Why is augeō in the form of a stative verb?

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Recently, I came across the verb augeō in the course of my studying, and I was struck by a fact which I had not previously noticed: augeō is in the form of a stative verb (in -eō), but it appears not to be stative. First off, the -e- phoneme in augeō is not thematic (it is not part of the root, which is aug- from the IE root *h₂ewg-/*h₂ug-, which itself seems to included, and which has descendants in various languages with, both transitive and intransitive meanings). I believe that Latin augeō, "I cause to grow, I enlarge, I increase" (all transitively) has the same meaning as its cognate, Ancient Greek αὐξάνω (auxánō, "I make grow, I increase"), and the Greek verb does not have the form of a stative [much as in Latin, Ancient Greek statives are in -έω (-éō), e.g. φῐλέω (philéō, "I love, I like")]. If the meaning of augeō was "I grow" intransitively: "I become larger" or "I develop/mature", then I could understand the stative verbal suffix, but that seems to not be the case as I understand the meaning of augeō, which is only transitive. My question is, then, why is augeō in the form of a stative when it appears not to be a stative verb? Is this simply a mistake, as with amō (which should be in the form of a stative)? If anyone has any ideas on this, I shall appreciate reading them, thanks.
 
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Laurentius

Civis Illustris
-eo is a normal ending for second conjugation verbs, it's not exclusive to stative verbs.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Maybe you find this thread, and Hemo's response in particular, interesting:

 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
I wonder if it could also be that getting bigger is by definition something not stative.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I wonder if it could also be that getting bigger is by definition something not stative.
I think it could. Getting bigger sounds like more of a process to me. The stative version would be being big. Now I guess you could argue for looking at it as "being in a state of getting bigger", lol.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
What I wonder is if all second-conjugation verbs were originally stative, with only some of them shifting away from that meaning with time.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Maybe you find this thread, and Hemo's response in particular, interesting...
Thanks, Bitmap. I was hoping to have Rusty's input on this topic, and thanks to you, I have had it.
I wonder if it could also be that getting bigger is by definition something not stative.
I was giving this consideration over the weekend. I think that such a verb, which I choose to call an "automatic" verb (since it describes an action which effects only the actor, and is caused by the very nature of the actor itself), is indeed not stative, since it describes an (albeit "automatic") action. The action of the verb, being "automatic", effects only the actor and does not effect any direct object, and so the verb is intransitive, but the verb does not describe a status or state of being, and so is not stative.
What I wonder is if all second-conjugation verbs were originally stative, with only some of them shifting away from that meaning with time.
I have come to think not, Pax. I did some digging into this, and think that I have the answer, which appears to lie in the historically shifting nature of the Indo-European causative verbal suffix as it descended into the Italic languages, and in the differentiation within Latin between causative verbs produced within Latin and those inherited directly from Proto-Italic. Apparently in Proto-Italic, -eō, in addition to being the suffix of stative verbs, was considered to be the suffix of those causative verbs which had been formed within PIE from primary or root verbs. In other words: in Proto-Italic, -eō was both the stative and the causative verbal suffix. I do not know if -eō was productive in forming causative verbs within Proto-Italic, or if it was only the Proto-Italic rendering of the old PIE causative verbal suffix. Whichever of these was the case, however, as a stative Proto-Italic suffix, -eō was derived from the IE stative suffix *-éh₁yeti, and as a causative Proto-Italic suffix, -eō was derived from the IE causative suffix *-éyeti (or -éye-ti). These two PIE suffixes would have been more easily differentiated by the early Indo-European ear than they are by us today, since the laryngeal sounds, which were, to say the least, very important to early Indo-European speech, would have made utterly clear the difference. In Proto-Italic, the stative and causative verbal suffixes seem to have been undifferentiated. It is easy to see how *-éh₁yeti and *-éyeti could both yield -eō in Proto-Italic, wherein PIE laryngeals were largely dispensed with. Certainly, laryngeals, and indeed breath sounds in general, seem (when in excess of the necessary minimum) to have always sounded harsh, strange or unnecessary to the Italian ear. The problem with eliminating the IE laryngeal sounds in Proto-Italic, though, is that certain productive morphemes became both orthographically and phonetically undifferentiated from other morphemes from which they were differentiated within PIE by the laryngeal sounds, and such seems to have been the case with stative -eō and causative -eō in Ptoto-Italic. By the Classical period, and almost certainly by the time of such "late" Old Latin writers as Plautus or Cato, the two suffixes seem (for reasons that I do not know) to have differentiated once again into stative -eō and causative -iō (perhaps reanalyzed from the PIE -yeti/(é)-yeti or perhaps it had been in Proto-Italic all along alongside -eō), which is how we know them today, and the old causative "-eō" from Proto-Italic was, at that time, no longer productive (again, it may or may not have been productive within Proto-Italic itself). Italic verbs, though, had fallen firmly into inflective patterns (conjugations) in the Proto-Italic period; Old Latin and Classical Latin then inherited those inflective patterns directly, such that both stative Latin verbs, as well as those causative Latin verbs which were not produced within Latin itself but were, rather, inherited as causative verbs from Proto-Italic, were all rendered as second conjugation verbs in -eō. Only those causative verbs produced within Latin itself were of the first conjugation in -iō. Put another way, there was no retroactive altering of those causative verbs inherited into Latin from Proto-Italic to make them conform to the Latin causative suffixation in -iō. Rather, -iō was just used productively within Latin to form causative verbs, mainly from adjectives (note that this was somewhat in opposition to the old IE *-éyeti, which was used to form causative verbs from root verbs). Changing a productive morpheme in order to differentiate it is one thing...changing the inflective pattern of an entire class of verbs retroactively is another matter entirely. So, Latin augeō is directly descended as a causative verb from Proto-Italic, *augeō. The reason for the - suffix in Proto-Italic in this case is from the causative sense, which was yeilded from the PIE verb *h₂owg-éye-ti "to enlarge, to cause to increase", a transitive, causative verb derived from the essentially intransitive primary/root verb *h₂ewg-. "to grow", "to become larger", "to increase", which essentially represents another of what I have called above "automatic" verbs (note that said *h₂owg-éye-ti is not a stative IE verb in *-éh₁yeti). Proto-Italic *augeō , which had identical meanings as IE *h₂owg-éye-ti, was then inherited by Latin in unchanged form, as seems to have been the case with all second conjugation causative Latin verbs. In fact, the stems of all Latin second conjugation verbs do indeed include the "e" phoneme of the old Proto-Italic causative/stative -eō, since they are ultimately derived either from PIE causatives in *-éyeti, or statives in *-éh₁yeti, and since these conjugations were inherited directly into early Latin from Proto-Italic in their unaltered entirety.

I had better stop now. There is smoke coming out of my ears, and a distinct burning smell...
 
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Michael Zwingli

Active Member
A similar one should be torreo.
Excellent catch, and very instructive. It shows that PIE *-éyeti was suffixed to IE adjectives such as PIE *ters- ("dry"), in addition to root verbs in the formation of causative verbs. The descent in this case was: Latin torreō "to burn, to scorch; to roast, to bake, etc." < Proto-Italic *torzeō "to burn, to scorch" < PIE *torséyeti "to cause to dry, to make dry". And, you are correct in saying it is an example of the type. Latin does not have an adjective from *ters-, only torrēns, the participle of torreō, but if it did it would have been combined with either -iō (if a first/second declension adjective) or perhaps -itō (if a third declension adjective) to form the causative verb of the first conjugation if formed within Latin itself. The very fact that torreō is a second conjugation causative verb in -eō shows that it descended into Proto-Italic from PIE, and was definitely not produced within Latin. Note also, that the same could not be said if torreō were, hypothetically, a stative verb with a meaning like "I am scorched/burned/parched", since -eō was the productive suffix for stative verbs in Latin.
 
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Laurentius

Civis Illustris
Excellent catch, and very instructive. It shows that PIE *-éyeti was suffixed to IE adjectives such as PIE *ters- ("dry"), in addition to root verbs in the formation of causative verbs. The descent in this case was: Latin torreō "to burn, to scorch; to roast, to bake, etc." < Proto-Italic *torzeō "to burn, to scorch" < PIE *torséyeti "to cause to dry, to make dry". And, you are correct in saying it is an example of the type. Latin does not have an adjective from *ters-, only torrēns, the participle of torreō, but if it did it would have been combined with either -iō (if a first/second declension adjective) or perhaps -itō (if a third declension adjective) to form the causative verb of the first conjugation if formed within Latin itself. The very fact that torreō is a second conjugation causative verb in -eō shows that it descended into Proto-Italic from PIE, and was definitely not produced within Latin.
I don't understand well the thing about the adjective, isn't torridus like that?

Btw lol your last sentence before I mentioned torreo was literally about something burning.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Btw lol your last sentence before I mentioned torreo was literally about something burning.
Aaaahhh...that one went right by me (nice exploitation, though)!
Yes, you are right about torridus, I missed that as well; my Latin vocabulary could stand improvement, but as I am still a beginner with Latin, I can forgive myself.
So, what I was trying to relate is that if torridus were to be used to produce a causative verb within Latin having the meaning "I cause to become dry/parched", it would not take the form torrideō, but rather since torridus is a 1/2 declension adjective, it would take -iō to become a deadjectival causative verb with the form torridiō having a meaning "I make dry, I cause to become dry". I don't think that torridus would be so used, though, since I believe that only root adjectives, as opposed to produced adjectives, would be used in the production of causatives, but that is a separate matter.
 
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