Latin/Words and their Flexion

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Words and their Flexion[edit | edit source]

Stem Flexion[edit | edit source]

1. Words are called in Grammar the Parts of Speech.
Words are either Simple, as flagrare flamma, or Compound as con-flagrare, flamm-i-er
Every Word has meaning and form. Form helps to determine meaning.
2. Every Word has a STEM and ROOT.
Word and Stem may be (but seldom are) the same, as tu, thou; aqua, water, while Root differs: flamma, flame: Root, flag-, blaze.
Root and stem are often the same: ag-ere, to act. Such words are called Radical or Primitive: all others are derivative.
A Compound Word has only one Stem, but as many Roots as it has composing parts. Thus the Stem of conflagrare is conflagra, the two Roots, cum and flag-.
3. Every true element in a word following the Root is called a SUFFIX.
Thus in flamma (for flag-ma) –ma is a Suffix; in flagrare, -r, -a and –re and suffixes.
Suffixes may need a connecting Link or Vincular, which is not elemental: reg-I-bus, quer-I-monia. The final Suffix, which converts a Stem into a Word, is called an Ending, as –re in flag-r-a-re. But the Suffix –ma is not called an Ending because flamma is itself a Stem. When it forms flammas, s is an Ending.
4. A syllable placed before a word to modify its meaning, not being a root word, is called a PREFIX.
Thus in te-tend-I and cin-cinnus, te and cin are Prefixes. But particles in composition, as de-, re-, and se- are not Prefixes as having roots of their own.
5. The last letter of a Root, as g in flag is called the Root Character.
The last letter of a stem, as a in flamma, is called the Stem Character. The Stem Character, being of chief importance is also known as the Character of the Word.
6. FLEXION, or Stem Flexion is the method of inflecting a stem, that is, of making such changes in its form to indicate changes in its meaning and uses.
This is usually done by suffixing a Flexional Ending to the Stem: flagra-re; flamma-rum. Such suffixed endings sometimes need a Vincular, as I in regibus; sometimes they cause a mutation of the stem, as flamm-is for flamma-is (which is for flamma-bus). Sometimes change in a letter of the Stem itself is an inflection, such as flamm-a (short a) to flamm-a (long a). Sometimes both Letter-change and Ending are used; ag-, eg-I. Sometimes Prefix, Letter Change and Ending are used: can-, ce-cin-ci.
7. How then is a Stem defined?
A stem is that part of a Word which is virtually contained in every change of form, though the character is often liable to be hidden through the operation of the laws which determine letter change. So the character of flamma is hidden in the form flammis; the character of virgin- is hidden in the form virgo; the character of dirif- is hidden in the form direxi.
8. How then is a Root defined?
A Root is the primitive element in any word; that part which the word has in common with all other kindred words. Thus in agito, the Stem is agrita-, but the root is ag-, which it has in common with ag-o, ag-men, and many other kindred words. The Root-character and Root-vowel are more liable to be in hidden through letter change than even the Stem-character. Thus the Root ag- is contained in the words action, examen, redigo, but obscured in word by some mutation.