Saturday, November 11, 2017

The roots VERT- & VERS-, Part 2: Derived verbs (1)

[This entry is an excerpt from, "Diversión & diversion: the roots VERT- & VERS-," Chapter 7 of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Latin verbs derived from vĕrtĕre by prefixation

Introduction

Although English has not borrowed the Latin verb vĕrtĕre, it has indeed borrowed a number of Latin verbs derived from it by means of prefixes. Many of these Latin verbs are found in English and Spanish, resulting in a number of cognates. In Table 157 below, we can see these Latin verbs, with their original literal meanings, as well as the Spanish and English reflexes of those verbs:

Prefix
Latin
Original literal meaning
English
Spanish
Same meaning?
ab
āvĕrtĕre
to turn away
avert
N/A
ad
advĕrtĕre
to turn to/towards
advert
advertir
No
con
convĕrtĕre
to turn with/together
convert
convertir
Yes
dis
disvĕrtĕre
to turn in opposite direction
divert
divertir
Partially
in
invĕrtĕre
to turn inwards
invert
invertir
Partially
ob
obvĕrtĕre
to turn to/towards
obvert
N/A
per
pervĕrtĕre
to turn over, overturn
pervert
pervertir
Partially
re
revĕrtĕre
to turn back
revert
revertir
Partially
sub
subvĕrtĕre
to turn under
subvert
subvertir
Yes
trans
transvĕrtĕre
to turn across
N/A
Table 156: Latin verbs derived from Lat. vĕrtĕre by prefixes


English got these verbs primarily through French, which borrowed them from Latin, and it seems very likely that Spanish did too. Notice that unlike the un-prefixed patrimonial verter, which is a second conjugation verb, these are all third conjugation ‑ir verbs in Spanish. This is very likely due to these verbs having come into Spanish through French, where they are attested much earlier than in Spanish and where they were already ‑ir verbs. If these verbs had come into Spanish from written Latin, they should have become second conjugation ‑er verbs, following the spelling. For instance, Old French convertir is attested in the 10th century, Spanish convertir in the 13th century, and English convert in the 14th century. French divertir is first attested in the 14th century, English divert in the early 15th century, and Spanish divertir in the late 16th century.

These verbs typically have nouns associated with them to refer to the name of the action of the verb, such as Eng. conversion ~ Sp. conversión and Eng. inversion ~ Sp. inversión. These nouns are formed from the passive participle stem of the Latin verb, vers‑, with the nominal ending ‑iōn‑.[1] The ‑iōn‑ ending in Latin always attached itself to the passive participle root, which typically ended in t, thus being the source of many English nouns in ‑­tion, pronounced (unstressed) [ʃən], such as notion [ˈnoʊ̯.ʃən] and affection [ə.ˈfɛk.ʃən]. The Spanish equivalent is ‑ción , with a t to c spelling change. It is pronounced [ˈθi̯on] in most of Spain and [ˈsi̯on] elsewhere. Sometimes, however, the stem of the past participle did not end in t but rather in s (cf. Part I, §8.4.3.1.3), as is the case with the verb vĕrtĕre, whose past participle is versus (stem: vers‑). The resulting derived nouns for such verbs did not end in …tiōn-, but rather in …siōn‑ in Latin and thus they end in ‑sion in English, also always pronounced [ʃən], and in ‑sión in Spanish (always pronounced [si̯on]).

The past participle of the English and Spanish versions of all of these Latin verbs have been fully regularized. Thus, the past participle of English convert is converted, formed by adding the regular English suffix ‑ed, and the past participle of Spanish convertir is convertido, formed by adding the regular Spanish suffix ‑ido, and not converso, which is what a descendant of Lat. conversus would have looked like. Actually, as we shall see in the next section, the word converso is indeed a word in Spanish, but it is a noun meaning ‘convert’. It comes from the Latin noun conversus, zero-derived (converted) from the identical passive participle of the verb convĕrtĕre.


[1] Actually, the ending is ‑ in the nominative case and ‑iōnem in the accusative case, the latter always being the source of the Spanish and English words, by the ‘removal’ of the ‑em inflectional ending

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