases emerge the English expressions: "by the present," "these presents," "the present bearer." Especially desirable were ablative absolutes of the type: habita districtione (=cum districtione), excusatione cessante, omissa excusatione, excusatione postposita (=sine excusatione). Latin had no present participle of the verb esse. In its place were used the participles consistens, constitutus, positus, when, for instance, one addressed a letter to a certain functionary Romae constitutus. It also appears that in the official language of the empire the development of the abstract substantives arose such as ministerium and imperium in the place of minister and imperator. In the acts and charters of late antiquity and of the Middle Ages we often find officium, obsequium, coniugium, matrimonium in the sense of functionary and woman. Testimonium survives in the French témoin (witness), potestas in Italian il podestà; cf. Lex Salica 56, 1 "tria testimonia iurare debent," [three witnesses must swear]; Codex Theodosianus III, 11, 1 "ad magnificam potestatem qui principis auribus hoc possit intimare recurrat," [that he may address a high official who would convey this to the emperor]. Christianity and Greek Loan-words

In 313 the emperor Constantine issued his celebrated Edict of Milan, in which he proclaimed freedom of religion, in 392 the emperor Theodosius interdicted pagan cults, and the triumph of Christianity was at last complete. These are two dates of fundamental importance for the west, also from a linguistic point of view. The Christians had led a life apart; despised and often persecuted they had formed a group isolated from the large mass of the population. Their peculiarity had fostered the creation of a new speech which the pagans understood as poorly as their ideology. Eventually, they were the masters of society and they imposed on others their ideas and their language. In the beginning the new religion was practiced in the west by those from the east who spoke Greek, and for nearly two centuries Greek was the language of the church, even at Rome. It follows that a large part of the Christian vocabulary was borrowed from Greek. These include in particular nouns designating the organization and institutions of the church which were Latinized. Ecclesia is a very early borrowing, as shown in the accent ecclésia and not ecclesía (see below). Other words of this type are episcopus, presbyter, diaconus, martyr, evangelium, baptisma, or baptismus.

Through the intermediary of the Bible, certain Hebraisms reached the west, for instance, sabbatum, pascha, satanas, gehenna. Speakers of Latin incorporated these words into their own language so well that they gave them Latin suffixes. They created hybrid formations such as: episcopatus, episcopalis, baptizator, paschalis. It is, nevertheless, very interesting to see that, despite the fact that more or less concrete realities were often expressed by borrowed words, Latin words were preferred for expressing abstract ideas of the Christian faith. The old Latin words credere, fides, gratia, salus, revelatio and many others with corresponding Greek terms were given a Christian content. In order to formulate the new ideology in Latin, one, furthermore, created a number of new words. With Christianity there appeared, for instance, the words salvare, salvator, sanctificare, sanctificatio, trinitas, incarnatio, carnalis, passibilis, transgressor. Pagans accused the Christians of sullying the purity of the language. But St. Augustine replied (Sermones 299.6) concerning salvator:

Nec quaerant grammatici quam sit latinum, sed christiani quam verum. 'Salus' enim latinum nomen est. 'Salvare' et 'salvator' non fuerunt haec latina antequam veniret salvator. Quando ad latinos venit, et haec latina fecit.

Schoolteachers should not ask how Latin a word is, but the Christians should ask how true it is. Salus is, indeed, a Latin word. The words salvare and salvator were not Latin words before the Savior came. When he came to the Latin world, he made these words Latin also."

At times the western Christians could choose among several Latin words when faced with the task of expressing their ideas. Latin possessed a string of verbs with the sense of "praying," obsecrare, orare, petere, precari, rogare, etc. Of these verbs orare was supplanted early by the others in everyday language and was not used except in certain fixed formulas which often had an archaic and solemn tone. This is why it was chosen to designate Christian prayer, and so gave new life to a word on the verge of disappearing from the Latin language. It is very instructive to consider the history of the word gentes. In order to render the expression "the pagans" the Christians hesitated at first between the Greek ethnici and the Latin words nationes and gentes. Eventually the last term was chosen. Already in the classical language the word had a pejorative sense because of the custom of contrasting the two expressions populus Romanus and gentes. The meaning of gentes, therefore, owing to this contrast, came to mean "foreign peoples" and "barbarians," with a nuance of disdain which supported the Christian use of the word and the semantic transformation into "non-initiated," "pagans."

The importance of 'The Book' for the Christian religion has often been emphasized. It is not astounding that Christian Latin was profoundly influenced by the language of the Bible, which everyone heard in church, even the most humble who did not know how to read. The early translations of sacred scripture were very literal, and in this way Hebrew and Greek exercized a certain influence, even in syntax. The two examples which follow illustrate the mechanism and result of this biblical influence.

Christianity and Syntactical Change

The first concerns syntax. In vulgar Latin, we can establish a certain tendency to expand the use of the preposition in. One does not say only in manu tenere, in equo vehi but offendere aliquem in aliqua re, etc. The early translators depended on this tendency when they wrote phrases such as Exodus 17.5 "virgam in qua percussisti flumen accipe in manu tua," [take in your hand the stick with which you struck the river] and Exodus 17.13 "fugavitque Iosua Amalec et populum eius in ore gladii," [Joshua defeated Amalek and his people by the sword.] But they never would have chosen an expression so bold and surprising to Latin ears, if they had not read phrases in the Septuagint where the Greek preposition en had the same instrumental sense. This use of the Greek preposition depends itself on the construction of the original Hebrew. The Hebrew example influenced the Greek version and this prompted a tendency which is found in the Latin language. This tendency was, nevertheless, so weak that St. Augustine felt obliged to explain our example by the words "'in qua percussisti' dixit pro eo quod dicimus 'de qua percussisti'," and he emphasizes that in instead of de belongs to the language of the Bible. Following the example of the Bible, the Fathers often use instrumental in, which became common in the literary Latin of the Christians. The other example is perhaps still more instructive. In their translation of the Hebrew text, the translators of the Septuagint often chose one Greek word to render a certain Hebrew word without bothering about the polysemy [several senses] of the original. The Hebrew masal, "comparison," "proverb," "discourse," "word," is always translated by parabole, although the Greek word only possesses the sense of "comparison." In the Latin versions of the Bible, the translators borrowed very often the Greek word parabola in all the senses of the original Hebrew, even those of "word," and "expression." The use of parabola as "word" from the language of the Bible spread to the everyday language of Christians and when Christianity, after the peace of Constantine, spread to all of society, parabola became an everyday word. Even a verb parabolare appeared, which we meet for the first time in a text of the Merovingian era, the Visio Baronti, ch. 1: "ille nihil homini valuit parabolare sed digito gulam ei monstrabat, " [he was able to say nothing to the man but with his finger pointed to his throat.] Italian parlare, and French parler show that in spoken Latin of late antiquity this verb had already replaced loqui, which left not a trace in the Romance languages.

Accentuation: From Quantity to Stress

The political, social, and intellectual revolutions of the third and fourth centuries released other forces which inevitably changed the language. Classical Latin had been created and cultivated by a Roman élite. In this era of turbulence Rome and Italy gave way to the provinces, and the upper classes of society were reconstituted. One could no longer preserve a refinement such as quantitative rhythm. In classical pronunciation, accent was musical, that is, it was marked essentially by an elevation of the voice, and the element of intensity was very weak. The Romans had no difficulty perceiving the difference between long and short syllables, and the quantity then had a phonological function: ânus, "old woman," was different from anus, "ring," as well as from annus, "year." But in the course of the third century a new pronunciation came into general use. The accent acquired more and more intensity, to become essentially a dynamic accent. The growing intensity of the accent caused utter confusion of the ancient quantitative rhythm. The short vowels stressed by an accent became long and the long unaccented vowels became shortened. Words such as anus disappeared from the spoken language. St. Augustine affirms that his contemporaries no longer understood classical quantity of syllables, and that one said, for instance, câno instead of cano. The grammarian Donatus speaks of the pronunciation dêos instead of deôs. The new rhythm of the language was based on accents, as with the Romance languages today. For versification, the loss of the classical quantity was of capital importance, as we shall see later. As for the phonetic system of the spoken language, the consequences were no less serious.

It is known that in open, accented syllables, short i and u received the same tone as long e and o: in the greatest part of Romania piram became pera, and a little later, gulam became gola, with the same sounds as tela and sola (cf. It. and Sp. pera, tela, gola, sola, Fr. poire, toile, gueule, seule). At the same time, the early vowels e and o which had a more open tone than e and o were diphthongized: ferum changed to fero > fiero, and a little later, novum to novo > nuovo (cf. It. fiero, nuovo, Sp. fiero, nuevo, Old Fr. fier, nuef). The early diphthong ae which tended to become simplified into an open e in the Republican era was treated in the same manner as e: caelum became celu, and was now pronounced cielo (cf. It. and Sp. cielo, Fr. ciel). The monophthongization of oe resulted in closed e; the accented vowels of poena, for example, sounded no differently from the vowel of vena (cf. It. and Sp. pena, vena, Fr. peine, veine).

Orthographic Changes Reflect New Pronunciation

Latin orthography was disturbed by changes in pronunciation. In inscriptions of the Imperial era we find spellings such as veces, menus, colomnas instead of vices, minus, columnas, or egrotus, eris, Advaentu, Numaerio, amenus, Phebus, instead of aegrotus, aeris, Adventu, Numerio, amoenus, Phoebus. Among authors of the High Middle Ages, orthography is often so chaotic that it is with difficulty that one is able to extract the sense of a text and get an idea of the pronunciation underlying the misuse of the letters i, e, u, o, ae, oe, as we shall see later. The unaccented vowels tended to become suppressed and this syncope became progressively more frequent as the stress accent developed. In the Appendix Probi, a guide to orthography from late antiquity, we read rules such as: "masculus non masclus," "vetulus non veclus," "frigida non fricda," "tabula non tabla", "viridis non virdis." From these syncopated forms come the French words male, vieil, froid, table, vert.

Accentuation: End of the "Rule of the Penult"

Once quantitative rhythm had disappeared, the old rule of the penultimate could not continue. Therefore, words borrowed from Greek came to be treated in a different manner in the classical (or archaic) era and later. In the time of Cicero, a Roman could not, while speaking his mother tongue, keep the Greek accent of the words philosophía and akadémeia. It would have been contrary to the character of the Latin language to place an accent on a short penult or not to accent a long penult. So, Cicero said philosóphia and academía. But after the disappearance of vowel quantities which were also produced in the Greek language, the Latin speakers were able to adopt the foreign accentuation philosophía and académia.

In the spoken Latin of the end of antiquity, there were two methods of accenting Greek words. The loan-words which penetrated the everyday language before the great changes of the third century, were completely Latinized: kamára and ekklesía, for example, became cámera and ecclésia. The latest loan-words kept the position of the Greek accent: éremos gave éremus, as seen in the Romance forms, It. éremo and érmo, Sp. yérmo, OF. erm. There are even some words which received a two-fold treatment, such as boútyron and égkauston, which appeared in Italy in the Latinized forms buty´rum and encaústum (whence It. butírro and incóstro > inchióstro), in Gaul with Greek accent bútyrum and éncaustum (whence OF burre > beurre and enque > encre). In the literary Latin of the end of antiquity and of the Middle Ages, the situation is completely confused. One often follows the classical system learned chiefly through the study of ancient poets and one writes, for example, in metrical verses, sophia, but the recent type philosophia, academia, abyssus, problema is more common. Likewise, we find in rhythmic poetry Antióchia, Alexándria, Theódorus, orthódoxus, tyrannus, spéleum, sarcophágus, Christophórus, according to the Greek words Antiócheia, etc. Only if the model were polysyllabic and oxytone, the Latin speakers could not keep the accent of the original. In this case they heard a secondary accent on the antepenult and in this way words of this type were able to become proparoxytones in Latin: thesaurós, baptismós, Agathá came to be accented at times thésaurus, báptismus, Ágatha in Latin poems.

One must note, moreover, certain accent shifts which occurred in words of Latin origin. In general, the position of the accent did not change; still some exceptions must be noted. The accent of a verb with a prepositional prefix passes from the prefix to the stem, of which the original vowel is often restored. So continet was replaced by conténet in the spoken language (It. and Sp. contiéne, Fr. contiént). Texts exhibit many examples of this recomposition: depremit, displacet, incadit, etc., and versification often confirms the accent on the penult even when the vowel does not change: indúit, invócat, retúlit, etc. The fact that in this case the penult had been short in the classical era does not prevent the accent shift because the quantitative rhythm had disappeared and the rule of the penult had ceased to function.

Another group of words in which accent changed position was where the penult consisted of a short vowel followed by a muta cum liquida. Classical accent was of the type íntegrum. In the spoken language, the penultimate syllable was closed early and so was accented: intég-rum; cf. It. intéro and intiéro, Sp. entéro, Fr. entier. In the Middle Ages schoolmasters and poets poorly understood this evolution and the rule of the ancient grammarians. They pronounced intégrum but they knew that the word had to be scanned, according to Donatus, integrum, and in their efforts to restore classical prosody they often changed arâtrum, theâtrum, candelâbrum, lavâcrum, dolâbra, salûbris, delûbrum, words in which the penult is long by nature, into áratrum, théatrum, candélabrum, lávacrum, dólabra, sálubris, délubrum.

We note, finally, that in proparoxytones such as filíolum, mulíerem, paríetem, the accent passes from i (or from e) to the following vowel, which is closed and lengthened, cf. It. figliuólo, Sp. hijuélo, Fr. filleul, Old Italian mogliera, Sp. mujer, OF moillier, It. parete, Sp. pared, Fr. paroi. As early as late Latin, we often find a long vowel in poetry in the words viôla, liliôla, filiôlus, muliêrem, pariêtem, etc.

The spoken Latin of the late empire underwent many other phonetic changes. We can only mention here those which have been especially important for medieval Latin.

From I to Y

The vowels e and i in hiatus become closed resulting in the semi-consonant y: vinea > vinya > It. vigna, Sp. viña, Fr. vigne. The author of the Appendix Probi cautions his pupils against writing vinia, cavia, lancia, calcius, baltius, forms which are met thousands of times in Merovingian Latin. Similarly o and u in hiatus change to a semi-consonant; cf. the App. Probi: vacua non vaqua, vacui non vaqui. Occasionally these vowels simply disappeared. Instead of quietus, Neapolis, duodecim, they said quetus, Napolis, dodeci, a pronunciation reflected in the synizesis of medieval poetry. Prothetic Vowels

Before the initial clusters sp, sc, st, a prothetic vowel develops: ispiritus or espiritus, escola, estella, espectare (often written expectare and confused with the compound verb ex-spectare); conversely, there occurs Spania for (H)ispania.

Bi-labials: B > V and V > B

At the beginning of the imperial era, intervocalic b and the semi-consonant u become a bilabial constrictive (b); this gives rise to confusions of the letters b and u attested, for example, in inscriptions: devere, iuvente < debere, iubente, etc., and in the Appendix Probi where we find, among other instances, baculus non vaclus, tabes non tavis, plebes non plevis, alveus non albeus. Later, the bilabial u became labiodental (v); the ancient articulation was not kept except after g and q (lingua, aqua, qualis). At the same time the Germans still possessed a bilabial in words such as werra, wardon. When the Romans borrowed these words, they tried to produce the initial sound by gu: guerra, guardare.


When we read in the App. Probi: coquus non cocus, equs non ecus, rivus non rius, we see examples which show that the sound of u between vowels or after a consonant tended to be combined with the following vowel of the same sound. In this manner, quomodo is reduced to comodo and como as early as the inscriptions of Pompeii [A.D.79]. The aspiration h, on its way out of use from the time before Latin writing, served in the later language only as an orthographic sign, giving rise to much confusion: on the one hand, ac, ortus, ordeum, aduc, etc. for hac, hortus, hordeum, adhuc, on the other, habundare, perhennis, choibere, hanelare (cf. Fr. haleiner) for abundare, perennis, cohibere, anhelare.

It is not possible to trace in detail the development of the sounds y, dy, gy ( = i, di, de, gi, ge before a vowel), which produced results such as: iam > It. gia, Sp. ya; diurnum > It. giorno, Fr. jour; radium > It. raggio, Sp. rayo, Fr. rai, corrigia > It. correggia, Sp. correa, Fr. courroie. This development is attested in the imperial era, in inscriptions and texts, by spellings such as: iosum or zosum = deorsum; baptidiare = baptizare; Gianuaria = Ianuaria; azutoribus, oze, zabolus, zeta = adiutoribus, hodie, diabolus, diaeta. The sounds ty and ky underwent a similar assibilation. In the execration tablets of the second and third centuries we read Vincentzus, Vincentzo ( < Vincentius ), ampitzatru ( < ampitiatru < amphitheatrum ); ci before a vowel produced a similar result evident from the confusions: terciae = tertiae, defenicionis = definitionis, etc., which appeared in inscriptions from the second century. In texts of the Middle Ages, the spellings gracia, spacium, contemplacio, racionabilis, are countless, while the erroneous converse, provintia, offitium, etc., is much less common.

Ge, gi and ce, ci are palatalized and assibilated in the greater part of the Latin speaking world. In this position the fate of g was the same as that of i; cf. generum > It. genero, Sp. yerno, Fr. gendre and iacere > It. giacere, Sp. yacer, Fr. gesir, and the spellings Troga = Troia, agebat = aiebat, etc. The first examples of the palatization of ce, ci trace back to the fifth century, when there appeared a form such as intcitamento. We will discuss the phenomenon at greater length.

Certain intervocalic groups were simplified. So -nct- became -nt-: instead of sanctus and cunctus one said, and sometimes wrote santus and cuntus (cf. It. and Sp. santo, while Fr. saint suggests the preservation of the palatal). Much earlier, -ns- was reduced to -s- (observed throughout the Roman world). From the archaic era, cesor attested for censor and the author of the App. Probi instructs: ansa non asa, mensa non mesa, but he also calls attention to false analogies: formosus non formunsus, occasio non occansio. In the group -mn-, the two nasals became assimilated to -nn-, at times to -mm-. We find, therefore, forms such as alunnus or sollemmo in the inscriptions and, in the Middle Ages, in the texts (cf. It. danno < damnum, Fr. somme < somnum). The Romance languages also suggest a tendancy toward assimilation in the groups -pt- and -ps- (producing the spellings settembris, scriserunt, etc.), and in the groups -ct- and -cs- (cf. ottobres, autor, vissi, visit < vixit). Ks was also reduced to s in various positions within the word, as shown by the spellings dester, iusta, conius < dexter, iuxta, coniux and the advice of the App. Probi: meretrix non meretris, but on the other hand: miles non milex.

As for final consonants, m had a very weak articulation from the beginning of Latin writing. In the imperial era the tendancy to suppress this sound became general. The App. Probi tells us: numquam non numqua, idem non ide, olim non oli. In the proclitic words haud, sed, ad, apud, quod, quid, the final consonant lost its vocalization before a mute consonant early: we find in inscriptions, for example, at quem, aput forum, quot scripsi. This gave rise to a great uncertainty regarding the spelling of these words. The interchange between apud-aput, quid-quit, led to the forms capud, reliquid, among others. But in this regard, we must also consider the disappearance of final t in the spoken language, attested already at Pompeii: quisquis ama valia, peria qui nosci amare = quisquis amat valeat, pereat qui non scit amare.


Neuter Nouns > Masculine

In the area of morphology and syntax, spoken Latin knew changes just as remarkable. Sources allow us to confirm the beginning of the decline of the neuter, which was generally replaced by the masculine (vinum>vinus, hoc vinum>hic vinum), but, by the same token, the plural in a collective sense was transformed at times to a feminine (folium>folia, It. foglia, Sp. hoja, Fr. feuille).

4th Declension Nouns > 2nd; 5th > 1st

Nouns of the Fourth Declension pass to the Second, those of the Fifth to the First (fructus, genitive fructi, as murus, muri; glacies > glacia). Based on the model niger, nigra, nigrum, one began to deline acer, acra, acrum; pauper, paupera, pauperum. When one could no longer distinguish between os, "mouth," and os, "bone," the latter noun was replaced by ossum, -i, a form accepted by St. Augustine. Within the Third Declension, imparisyllabics of the type bos, bovis, lac, lactis give way to a leveling tendancy and acquire a new nominative bovis and lacte.

Decline of Case System

The case system begins to recede. The vocative is in full retreat, replaced by the nominative, and prepositional phrases--chiefly with de, ad, per, cum--are substituted more and more for genitive, dative, and ablative. After prepositions, the use of the accusative becomes generalized; we find even in the inscriptions of Pompeii a pulvinar, cum discentes suos. The development of final sounds results in a fusion of accusative and ablative: portam > porta, murum > muro, canem > cane. The hesitation of the language between these two cases appears in certain constructions. One no longer distinguishes neatly between ubi and quo, in provincia and in provinciam, in civitatibus and in civitates; the accusative begins to be used as a direct object of the verbs uti, egere, maledicere, nocere, persuadere and others; it replaces the genitive of price (vendere aliquid decem solidos, etc.); an accusative absolute appears in place of the ablative.

As for adjectives and adverbs, we note the confusion of the positive, comparative, and superlative. Among late authors we often find quam plures = complures, tam clarissimus = tam clarus, omnibus maximus after the model maior omnibus, bonus quisque = optimus quisque, citius, saepius, superius for cito, saepe, supra. The comparative is expressed more frequently with the use of magis and plus, the adverb by phrases such as firma mente.

Pronouns tend toward normalization. We often read illum for illud, illae for illius, illo and illae for illi. In the spoken language the relatives qui and quem supplant the feminine forms quae and quam and the paradigm is also simplified by the fusion of the forms quod, quid and quae.

The system of demonstratives was too complicated to last. Is and hic, which survived only in a few traces in the Romance languages, are replaced by iste, ille, ipse, and these are often confused. Ipse may also be found in the sense of idem. The monosyllables tot and quot give way before tanti and quanti. The adverbs hinc, inde, unde and ibi are often used instead of ab, ex, de + demonstrative.

A pleonastic reflexive pronoun is often added to a verb: ambulare sibi, vadere sibi or vadere se, fugere sibi, etc. (cf. It. andarsi, fuggirsi, Sp. irse, huirse, Fr. s'en aller, s'enfuir).

Note also the use of toti for omnes, of quique for omnes and the confusion of the relatives quisquis, quicumque and of the indefinites quivis, quisque.

Nearly all the synthetic forms of the Latin future disappeared without a trace in the Romance languages. The beginning of their loss was owed to the growing use of periphrastic expressions shown in the literature of the imperial age. Debere, velle, habere with an infinitive often express not only obligation or volition, but even the purely temporal future; cf. St. Augustine, In evang. Joh. 4.12 tempestas illa tollere habet totam paleam, "this storm will carry off all the chaff." In final and consecutive propositions, debere, velle, posse, valere, often serve to reinforce the notion of the subjunctive; praecipimus ut hoc facere debeatis became a common phrase in place of ut hoc faciatis.

Deponent forms were eliminated from the spoken language early; one finds often in the texts horto, uto, vesco, etc. On the other hand, perfects like mortuus est, secutus est resisted and even served as model for innovations such as interitus est, ventus est, etc., which are found at times in the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, it appears that it was not until after the fall of the empire that the synthetic passive laudatus est = laudatur or the perfect habeo laudatum = laudavi gained ground.

Though the supines fall into disuse, the use of the infinitive is greatly expanded. It becomes common after facere in a phrase such as facere aliquem venire, "have someone come"; Fr. faire venir quelqu'un. In the early versions of the Bible we find for the first time an infinitive preceded by the preposition ad: carnem dare ad manducare, a construction destined for great success in the spoken language of the later Middle Ages. The construction appears to result from conflation of the expressions dare aliquid manducare and dare aliquid ad manducandum.

The ablative of the gerundive often replaces the present participle to express concomitance: the phrase redierunt dicendo psalmos, used in the Peregrinatio Aetheriae [sc.Itinerarium Egeriae, is equivalent to redierunt dicentes psalmos, and heralds the Romance usage, "one returns (while) singing ( < cantando ) psalms."

The late language of everyday tended to reinforce the sense of adverbs with the use of a preposition: in simul, in ante, ab ante, a foris, de foris, ab intus, de intus. Several of these new adverbs also served as prepositions. One also notes the formation of prepositions such as de ab (>It. da) and de ex (Fr. des).

A characteristic trait of late Latin is the confusion of conjunctions. So, nam at times takes on an adversative force, autem is used in the place of nam, seu and vel in place of et. Because of this weakening of sense, many conjunctions disappeared from the everyday language, among others sed, autem, at, verum, nam, enim. But in Latin literature, they can always be found, and often in an unexpected way: nec non etiam et takes the place of a simple et, ideoque, iamque, tam . . . quamque, and other expressions bearing pleonastic -que (-que had disappeared from the spoken language in the imperial era).

The conjunction quod tends to be introduced everywhere. It is found in phrases such as dico quod (or eo quod, quia, quoniam), timeo quod, volo quod (or quatenus, qualiter, quo), ante quod, post quod, pro quod.

There are still several linguistic changes which deserve mention, but as we will have occasion to discuss them later, we will stop here. We add only certain general facts concerning lexicon. Monosyllables were often replaced by words of two or more syllables. Eo, eunt, which became monosyllables, and is, it were discarded from the conjugation of the present, which in Late Latin vado, vadis, vadit, imus, itis, vadunt, and we see this in the texts. The diminutives and iterative verbs were more expressive than simple words. One preferred agnellus to agnus, cantare to canere. Compound verbs were often reinforced by the addition of a new prefix: adpertinere, superrelevare, etc.

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