how did French acquire ser- and ir-?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by john_riemann_soong, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    I know that these stems for the future and conditional tenses are found in Spanish, and also about the whole inf + habere ad origin of the Romance future/conditional tenses. But I don't understand how French came to acquire ser and ir? French merged esse and ester into être, whereas Spanish merged esse and (e)sedere into ser (and kept estar separate). I don't get how French managed to pick up ser yet keep esse (to merge into ester) at the same time.

    I also note that ir is the equivalent of "aller" in Spanish, but I wonder how French picked the ir- stem up?
     
  2. CARNESECCHI Senior Member

    Auvergne
    French / France
    Hello,
    Sorry, I don't see what you mean. Can you give words with ser- and ir- stems to understand what you have in mind ?

    And "être" (Old French "estre") comes from "esse" ("essere" in low Latin) and "stare".
    And "ester" is Old French, not Latin.
    Hope it helps!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2010
  3. dnldnl Senior Member

    Russian, Ukrainian
    Very difficult to understand what you mean indeed. Spanish has two verbs for “to be”: estar and ser. French has only être, but interestingly, être has a ser root when you conjugate it in certain tenses.

    Are you asking, why French decided that some verbs have to end with -ir?
     
  4. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    No, the stems for aller and etre, separately. (I was trying to say it in the least words possible).

    e.g. serais, irais


    Ser and ir, as I recall, developed as a result of sound and morphological changes in proto-Spanish. How did French acquire these stems?

    I realised this, I just was too lazy to be so specific as to its origins, since I assumed people that would know about esse and ester would know what I meant. ;)

    dnldnl: I know that! I'm not asking about the -ir ending (suffix), I'm asking about the -ir stem. ;) A stem forms the root of the word, does it not? ;)

    I'm wondering because I wondered when French borrowed ser- and ir- (note that the hyphen is in front of the word ;)) - was it before it split from the Iberian dialect of Romance, or afterwards?

    Did the Gallic people originally use ir- and ser- first? Hence, they used the habere ad construction to form naturally sera, ira, etc. but when they changed to use different stems, they kept ira, sera and friends because the old future and the conditional became idiomatic?
     
  5. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Il me paraît que le radical ser-(sar-) existe aussi en italien...
     
  6. themaster

    themaster Senior Member

    Toulouse
    FRANCE/French
    I guess we took this "ser" form for the verb être for pronounciations purposes because if we kept être i have no idea what we could have gotten *laughs* except weird things.

    For example with the futur simple tense:

    j'êtrai, tu êtras, il êtra .... that's pretty weird don't you agree?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2010
  7. mplsray Senior Member

    The Dictionnaire étymologique et historique de la langue française by Emmanuèle Baumgartner and Philippe Ménard says of aller that it comes from Latin ambulare, "to walk," while some other forms come from ire and vadere. Ire, according to another source, means "to go."

    According to the same dictionary, être comes from Vulgar Latin *essere (the asterix indicating a reconstructed form, not one definitely known to exit) from Latin esse. It seems to me likely that ser- came from essere.
     
  8. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I believe ser- came from sedere, as John said.
     
  9. mplsray Senior Member


    After having done a Google search just now for

    Latin sedere

    I learned that the author of an article in Modern Language Notes, January 1899, seemed to think that some uses of ser- came from *essere and some came from sedere.
     
  10. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Hmm, but my question is how and when, not where. ;)

    Did the speakers of proto-French (proto-Oil?) always have ir and ser, only that it dropped out later? Or did they borrow it from somewhere else?
     
  11. CARNESECCHI Senior Member

    Auvergne
    French / France
    Hello,
    For "aller", I think that the question is not how did we get the "ir-" stem, because "ir-" is obviously the Latin origin (http://www.informalmusic.com/latinsoc/verbs/ire.html). I would rather wonder why the hell did we take the other forms "all-, va-"

    Here are some information from http://atilf.atilf.fr:
    Étymol. ET HIST. - Paradigme composite, dér. de 3 verbes lat. : ambulare propr. « se promener », ire « aller, marcher », vadere « id. ». Le lat. ambulare dont le sens était devenu « aller » dès l'époque class. dans la lang. milit., puis fam., s'est réduit, moins vraisemblablement en passant par une forme *ambitare à *aner puis à aler par dissimilation dans l'expr. « nos nos en *anons », devenue « nos nos en alons » (voir [SIZE=-2]DAUZAT[/SIZE] 1968), plus prob. par l'intermédiaire d'une forme expr. de commandement militaire où ambulate « en avant, marche! » se serait contracté en a al(l)ate (voir [SIZE=-2]BL.-W.[/SIZE]5 et EWFS2). La forme alare est plusieurs fois attestée dans les Gloses de Reichenau au [SIZE=-2]VIII[/SIZE]e s. dans le sens d'aller. La lang. a empr. certaines formes à ire (fut. et condit.) et à vadere (1re, 2e, 3e et 6e pers. de l'ind. prés.), réalisant ainsi une conjug. à rad. variable (EWFS2; FEW t. 1, s.v. ambulare, t. 4, s.v. ire, t. 14, s.v. vadere).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2010
  12. CARNESECCHI Senior Member

    Auvergne
    French / France
    Hello,
    For "être" some information (same origin)
    Étymol. et Hist. A. 1. Du lat. class. esse (lat. pop. *essere d'où l'inf. a. fr. estre) dont les formes conjuguées lat., avec des altérations dès le b. lat. et des réfections anal., ont donné plus ou moins régulièrement les formes fr., le part. passé et peut-être l'imp. et le futur mis à part (cf. [SIZE=-2]E. R. THURNEYSEN[/SIZE], Das Verbum être und die fr. Conjugation, Halle, Karras, 1882). Il est admis que le part. passé esté, de même prob. que le part. prés. estant, a été empr. au verbe d'a. fr. ester issu du lat. stare « se tenir debout, se tenir, rester »; une même orig. pour l'imp. de type a fr. esteie qui a supplanté les formes de type iere ou ere a été envisagée (cf. [SIZE=-2]DIEZ[/SIZE], Romanische Grammatik, 2e éd., t. 2, p. 211) puis rejetée pour des raisons phonét. en admettant une réfection sur l'inf. est(re) (cf. [SIZE=-2]DIEZ[/SIZE], op. cit., 3e éd., t. 2, p. 229; [SIZE=-2]MEYER-LÜBKE[/SIZE], Grammaire historique des langues romanes, t. 2, § 262); on peut cependant supposer que esteie représente stabam, mais avec une réfection pré-littér. sur le verbe avoir. Quant au rad. du futur ser(ai) qui a supplanté les formes en ier et er issues du lat., on l'explique par une constr. syntagmatique à partir de essere de type (es)sere + áio (parallèlement à essere + áio > estrai en a. fr.; pour les détails, v. notamment [SIZE=-2]FOUCHÉ [/SIZE]Morphol., 415-423).

    Hope it helps
     
  13. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    So ir was the dominant verb at first? Perhaps it competed with aller like Spanish's estar and ser?

    For ser, was it that people continued using ser + avoir while the merger of ester and esse was undergoing?
     

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