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Linguistic Society of America

Hiatus in the Third Plural of Portuguese Verbs

Author(s): Edwin B. Williams
Source: Language, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Sep., 1935), pp. 243-244
Published by: Linguistic Society of America
Stable URL:
Accessed: 02-04-2017 05:24 UTC

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or not remains to be discovered

it is better to suspend judgment
Brave suggests an adoption of the
is no independent evidence for
it on the mere evidence of Juni
majority of the errors in the 'N
the English version by Higgins,
and that brave still figures unde
There is still something to be d
sixteenth century, but the evid
can only be accepted after caref


In most of the Romance languages t of the final gr

early; it may have fallen in Vulgar Latin.' With the fal
the distinction between the 2nd and the 3d sing. pres.
obviously lost.
There seems to have been great need to restore this
Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese all do so, each in a di
In Italian, a new form sei (from *ses)2 was invented fo
son. In Spanish, the 2nd sing. fut. ind. eres (which w
by a new future) was transferred to the present tense.
In Portuguese, the original 2nd sing. es was retained
tinction between the two persons was restored by dr
the 3d sing. As final s does not regularly fall in P
development must be looked upon as induced by the
endings of almost all other verbs in the language, in w
tion between the two persons is made by final s in the
final vowel in the 3d person: the forms es and e corres
ings of these other verbs (deves, deve; partes, parte).


Two vowels of like quality (from the Vulgar Latin sta

larly contract in Portuguese when an intervocalic cons
dolorem > door > dor; lanam > Ida > Iai; videre > ve
1 C. H. Grandgent, Introduction to Vulgar Latin ?285.
2 C. H. Grandgent, From Latin to Italian ?27.1.
1 R. Menendez Pidal, Manual de granmitica hist6rica espafio

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tions to this rule are found in a

3d pl. pres. subj. form. They ar
Latin Portuguese
*credent (for credunt) crgem
*legent (for legunt) l6em
vident v em
dent deem
tenent teem
*venent (for veniunt) veem
Nobiling4 points out the analogical nature of teem, veem, po-em, and
riem, but without further analysis, and does not mention the other four
forms. In teem and veem (3d pl. of vir 'to come') both vowels are nasal,
while in all the other forms listed only the second vowel is nasal. In
crdem, l&em, and vOem, contraction was avoided and both the character-
istic vowel e of the root and the characteristic vowel e of the ending
were preserved separately. In deem an additional root vowel devel-
oped. In teem and veem, where both vowels have been nasal since the
earliest stage of nasalization (because both were followed by an n),
they were kept separate; but less successfully, because the hiatus is
between two e's and not between e and J. In these two forms contrac-
tion did take place in the popular and colloquial language.
Hiatus occurs in two other 3d pl. forms, but between two vowels of
different quality. The regular phonological development of rident was:
rident > riem > rim5; but in the more common riem both assimilation
and contraction were avoided and the characteristic vowels of the root
and of the ending were preserved separately. The regular phonological
development of *ponent (for panunt) was: *ponent > poem > ple, but the
additional sound e (indicated by the spelling poem), characteristic of
the 3d pl. pres. ind., was preserved, although the regular form poe
(which is the same as the 3d sing., from panit) is also very common.



Twaddell examines previous definitions of the phoneme, all of which

he finds 'open to serious if not unanswerable objection' (LANG. MONOGR.
40. Nobiling, Die Nasalvokale im Portugiesischen, Die neueren Sprachen.
11.139, 141.
5 An e in hiatus with tonic i is assimilated to it, e.g., cdvilEs > civiis > civis;
auditis > ouvides > ouviis > ouvis; finis > ftis > fins.

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