Latin - Grammar

Grammar

Latin is a synthetic, fusional language, in the terminology of linguistic typology. In more traditional terminology, it is an inflected language, although the typologists are apt to say "inflecting". Thus words include an objective semantic element, and also markers specifying the grammatical use of the word. This fusion of root meaning and markers produces very compact sentence elements. For example, amo, "I love," is produced from a semantic element, ama-, "love," to which -o, a first person singular marker, is suffixed. English requires two words to express the same meaning.

The grammatical function can be changed by changing the markers: the word is "inflected" to express different grammatical functions. The semantic element does not change. Inflection uses affixing and infixing. Affixing is prefixing and suffixing. Latin inflections are never prefixed. For example, amabit, "he or she will love", is formed from the same stem, ama-, to which a future tense marker, -bi-, is infixed, and a third person singular marker, -t, is suffixed. There is an inherent ambiguity: -t may denote more than one grammatical category, in this case either masculine, feminine, or neuter gender. A major task in understanding Latin phrases and clauses is to clarify such ambiguities by an analysis of context. All or most languages contain ambiguities of one sort or another.

The inflections express gender, number, and case in adjectives, nouns, and pronouns—a process called declension. Markers are also attached to fixed stems of verbs, to denote person, number, tense, voice, mood, and aspect—a process called conjugation. Some words are uninflected, and do not undergo either process.

Read more about this topic:  Latin

Famous quotes containing the word grammar:

    The syntactic component of a grammar must specify, for each sentence, a deep structure that determines its semantic interpretation and a surface structure that determines its phonetic interpretation.
    Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)

    I demand that my books be judged with utmost severity, by knowledgeable people who know the rules of grammar and of logic, and who will seek beneath the footsteps of my commas the lice of my thought in the head of my style.
    Louis Aragon (1897–1982)

    Proverbs, words, and grammar inflections convey the public sense with more purity and precision, than the wisest individual.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)