where does the -iss- stem come from?

john_riemann_soong

Senior Member
English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
What is the etymology of the -iss- stem, in finissons, abolissons, etc.? I assume that the present indicative plural stem, the imparfait stem and the subjunctive stem are all related.

I found recently from etymonline that aboliss- doesn't come directly from abolere, but another verb abolescere, the inchoative form of abolere. This makes me curious, because abolere corresponds directly to abolir, and we don't have a verb like abolissir and such. Did the inchoative get absorbed into abolir and replace some of the stems in abolir, finir, etc. or get done so analogously (for Germanic verbs like choisir)?

I also wonder because when I check the conjugation of abolere in Latin, while Romance sound changes can explain how "abolet" becomes "abolit", or imperfect "amabat" to "aimait", it doesn't explain how the Latin indicative imperfect "abolebat" for abolere becomes "abolissait" (primarily, the arrival of -ss- into the stem). TLFi seems to note this, but it tells me to look up IIA -- is that a page in the print version or something?
 
  • Spiderkat

    Senior Member
    USA
    French, France
    I think you're mixing up too many things all together to try to come up with some answers but you've tortured your brain cells for nothing. This -iss- thing is simply a part of the conjugation system of some verbs which end in -ir and belong to what we call the second group. That's all.
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Yes, but it didn't emerge spontaneously out of thin air. I suspect that it wasn't originally part of the original Latin conjugations (second, forth and third, I think?) from which we derive -ir.

    This is what etymonline says:

    "1459, from M.Fr. aboliss-, prp. stem of abolir "to abolish," from L. abolescere "to die out, decay little by little," inceptive of L. abolere "to retard the growth of,""

    Apparently this aboliss- "prp. stem" of abolir didn't directly come from abolere itself, even though abolir comes from abolere.

    Le Trésor on abolir:

    3. Hist. <img> Ce verbe s'est aligné sur la flex. inchoative ainsi que ,,de nombreux mots empruntés au latin classique qui n'ont été introduits, en partie, qu'à la fin de l'époque du vieux français ou au commencement de celle du français moderne, comme mügir (...), sübir (...), abolir (cl. abolere), etc.`` (SCHWAN-BEHR. 1900, § 372). D'où les formes en -iss, abolissons (cf. hist. II A).

    Interesting part underlined. What exactly do they mean, "cf. hist II A"?
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    Yes, but it didn't emerge spontaneously out of thin air. I suspect that it wasn't originally part of the original Latin conjugations (second, forth and third, I think?) from which we derive -ir.

    This is what etymonline says:

    "1459, from M.Fr. aboliss-, prp. stem of abolir "to abolish," from L. abolescere "to die out, decay little by little," inceptive of L. abolere "to retard the growth of,""

    Apparently this aboliss- "prp. stem" of abolir didn't directly come from abolere itself, even though abolir comes from abolere.

    Le Trésor on abolir:

    3. Hist. <img> Ce verbe s'est aligné sur la flex. inchoative ainsi que ,,de nombreux mots empruntés au latin classique qui n'ont été introduits, en partie, qu'à la fin de l'époque du vieux français ou au commencement de celle du français moderne, comme mügir (...), sübir (...), abolir (cl. abolere), etc.`` (SCHWAN-BEHR. 1900, § 372). D'où les formes en -iss, abolissons (cf. hist. II A).

    Interessting part underlined. What exacly do they mean, "cf. hist II A"?
    Just click on your link for Le Trésor and type in abolir. On that page, you'll find Histoire II A.

    IN addition, I found the following explanation in Wikipedia:

    In most -ir verbs, the suffix -ir becomes the infix -iss- in parts of the conjugation; this infix descends from Latin's inchoative infix -isc-, which is also the root of Italian's -isc- and Romanian's -esc-. From the French infix -iss-, English derives several inchoative verbs ending in -ish, such as finish (from finir), polish (from polir), and nourish (from nourrir).

    I hope this helps. You can probably research the inchoative infix a little more.
     
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