Suffixes -tor, -trix, -trum

By Diaphanus, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Jun 28, 2008.

  1. Diaphanus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I have been wondering how to form new words using these suffixes. At first, it seemed to me that it was just a simple matter of just taking the fourth principal part, chopping off the ending, and adding the suffixes. Although that seems to be the case for verbs with fourth principal parts ending in -tus/-tum, that doesn't seem to work so well with verbs with other kinds of endings.

    After a lot of study and research, as well as a lot of trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that there are basically six different ways to form agent words using these suffixes. I have explanations for these ways as well as specific examples. Comments, questions, corrections, criticisms, et cetera, are welcome.

    Notice that while the t in -tor may change to s just like the supine stem ending -t- changes to -s-, the t in -trix and the t in -trum do not change.

    The letters in caps (e.g. VID) are verb themes that are either roots or forms conceived as roots.

    Words with * indicate that, as far as I know, such words don't already exist. However, they are included for the sake of demonstration.

    supine stem ends in -t
    • supine stem amat- (ama- + -t-),
    • masculine amator (ama- + -tor-),
    • feminine amatrix (ama- + -tric-),
    • neuter *amatrum (ama- + -tro-)
    supine stem ends in -s (d or t of theme changed to s, ss became s)
    • supine stem vis- (VID + -t- to vis-s- to vis-),
    • masculine visor (VID + -tor- to vis-sor- to visor-),
    • feminine *vistrix (VID + -tric- to vis-tric-),
    • neuter *vistrum (VID + -tro- to vis-tro-)
    supine stem ends in -s (c or g of theme disappeared before s, c or g appears as c before t)
    • supine stem muls- (MULG + -s- to mul-s-),
    • masculine *mulsor (MULG + -sor- to mul-sor-),
    • feminine *mulctrix (MULG + -tric- to mulc-tric-),
    • neuter mulctrum (MULG + -tro- to mulc-tro-)
    supine stem ends in -s (s added directly to theme)
    • supine stem expuls- (ex-PUL + -s- to expul-s-),
    • masculine expulsor (ex-PUL + -sor- to expul-sor-),
    • feminine expultrix (ex-PUL + -tric- to expul-tric-),
    • neuter *expultrum (ex-PUL + -tro- to expul-tro-)
    supine stem ends in -ss (d or t or theme changed to s, ss unchanged)
    • supine stem possess- (pos-SED + -t- to posses-s-),
    • masculine possessor (pos-SED + -tor- to posses-sor-),
    • feminine possestrix (pos-SED + -tric- to posses-tric-),
    • neuter *possestrum (pos-SED + -tro- to posses-tro-)
    supine stem ends in -x (for -cs)
    • supine stem crucifix- (cruci-FIG + -s- to fic-s- to fix-),
    • masculine crucifixor (cruci-FIG + -s- to fic-s- to fixor-),
    • feminine *crucifictrix (cruci-FIG + -tric- to fic-tric-),
    • neuter *crucifictrum (cruci-FIG + -tro- to fic-tro-)
  2. Interficio Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, USA
  3. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    No, Diaphanus has a point. This has to do with the huge array of subtle sound rules that exist in nearly all languages, including English. In effect, you are adding -tor and -trix to the 4th principal part, but you have to alter the stem or the ending at times to accommodate the sound of the verb in question to avoid what Spanish calls cacofonia, or a clashing of sounds.

    Trying to systematically learn these is like trying to systematically learn all the quintessential organic chemistry reactions: it won't work. You have to notice them and come to understand how they work, and unlike many other linguistic elements (for instance why fero goes to tuli in the perfect tense!), there is rhyme and reason there.

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