Adjectival Suffixes: From Latin to Romance
Adjectival Suffixes: From Latin to Romance
- Franz RainerFranz RainerInstitute for Romance Languages, Vienna University of Economics and Business
All languages seem to have nouns and verbs, while the dimension of the class of adjectives varies considerably cross-linguistically. In some languages, verbs or, to a lesser extent, nouns take over the functions that adjectives fulfill in Indo-European languages. Like other such languages, Latin and the Romance languages have a rich category of adjectives, with a well-developed inventory of patterns of word formation that can be used to enrich it. There are about 100 patterns in Romance standard languages. The semantic categories expressed by adjectival derivation in Latin have remained remarkably stable in Romance, despite important changes at the level of single patterns. To some extent, this stability is certainly due to the profound process of relatinization that especially the Romance standard languages have undergone over the last 1,000 years; however, we may assume that it also reflects the cognitive importance of the semantic categories involved. Losses were mainly due to phonological attrition (Latin unstressed suffixes were generally doomed) and to the fact that many derived adjectives became nouns via ellipsis, thereby often reducing the stock of adjectives. At the same time, new adjectival patterns arose as a consequence of language contact and through semantic change, processes of noun–adjective conversion, and the transformation of evaluative suffixes into ethnic suffixes. Overall, the inventory of adjectival patterns of word formation is richer in present-day Romance languages than it was in Latin.
- Historical Linguistics
1. The State of the Art
Only three overviews of the evolution of adjectival patterns of word formation from Latin to Romance have ever been published: the ones contained in the classical historical grammars of Diez (1871) and Meyer-Lübke (1894) (see “Diez, Meyer-Lübke, and Co. The Founding of Romance Linguistics” in this encyclopedia), as well as Lüdtke’s (2005, pp. 212–236) more recent treatment, which concentrates on semantic issues. For single Romance languages and dialects, one can only point to Löwe’s (1911) somewhat dated treatment on Romanian, Gawełko’s (1977) monograph on the history of French adjectival suffixes, as well as Pharies’ (2002) dictionary of Spanish suffixes. The other works listed under (a) in the References have an essentially synchronic perspective. In the light of this fragmentary research landscape, these general works had to be used as an additional data mine. For reasons of space, I could not provide the precise source each time an example has been taken from one of these manuals. Explicit references had to be limited to a selection of studies—to be found under (b) in the References—that go beyond the general wisdom contained in the manuals.
2. Classifying Derived Adjectives
There are many legitimate ways a priori to classify adjectival patterns of word formation, provided the classification proves adequate for some specific purpose. The present article will adopt a classification primarily based on parts of speech that has turned out to be useful in studies on Latin (Leumann, 1973/1944, p. 159) and Romance (e.g., Gawełko, 1977, pp. 14–15; Rainer, 1999), distinguishing denominal, deverbal, and deadjectival patterns. Although a number of suffixes use bases of more than one part of speech, overall the semantic categories expressed by these three types of patterns have a clearly distinct profile.
Denominal adjectives are often further divided into two main classes, called qualifying (or qualitative) and relational, but the viability of this dichotomy is all but self-evident (Fradin, 2017; Rainer, 2013).1 Objections have also been raised against the further subdivision of relational adjectives into classifying and thematic ones, that is, adjectives (supposedly) expressing an argument of the verb underlying the head of the noun phrase (López Arca & Rodríguez Espiñeira, 2015; Santos Río, 2000). A subdivision orthogonal to the one between qualifying and relational adjectives is that between adjectives derived from common versus proper nouns. The latter indeed stand apart, featuring a special inventory of patterns and particular conditions of use, as well as a peculiar semantics. They may further be subdivided into adjectives derived from names of places (“detoponymic” adjectives, more commonly called ethnic or gentilic) and names of persons (“deanthroponymic” adjectives). Among qualifying adjectives derived from common nouns, five semantic categories have been found to be particularly well represented in Latin and Romance, namely possession (e.g., It. barbato ‘bearded’), material (e.g., Lat. aureus ‘golden’), resemblance (e.g., Fr. soyeux ‘silky’), propensity (e.g., Pt. mulherengo ‘womanizing’), and causation (e.g., Sp. horroroso ‘horrifying’).
Deverbal adjectives may be classified along several semantic dimensions (Fábregas, 2016; Rainer, 1999). They can be episodic or nonepisodic. Episodic adjectives refer to a specific event that has really taken place (e.g., Sp. el equipo ganador ‘the winning team’). Nonepisodic adjectives call for a more fine-grained classification. Habitual adjectives imply that the event alluded to has been carried out in the past sufficiently often to warrant the attribution: Sp. olvidadizo ‘forgetful’, for example, can only be said of a person who has already often forgotten things in the past. In the case of dispositional adjectives, by contrast, the event only needs to be likely to take place: Fr. route glissante ‘slippery road’, for example, can be said appropriately even if nobody has yet slipped on it. Another relevant semantic dimension concerns voice, which can be active, passive, or middle. Different shades of modality—for example, possible versus necessary, or actual versus desirable versus obligatory—may be combined with the other dimensions. As will be seen, among others, in the case of the suffix -bilis, a single pattern can express a range of such meanings, depending on the base and further contextual factors. A last category deserving mention is adjectives that are sometimes called instrumental, which may be paraphrased by ‘that serves to V’, as in Sp. acto conmemorativo ‘commemorative event’.
Deadjectival adjectives express approximation (e.g., Fr. blanchâtre ‘whitish’), intensification (e.g., Sp. carísimo ‘very expensive’), or evaluation (endearment, pejoration, and the like). These functions are better treated together with other evaluative patterns and will therefore not be taken into account systematically in this article (see “Evaluative Morphology in the Romance Languages” in this encyclopedia).
3. Denominal Patterns
3.1. Deonymic Adjectives
The deonymic patterns naturally fall into two large groups, those derived from names of persons (Section 3.1.1) and those derived from names of places (Section 3.1.2). The most comprehensive treatment of Romance “Deonomastik” can be found in Schweickard (1992).
3.1.1. Deanthroponymic Adjectives
In Latin, adjectives were already commonly derived from the names of well-known persons or mythological figures by means of a range of suffixes, such as -alis, -anus and -ianus, -ēus, -ĕus, -ĭcus, -ĭus, and -īnus: Minervalis, Sullanus, Ciceronianus, Augustēus, Herculĕus, Homerĭcus, Saturnĭus, Plautīnus, and so on. This category of derivatives completely disappeared in the transition from Latin to Romance and was only introduced again with the wave of Latinisms that has sloshed through the Romance standard languages from the late Middle Ages onward. Even so, for centuries derivatives remained confined to direct loans from Antiquity, such as Fr. cicéronien and Sp. horaciano. Early adjectives referring to contemporaries were similarly taken over from neo-Latin, where the patterns enjoyed great popularity: for example, Lat. Copernicanus, Lutheranus > It. copernicano, luterano. The first truly autochthonous—and mostly jocular—neologisms begin to appear in the 16th century (e.g., Fr. marotique ← Clément Marot), but they only became frequent from the 19th century onward. Such adjectives continue to be confined essentially to the written language, and even there they have a limited distribution (Laugesen, 1974, p. 259): So one will say la pensée pascalienne ‘Pascal’s thinking’ but hardly le chien pascalien ‘Pascal’s dog’. The factors governing affix selection can be quite complex (Rainer, 2002). A publication specifically dedicated to this corner of the Spanish vocabulary is Solivan de Acosta (2014).
3.1.2. Detoponymic Adjectives (Gentilics)
The Latin system of gentilics was partly different from what we find in present-day Romance. Names of peoples—called “ethnics” by classicists—were generally simple nouns, from which relational adjectives—called “ktetics” by classicists—could be derived: Galli ‘(the) Gauls’ → Gallicus ‘of the Gauls’, etc. In a second step, this ktetic could also be referred to the name of the land inhabited by the people: Gallicus ‘of Gaul [Latin: Gallia]’, etc. Among nonclassicists, confusingly, it is this second, detoponymic use which is normally called “ethnic.” The Latin ethnic/ktetic distinction has not been restored in Romance languages, at least not at a systematic level: as Molinier (2018, p. 176) remarked, French speakers are hesitant about the distinction between celte and celtique. In modern languages, the ancient ktetics are sometimes used as stilted synonyms of the ordinary detoponymic adjectives: la chancelière germanique ‘the German chancelor’, instead of la chancelière allemande, etc. In Romance, the detoponymic adjective can normally also be used as a noun referring to the inhabitants of the land, and this noun can again be converted into a relational adjective referring to the inhabitants (Roché, 2005, 2008): France → français ‘French’/Français ‘inhabitant of France’ → français ‘of the inhabitants of France’ (e.g., vice français ‘vice of the French’). The detoponymic adjective can also be converted into a noun denoting the language of the people, and this noun can then again be turned into a relational adjective referring to the language: le français ‘the French language’ → français ‘of the French language’ (e.g., le vocalisme français ‘the French vowel system’).2
Detoponymic adjectives in Latin were derived mainly with the suffixes -anus, -inus and -ensis/-iensis: Romanus, Prænestinus, Tarraconensis, Atheniensis, etc. These suffixes survived into Romance in at least a couple of words, as phonology shows (cf. Lat. -ense > It. -ese, OFr. -eis > ModFr. -ois, -ais, Sp. -és, etc.; Lat. -anu > Fr. -ain, -ien (after /j/), etc.). However, such adjectives were scarcely used in the Middle Ages: like in present-day dialects (cf., e.g., De Leidi, 1984, p. 17, on Siller, 1989, p. 118, on Gardenese) and colloquial language, prepositional phrases consisting of de and the toponym were preferred. Nebrija could still say in 1492: “De los lugares no tan principales no tenemos assi enel uso estos nombres gentiles.” Many such adjectives, even those that ring quite familiar today, were not used before the 18th and 19th century. As shown in García Gallarín (2003), beginning with the Renaissance, many ancient Roman adjectives have been revived (e.g., cesaraugustano ‘from Saragossa’), boosting local pride in the Roman origin of the town. The suffix -ense, of course, is also attributable to relatinization.
Today, detoponymic adjectives count by the thousands in the major Romance standard languages, though hardly more than about 100 are known to all speakers. Linguists and aficionados alike have tried to take stock in a myriad of articles, monographs, and specialized dictionaries, which cannot be enumerated here (cf. Crocco Galèas, 1991, for Italian; Eggert, 2005, for French; Rull, 2004, for Catalan; Morera, 2015, for Spanish). From a linguistic point of view, three main questions have aroused the interest of researchers (cf. also Kordic Riquelme & Chávez Fajardo, 2017). First, it has long been observed that the number of suffixes involved has risen sharply in comparison with Latin (Rohlfs, 1968; for Spanish, Rainer, 1999, counts about 60, and Rio-Torto, 2016, pp. 257–259 about 30 for Portuguese), a fact that is largely attributable to two causes.3 On the one hand, detoponymic adjectives are often taken over from foreign languages, which is why we find more loan suffixes in this corner of word formation than anywhere else (e.g., It. ischioto, Occ. mentonasc, Sp. marbellí).4 And on the other hand, the stock of detoponymic suffixes has been constantly engrossed by newcomers from mock names that people bestow on the inhabitants of neighboring villages or towns, generally formed with pejorative suffixes (e.g., -otto in It. rovigotto, -oto in Pt. Minho → minhoto, etc.). Another question that has attracted interest early on (Sachs, 1934) is the geographical distribution of the suffixes. In France, -ais dominates in the West, -ois in the East, and -ien in the Center and in the North. In the Spanish-speaking world, each country has its special mix of suffixes, and within the countries different provinces show different preferences. García Sánchez (2005) attributed this clustering effect to the role of the adjective of provincial capitals as leader word for analogical coining (Madrid → madrileño, therefore Móstoles → mostoleño, etc.). A third interesting question concerns the conditions of suffix selection. Apart from geographical factors, phonology (dissimilation, number of syllables, etc.) has long been found to be decisive, most compellingly in the article by Plénat (2008), who reanalyzed Eggert’s data.
3.2. Denominal Adjectives Derived From Common Nouns
Since most suffixes deriving denominal adjectives from common nouns participate in more than one of the semantic categories distinguished in Section 2, it seems preferable to treat them individually here, in alphabetical order, starting from the Latin etymon.5 (Further denominal uses of primarily deverbal adjectives are mentioned in Section 4.2 under -bilis, -īcus, -idus, -ivus, -o/-onis, and -orius.)
aceus This suffix seems to have survived in its original possessive-similative function only in Sardinian (Wagner, 1952, § 22: boreáttsu ‘foggy’ ← borea ‘fog’, etc.). In many Romance languages it yielded evaluative suffixes, but has been restored in its adjectival use during the relatinization process: It. -aceo, Fr. -acé, -ace, Sp./Pt. -áceo, etc.6 Its detoponymic use in Friulan (e.g., glemonàs ← Glemòne) certainly constitutes a secondary use of the evaluative suffix.
acus This suffix with relational and possessive semantics only occurs in a number of learnèd formations, attached to toponyms but also to common nouns: It. austriaco ‘Austrian’, maniaco ‘fanatic’, Sp. policíaco/policiaco ‘police-’, and similarly in other languages.7
aecus According to Malkiel (1951), the suffix -(i)ego, which had often been attributed to the Iberian substrate, arose on the basis of the adjectives Græcus, Gallæcus, and Judaicus. It mainly occurs in the western part of the Iberian peninsula, in detoponymic adjectives (e.g., manchego ← La Mancha, Ast. cabraliegu ← Cabrales), but also in both relational and qualifying derivatives from common nouns (e.g., Sp. mujeriego ‘womanizing’, Ast. abriliegu ‘April-’, Gal. vilego ‘village-’).8
alis The suffix -alis with both relational and qualifying semantics was widely used in Latin and certainly reached at least some Romance varieties through the popular channel of transmission in its original adjectival function. Wagner (1952, p. 37) called it “durchaus volkstümlich” [truly popular] in Sardinian, but overall, it seems quite hard to separate truly popular, semi-learnèd and learnèd formations: Srd. iskrále ‘swampy’, OFr. clergel ‘clerical’, OOcc. aceiral ‘steel-’, Cat. bisbal ‘episcopal’, Sp. asnal ‘donkey-’, etc. In late and medieval Latin -al was often added pleonastically to adjectives (e.g., nocturnalis = nocturnus, perpetualis = perpetuus; Stotz, 2000, § 75.3), a habit that has left its traces in Romance: Srd. antigále = antigu ‘old’, OFr. continuel ‘continual’, nuiternel ‘nocturnal’, perpetual ‘perpetual’, OOcc. maritimal ‘maritime’, umanal ‘human’, etc. In French (Nathan, 1886), we have a double formal outcome, -el (popular) and -al (learnèd). Usage vacillated until the 17th century, for example, between charnel and charnal (< Lat. carnalis ‘carnal’). Most adjectives in Romance languages are of course the result of relatinization: dental, etc.
aneus Only very few adjectives reached the Romance stage as transparent words: OIt. terragno ‘crawling’, Cal. sulagnu ‘solitary’, etc. The suffix was later reintroduced in the relatinization process: It. istantaneo ‘instantaneous’, Sp./Pt. momentáneo ‘momentary’, etc.
anus This suffix was transmitted to Romance in its detoponymic function, as witnessed by Fr. -ain, Occ. -an, or Ast. -án, but not in its deanthroponymic function. Where -anus has remained -ano, popular and learnèd formations are difficult to separate: It. romano ‘Roman’ Sp. toledano ‘Toledan’, etc. Deanthroponymic derivatives all have the learnèd variant: Pt. pessoano ‘of Pessoa’, etc. Derivatives from common nouns, which are relatively scarce, can be both relational and qualifying: It. paesano ‘village-’, Srd. beffulano ‘mocking’, Frl. avostà ← avost ‘August-’, Fr. vilain ‘nasty’, OOcc. joian ‘joyous’, Sp. serrano ‘highland-’, etc. In Romanian, where it would have yielded -în, -anus did not survive as a transparent suffix; the suffixes -an (e.g., lupan ‘wolf-like’; Graur, 1929, pp. 62–66) and -ean (e.g., căsean ‘home-’) are of Slavic origin.
ardus This morpheme, which first occurred as second member of Germanic proper names like Eberhart, was adopted in Latin names (Leonardus, 6th century) and eventually reanalyzed as a suffix that could also be attached to common nouns, verbs, and adjectives in Galloromance (Baldinger, 1961). With nominal and verbal bases, it mostly derives nouns or adjectives expressing possession or propensity/habituality: OFr. pansart ‘big-bellied’, dormard ‘sleepy(head)’, OOcc. testart ‘obstinate’, pilhart ‘thievish’, etc. The suffix also found its way into Italian and Catalan: It. testardo, bugiardo ‘lying’, Cat. testard, etc. The negative tinge of these words prompted the detoponymic adjective niçard ‘from Nice’ to be abandoned in favor of niçois.
arĭcius The compound suffix -arĭcius (< -arius + -ĭcius) is already attested in Frankish legal texts (Leumann, 1918, pp. 139–140; Thomas, 1905): caballum carrucaricium ‘qui carrucam trahit’, etc. The corresponding suffix -erez/-eret was still productively used in Old French, either with a relational or with a qualifying function: selle chevaleresse ‘rider’s saddle’, salmonerez ‘salmon-like’, tavernerez ‘tavern-haunting’, etc. The suffix was also used deverbally, with an instrumental function: arbre penderet ‘gallows’, etc. A few adjectives of this kind are still used in Italian: mangereccio ‘eatable’, etc. On the Iberian peninsula the form was -arīcius, with long ī, but it is only preserved in a few nouns.
arĭolus This compound suffix (-arius + diminutive -olus) occurs in a handful of Italian relational adjectives: funghi prataioli ‘field mushrooms’, Sic. matinaloru ‘morning-’ (with metathesis), etc.
aris The suffixes -aris and -arius, which had both relational and qualifying semantics, were often confused in late Latin. In Old French (Roché, 2006), the two suffixes, which yielded -er and -ier, respectively, were conflated to -ier: Lat. regularis > OFr. reguler > regulier, etc. In French, -aris and -arius were later also conflated at the learnèd level, yielding both -aire: Lat. angularis > Fr. angulaire ‘corner-’, etc. Elsewhere, the suffix remained phonologically distinct from the successor of -arius: OOcc. den maiselar ‘molar’, Sp. seglar ‘secular’, etc. In these languages, popular outcomes are sometimes hard to distinguish from semi-learnèd formations or the many learnèd formations that were reintroduced during the relatinization process: It. familiare ‘family-’, Fr. familier, Sp. familiar, etc. French adjectival -ier (e.g., printanier ‘spring-’), which goes back to -aris, found its way into other Romance languages (e.g., It. industria manifatturiera, Sp. industria manufacturera; Rainer, 2012).
arius This suffix (Kurschildgen, 1983, pp. 204–285) is not only well preserved in nouns, but also in adjectives: Srd. dannardzu ‘provoking damage’, Sic. figliularu ‘prolific’, OFr. maisonier ‘homeloving’, OOcc. bevendier ‘bibulous’, lachier ‘milk-giving’, Cat. terres bladeres ‘wheat fields’, OSp. perro conejero ‘rabbit dog’, Ast. cimeru ‘top-’, OPt. verdadeiro ‘truthful’, etc. As one can see, the entire semantic range present in Latin (relational, causative, instrumental, locative, etc.) is preserved. The suffix’s use in detoponymic adjectives, unknown to Latin, as in Pt. chaveiro ‘from Chaves’, is explained by Leite de Vasconcellos (1933, pp. 146–147) as an extension from locative adjectives like costeiro ‘coastal’, while Wolf (1964, p. 15) thought of a possible Germanic influence from ethnic nouns such as Baiuvarii. Learnèd forms: OOcc. feudatari ‘feudatary’, Cat. doctrinari ‘doctrinary’, Pt. dentário ‘dental’, etc.
aticus This relational suffix survived in Romanian (e.g., iernatic ‘wintry’; Löwe, 1911, pp. 27–29) and Old French (e.g., rat evage ‘water rat’, endroit ombrage ‘shadowy place’). Of the deverbal formations, Fr. volage ‘fickle’, Occ. voulage (< Lat. volaticus) deserves mention. The suffix has been reintroduced during the relatinization process (e.g., Fr. lunatique ‘lunatic’, Sp. acuático ‘water-’) and even became productive to a modest degree (Wagner, 1943–1944, pp. 361–362).
atus Descendants of this suffix expressing possession and resemblance are present all over the Romània, but the suffix is particularly well developed in Romanian, where its rival -utus almost disappeared. Popular and learnèd formations are not always easy to separate: Rom. codat ‘tailed’, It. dentato ‘toothed’, OFr. ancré ‘anchor-shaped’, Med. Fr. vérolé ‘affected by pox’, OOcc. lanat ‘woolly’, Sp. barbado ‘bearded’, etc.
engus The Germanic relational suffix -ingôs appears as -engus in documents of the 10th century: terra Albarenga ‘of Álvaro’ (933, Portugal), etc. In his critical assessment of the relevant literature, Pharies (1990) concluded that it is from such formations that suffixes like Sp./Pt. -engo (e.g., abadengo ‘of the abbot’), Cat./Occ. -enc (Cat. aguilenc ‘eagle-like’, OOcc. montanhenc ‘mountenous’) and It. -ingo (casalingo ‘homemade, home loving’) were extracted. In Catalan and Occitan, the suffix is also used in detoponymic adjectives (e.g., Cat. albuferenc ‘from the Albufera’, OOcc. caorsenc ‘from Cahors’) and for expressing approximation (e.g., Cat. blavenc ‘bluish’). Whether Corsican and Sardinian detoponymic adjectives in -inco/-incu belong here too or to a Ligurian substrate, has been the matter of some discussion.
ensis This detoponymic suffix is continued as such in most Romance languages (it is absent from Romanian): It. -ese, Srd. -esu, Fr. -ais/-ois, Occ./Sp. -és, Cat. -ès, Pt. -ês. In French, it is also present as -is in some names of territories: Beauvaisis, etc. During the relatinization process, it was reintroduced as -ense and -iense: Sp. ateniense, Pt. sintrense, etc. Both the popular and the learnèd form are also marginally present in derivatives from common nouns with a mostly relational semantics: It. borghese ‘bourgeois’, Fr. courtois ‘polite’, both lexicalized, OOcc. mortales ‘mortal’ (pleonastic), Cat. muntès ‘mountain-’, Pt. montanhês; Cat. circense ‘circus-’, Sp. castrense ‘military’, etc.
entus (-ulentus) The suffix -entus arose by false separation of adjectives in -ulentus (Malkiel, 1977). It is well represented in Spanish, Asturian, and Portuguese: Sp. hambriento ‘hungry’, polvoriento ‘dusty’, Ast. famientu ‘hungry’, Pt. piolhento ‘lousy’, deverbal resmunguento ‘grumbling’, etc. The suffix expresses possession with nominal bases and habituality with verbal bases, and invariably confers a negative tinge to the derivative. The long form is found in It. sonnolento, Fr. sanglant ‘bloody’, OOcc. famolen ‘starving’, ModOcc. famoulènt, etc. In northern Italian dialects and Romansh, the suffix has come to express approximation or intensification.
ēnus This rare relational suffix (Lat. terrenus ‘earth-’) is present in It. terreno and a couple of learnèd detoponymic formations (e.g., Sp. damasceno ‘form Damascus’).
estris This relational suffix is present in Fr. champêtre ‘country-’ and Occ. campestre ‘country-’, as well as a couple of Latinisms: Fr. terrestre ‘on earth’, Sp. silvestre ‘wood-’, etc.
ĕus This Latin suffix disappeared as such, like other unstressed suffixes. Its main function, that is, to express material, was taken over mainly by prepositional phrases: Lat. aureus versus Fr. d’or, en or, Sp. de oro, etc. In some Romance languages, the suffix was reintroduced as a learnèd suffix expressing relation, material, or resemblance: It. ferreo ‘iron-’, Cat. òssiu, Sp. óseo ‘bony, skeletal’, Pt. laríngeo ‘laryngeal’, etc.
ĭanus This variant of Lat. -anus yielded -ien in French. Beginning with the 16th century, we also find a variant -éen in certain contexts (e.g., herculéen ‘of Hercules’). The suffix -ien was amply used to adapt all kinds of Latin words with difficult endings and became highly productive in the formation of deonymic adjectives. In modern times, it was also added, in the terminology of anatomy, to common nouns denoting parts of the body (Rainer, 2009a): crânien ‘cranial’, etc. Some such adjectives were calqued by other Romance languages (e.g., Cat. retinià ‘retinal’, Sp./Pt. retiniano; Rainer, 2009b), but mostly this usage sets French apart from the rest, while the deonymic usage of the cognate suffixes is pan-Romance (e.g., It./Sp. wagneriano ‘of Wagner’, etc.). Wagner (1952, § 55–56) mentioned instances of -ianu attached to common nouns in Sardinian: soliánu ‘sunny’, etc.
ĭcius As we have seen above, relational -ĭcius was quite frequent in the compound suffix -arĭcius. It was much more rarely used in isolation: OIt. sterco pecoreccio ‘sheep dung’, etc. Ro. -eţ (e.g., glumeţ ‘jocular’) has been shown by Graur (1929, pp. 43–47) to be of Slavic origin. The suffix has been reintroduced later in learnèd formations: It. cardinalizio, Fr. cardinalice ‘cardinal-’, Cat. catedralici ‘cathedral-’, Sp. alimenticio ‘food-’, etc.
īcius Two uses of this suffix must be distinguished in Latin (Leumann, 1918). On the one hand, it was added to nominal bases to form adjectives of material, as in Lat. cæmenticius ‘of cement’. This use survived in Romance in isolated, semantically diverse examples: It. massiccio ‘massive’, OFr. fresnis ‘ashen [tree]’, OOcc. lanis ‘woolen’, Cat. roquís ‘rocky’, agostís ‘August-’, Sp. pajizo ‘straw-; straw-colored’, Pt. outoniço ‘autumnal’, etc. The suffix is also used to express approximation: It. rossiccio ‘reddish’, Sp. enfermizo ‘sickly’, etc. The second function in Latin, which was to become much more productive in Romance, started from adjectives in which -icius was added to a past participle, as in emptus ‘bought’ → empticius. Leumann (1918, p. 144) says about such derivatives that they strengthen the meaning of the base and stress the duration or legal status implied (empticius, e.g., was said of a slave). In Romance, the corresponding adjectives are polysemous, expressing one of the following meanings: a. habituality: Srd. arrabbiadittu ‘irascible’, Frl. inamoradiz ‘falling in love easily’, Occ. lauvaïs ‘complimentary’, Pt. esquecediço ‘forgetful’, etc.; b. disposition: It. cascaticcio ‘falling easily’, Calabr. volatizzu ‘than can fly’, Fr. pont levis ‘drawbridge’, OOcc. laboraditz ‘ploughable’, Cat. arenes movedisses ‘quicksand’, Sp. caedizo ‘falling easily’, etc. The suffix entered Romance a second time via learnèd borrowings: It. avventizio ‘occasional’, Cat. acomodatici ‘adaptable’, etc.
ĭcus As an unstressed suffix, Lat. -ĭcus was in general bound to disappear in Romance. Wagner (1952, § 10–11), though, holds that it survived in Sardinian: áppiku/ábigu ‘of the boar’, airósigu ‘irritable’ (added pleonastically to -osu), etc. The suffix established itself again with both relational and qualifying semantics in all Romance languages in the wake of a massive influx of Latinisms: OFr. magique ‘magic’, MFr. diabolique ‘diabolic’, Sp. mahomético ‘Muslim’ (< MLat. mahometicus), etc. Numerous autochthonous formations have been attested since the beginning of the modern times.
īlis In Sardinian, according to Wagner (1952, § 41), the suffix is “gut vertreten” [found frequently]: parentile ‘attached to one’s relatives’, askamile ‘nauseous’ (from áscamu ‘nausea’), etc. In French, by contrast, -ilis disappeared in adjectival function (Gamillscheg, 1921, pp. 6–8), as it did in Friulan (De Leidi, 1984, pp. 92–93). In Old Occitan (Adams, 1913, pp. 292–293), it enjoyed great popularity as a suffix expressing relation or resemblance in a niche based on personal nouns (cf. Lat. servilis ‘slave-’): abadil ‘abbot-’, barnil ‘knight-’, senhoril ‘lord-’, etc. It could well be that the fortune of the suffix in other Romance languages was influenced by the prestige of ancient Occitan culture (cf. It. signorile, Pt. senhoril, etc.).9 It is in Spanish that the suffix has reached the highest degree of productivity. From the Golden Age onwards, it has often been used with a jocular intention: caciquil ‘strongman-’, gangsteril ‘gangster-’, etc.
ĭneus Malkiel (1944) compellingly argued that the suffix -ineus was the result of a false separation of Latin adjectives like ferrugin-eus as ferrug-ineus. Reflexes of this new suffix can be found in many Romance languages, but the suffix’s strongholds are Sardinian and Spanish, which seems to have influenced Catalan—particularly the Valencian variety—and Portuguese. It is absent from Romanian and Gallo-Romance. Most adjectives denote material or resemblance: It. ferrigno ‘iron-; iron-like’, Sic. firrignu, Srd. ferrindzu, Cat. ferreny, Ast. ferreñu, Pt. ferrenho; Sic. surcignu ‘mouse-like’, Sp. cereño ‘wax-colored’, etc. In Italian, it also expresses approximation: asprigno ‘somewhat sour’, etc. On the Iberian peninsula, we commonly find it in detoponymic adjectives: Sp. madrileño ‘from Madrid’, Cat. madrileny, Pt. açorenho ‘Azorean’, etc. Very rarely in deanthroponymic ones (e.g., velazqueño ‘of Velázquez’). Butler (1971, pp. 80–82) argued that -ineus also influenced the semantics of the Catalan and Occitan suffix -enc. The original form of the suffix has been reintroduced in the relatinization process: Cat. apol·lini ‘Apollinean’, Sp. broncíneo ‘bronze-’, etc.
īnus The stressed Latin suffix -inus survived in Romance in adjectives of material and resemblance (e.g., OFr. marbrin ‘of marble; marble-like’, Occ. aurin ‘golden’), in relational adjectives derived from nouns denoting animals (e.g., Ro. lupin ‘wolf-’, It. pecorino ‘sheep-’, Srd. andzoninu ‘sheep-’, Frl. ciavalìn ‘horse-’, OFr. asnin ‘donkey-’), as well as in detoponymic adjectives (e.g., It. perugino ‘from Perugia’, OFr. parisin ‘Parisian’). Deanthroponymic adjectives (e.g., Sp. alfonsino ‘of king Alfonso’) were reintroduced during the relatinization process, which also engrossed the other niches. Latin also had adjectives ending in unstressed -ĭnus (e.g., cristallĭnus ‘cristalline’), which normally have counterparts with stressed -ino in Romance (It. cristallino, ecc.); but compare It. seròtino ‘serotine’, borrowed from Lat. serotĭnus, which regularly yielded serondo in Spanish. Only Sardinian has adjectives regularly formed with unstressed -inu like békkinu ‘billygoat-’, férrinu ‘iron-’, térrinu ‘earth-colored’, etc. Wolf (1972, p. 617) concurred with Butler (1971) that these adjectives do not descend from unstressed Lat. -ĭnus, but were a Sardinian innovation whereby adjectives with monosyllabic stems followed by -inu became proparoxytonic.
ĭscus Useful lists of adjectives with this suffix for four Romance languages can be found in Björkman (1984). The vast literature on its origin, attributed over time to Greek, Latin, Thracian, Germanic, and Slavic, can be retrieved from Larson (1990). Larson himself follows Manczák in attributing a Slavic origin to Ro. -escu, while It. -esco and its Western cognates are said to derive from Franciscus, originally a Frankish word (frankisk). In the Middle Ages, the suffix mainly occurred in adjectives derived from the names of peoples or countries (e.g., Ro. unguresc ‘Hungarian’, OIt. francesco ‘French’, OFr. barbaresque ‘from Barbary’). In the modern standard languages, it yields relational adjectives (e.g., Rom. spitalicesc ‘hospital-’, It. dantesco ‘of Dante’) and adjectives of resemblance with special overtones (e.g., Fr. livresque ‘bookish’, Cat. caricaturesc ‘caricatural’, etc.). Italian influence has been decisive at this stage. In French, -iscus merged with -ensis. The variant -isco of OSp. morisco ‘Moorish’, etc., is attributed to the influence of medieval Latin.
ista In classical and medieval Latin, -ista was only used to derive nouns. In French (Rainer, 2017), nouns in -iste have been converted into adjectives from the 16th century onward, both nouns denoting followers (e.g., un papiste ‘a papist’, école papiste ‘papist school’) and agent nouns (e.g., un juriste ‘a lawyer’, subtilité juriste ‘lawyer-like subtlety’). From such conversions, an adjectival suffix -iste has been extracted by reanalysis, often correlated with bases in -isme (e.g., explication darwiniste ‘inspired by Darwinism’). The suffix’s domain of application varies somewhat from language to language. In Portuguese, and to a lesser extent in some other Romance languages, the suffix is even used to derive detoponymic adjectives (e.g., alfamista ‘from the Alfama [neighborhood of Lisbon]’, Leite de Vasconcellos, 1933, pp. 150–151).
isticus In origin, relational -isticus was the result of adding -icus to nouns in -ista: Lat. alchimisticus ‘of alchemists’. Possibly already in medieval or neo-Latin, but certainly in the Romance languages, this compound suffix has been reanalyzed as a unitary suffix, as shown by examples such as Fr. saison footballistique ‘soccer season’ (vs. footballeur ‘soccer player’). Overall, the suffix is more frequent in Italian and Spanish than in French, where -iste has taken over most of the domain of -istique (Migliorini, 1963).
iticus This relational suffix of Greek descent is only attested in dialects of southern Italy: Cal. marzíticu ‘March-’ (Rohlfs, 1969, § 1133).
ītus Adjectives of possession in -itus (e.g., auritus ‘long-eared’) were rare in Latin and have almost disappeared in Romance: Ro. alămit ‘with brass ornaments’, Frl. piturît ‘starchy’, saurît ‘tasty’, It. crinito ‘maned’ (a Latinism), Sp. colorido ‘colored’, OPt. doorido ‘sore’, etc. Old Spanish had more adjectives ending in -ido (e.g., desertido ‘deserted’), but they did not form a morphologically uniform pattern (Dworkin, 1985).
oides This combining form of Greek origin first occurred in technical adjectives of resemblance such as neo-Lat. scaphoides ‘boat-shaped’, which were borrowed by Romance languages. Transparent formations such as Fr. anthropoïde ‘anthropoid’, mongoloīde ‘mongoloid’, etc., allowed -oïde to be extracted as a suffix and to be attached to ordinary autochthonous words: fascistoīde ‘fascistic’, etc. The suffix is invariably pejorative and sometimes expresses approximation rather than resemblance. Some Romance languages like Spanish (Rifón, 2009) have extended the use of this suffix further than others: Sp. intelectualoide ‘would-be intellectual’, locoide ‘a bit crazy’, etc.
ōneus A suffix -oneus can be isolated only in very few Latin words. The exact way that led from these to Romance remains to be reconstructed. In the adjectival domain, the Romance formations express approximation in Italian and Sardinian, while in Spanish and Portuguese denominal adjectives of propensity and deverbal adjectives expressing habituality can be found: Sp. risueño/Pt. risonho ‘smiling’, Sp. pedigüeño ‘persistent’, Pt. enfadonho ‘irksome’, medonho ‘frightful’, etc.
ōsus The suffix -osus was highly polysemous in Latin. It has been preserved in all its shades of meaning in Romance and has acquired new ones (Kurschildgen, 1983, pp. 75–134). In the following enumeration, Old French will be chosen as a representative of Romance, but one has to bear in mind that not all Romance varieties preserved all uses (to the same extent).10 Denominal adjectives fall into the following main niches: a. adjectives of possession: Lat. aquosus ‘watery’, morbosus ‘sick’, OFr. boschageos ‘wooded’, gutus ‘gouty’, etc.; b. adjectives of resemblance: Lat. cadaverosus ‘cadaverous’, OFr. vitreus ‘glassy’, etc.; c. adjectives of propensity: Lat. vinosus ‘merry with wine’, OFr. bataillos ‘bellicose’, etc. Occasionally, one can also find a causative relationship: Sp. enojoso ‘annoying’, etc. Romance has added to these a relational use: Ambroise Paré, for example, translated Lat. interossei musculi ‘interosseous muscles’ with entre-osseux. In this example, Fr. -eux is used as a means to adapt Lat. -eus. Deverbal formations were rarer in Latin, and their frequency in Romance varies a lot from one variety to the next. They are mostly adjectives expressing habituality: Lat. bibosus ‘bibulous’, OFr. oblios ‘forgetful’, etc. Already in Latin, -osus was often added pleonastically to adjectives (e.g., ebrius/ebriosus ‘tipsy’), a use that continues in Romance: Rom. umedos, OFr. assiduos ‘assiduous’, OOcc. avaros ‘stingy’, etc. Adjectives of resemblance, furthermore, gave rise to adjectives expressing approximation in some Romance varieties (Arias Abellán, 1992): Sic. gialinusu ‘yellowish’, Cat. blavós ‘bluish’, etc. In Middle French, -eux became homophonous with agentive -eur, both pronounced /ø/, which led to some misspellings (e.g., péteux ‘chicken-hearted’, for péteur). Many Romance adjectives in -eux, etc. were introduced during the relatinization process, and so were the learnèd allomorphs -ieux and -ueux, which also gained some marginal productivity. Romanian has a variant -cios (e.g., simţicios ‘sensitive’) and occasionally adds -os to plural bases (e.g., buburos ‘pimpled’, from buburi, plural of bubă ‘pimple’).
ōticus A few adjectives containing this suffix are attested in Italo-Romance (e.g., Srd. bolodigu ‘desirous’, Sic. pazzòticu ‘weird’) and Occitan (e.g., OOcc. ferotge ‘wild’, irotge ‘angry’, Occ. ivernouge ‘exposed to cold’).
ūcus In Latin, -ucus was exceedingly rare in adjectives (e.g., caducus ‘falling, bound to fall’). In Romance, -uc occurs in a series of Occitan adjectives: OOcc. astruc ‘fortunate’, paoruc ‘fearful’, Aq. temeruc ‘timid’, etc.
ūnus The Latin relational suffix -unus only occurred in two words, aprunus ‘boar-’ and caprunus ‘goat-’. Reflexes of the latter survived in Old Sardinian (beccunu ‘billygoat-’, Wagner, 1952, § 64) and Occitan (bestia chabruna, 15th century; Ronjat, 1937, p. 361). In Spanish (Malkiel, 1950–1951, 1959) it sparked off a remarkable number of adjectives expressing relation or resemblance, derived from bases designating animals (e.g., perruno ‘dog-, dog-like’) and later on also persons (e.g., lacayuno ‘lackey-like’). In Columbian Spanish, it can be found in deanthroponymic adjectives (e.g., la finca moraluna ‘Morales’ farm’). The suffix also occurs in Asturian (e.g., perruñu) and Catalan (e.g., cabrù), possibly through Castilian influence.
urnus Rare in Latin, this suffix is vestigial in Romance (e.g., It. piovorno ‘rainy’, Occ. vivournet ‘vivacious’). It has been reintroduced in Latinisms (e.g., Sp. diurno ‘day-’).
ūtus The adjectival suffix -utus essentially served to derive adjectives of possession (e.g., cornutus ‘horned’), often with an additional idea of excess. It has remained productive in most Romance varieties (Carriazo Ruiz, 2014; Cornagliotti, 1986), although to different degrees, with the notable exception of Romanian, where it was almost completely ousted by other possessive suffixes. The suffix also expresses resemblance (e.g., OFr. crochu ‘hook-like’). The bases mostly refer to parts of the body, but abstracts are also on record (e.g., Pt. sortudo ‘lucky’).
4. Deverbal Patterns
4.1. Participles Used as Adjectives
Latin had three participles, present, past, and future. Of these, future participles were doomed, while present participles moved out of the verbal paradigm and essentially became ordinary adjectives.11 Past participles largely continue to show the Janus-headed nature they had in Latin.
Already in colloquial Latin, the present participle tended to be replaced with the gerund in the ablative case, especially in its adverbial use: instead of discens mens alitur one would rather say discendo mens alitur ‘the mind is nourished by learning’. Occasionally, the gerund later even encroached on the attributive use, as shown by Sp. agua hirviendo ‘boiling water’. Confined to the attributive and predicative position, the present participle tended to become over time a derivational category, often called “verbal adjective” in the Romance tradition. While the endings of the present participle and the gerund normally remained distinct, in French the masculine singular of the participle and the gerund merged as /ã/ <-ant>, which is why French -ant (Halmøy, 1984) has a wider distribution than the corresponding suffixes in ‑nte in Italian or Spanish. When the Latin present participle moved away from the verbal paradigm, it gradually lost its ability to introduce the arguments syntactically like a verb. Nevertheless, we find cases of verbal government in older varieties of Romance: OFr. homes armes portanz ‘men wearing arms’ (Wace), MFr. hommes craignans Dieu ‘men fearing God’ (Ronsard), etc. Such uses, however, were mostly imitations of Latin syntax. In French (Graff, 1918) and Spanish (Meilán García, 1991; Muñío Valverde, 1995), such Latinate constructions eventually did not strike roots, while in Italian they managed to survive in a certain literary or bureaucratic style (e.g., un uomo temente Dio ‘a man fearing God’, gli esercenti il commercio ambulante ‘the street vendors’). A further complication is constituted by the fact that adjectives in -nte are not invariably active in meaning (Anscombre, 2000), witness Fr. une place payante ‘a seat that you have to pay for’, une rue passante ‘a busy street’, un contre-temps râlant ‘that makes angry’, etc.
Past participles were already used adjectivally in Latin, both productively and in lexicalized uses (e.g., homo doctus ‘learnèd man’). This situation has remained largely the same in the Romance languages, where participles expressing a stable resultant state can freely be converted into adjectives (Schwarze, 2017, with references to the vast literature on the subject). On closer inspection, the semantics of past participles is a quite intricate matter (Anscombre, 2000): besides the prototypical passive participles (e.g., un vase renversé ‘knocked over’), one also occasionally finds an adverbial semantics (e.g., journal parlé ‘news on the radio’) and even quite a lot of active uses. Active past participles already existed in Latin (e.g., potus ‘drunken’, consideratus ‘prudent’) and occur in all Romance languages, under conditions that remain to be studied in detail (cf. Niculescu & Mîrzea Vasile, 2017, on Romanian; Thorné Hammar, 1942, pp. 65–66 on Old French; Borgonovo, 1999, on Spanish): Ro. bilbîit ‘stammering’, OFr. celé ‘discreet’, conëu ‘knowledgeable’, OOcc. entestat ‘obstinate’, Sp. cenado ‘having dined’, OPt. atrevudo ‘brave’, etc.12
4.2. Deverbal Suffixes
Deverbal suffixes are less numerous than denominal ones, but they tend to be more complex semantically. They will appear here in alphabetical order. (Deverbal uses have already been mentioned in Section 3.2 under -ardus, -arĭcius, -aticus, -entus, -īcius, -ōneus, -ōsus, and -ūcus.)
ax Romance adjectives that contain the Latin suffix -ax express habituality, to the extent that they are transparent at all. Most of them are Latinisms: It. vivace ‘lively’, Fr. vorace ‘voracious’, etc. Only in Spanish and Portuguese (Wagner, 1943–1944, pp. 341–346) has the suffix gained limited productivity, apparently starting from transparent loans such as mordaz ‘scathing’: Sp. lenguaraz ‘talkative’, Pt. beberraz ‘hard-drinking’, tragaz ‘greedy’, etc. Meyer-Lübke’s (1894, § 413) contention that -ax survived in Romanian is rejected in Graur (1929, pp. 59–62).
bĭlis The suffix -bilis was already highly complex in Latin, and so was its development in Romance (Kurschildgen, 1983, pp. 16–74; Thorné Hammar, 1942). In Latin, it was originally added to the present stem (e.g., amabilis ‘lovable’), later on also to the stem of the perfect participle (e.g., comprehensibilis ‘understandable’). Of these forms, only the former survived in Romance, but the latter were reintroduced in the relatinization process. In many varieties, the popular and learnèd outcomes are formally distinguished (e.g., It. -evole < Lat. -ĭbilis vs. ‑bile; Romanian only has the learnèd variant: acceptabil ‘acceptable’). Most adjectives were deverbal, yielding both an active (e.g., penetrabile frigus ‘penetrating cold’), a middle (e.g., putrescibilis ‘perishable’), and a passive meaning (e.g., impenetrabilis ‘impenetrable’). The active and middle meaning survived in Romance (e.g., Sic. pristíbbili ‘obliging’, Fr. durable ‘lasting’, Cat. pensívol ‘pensive’, Pt. perecível ‘perishable’). However, it was the passive meaning, essentially reintroduced during the relatinization process, that became the dominant, productive meaning in present-day standard languages (e.g., It. fattibile ‘feasible’, Fr. introuvable ‘nowhere to be found’).13 The suffix was also commonly added to nouns in Latin, a usage that also survived in Romance: OFr. charitable ‘charitable’, taillable ‘subject to the taille [a tax]’, It. papabile ‘eligible to become pope’, carrozzabile ‘suitable for carriages’, etc. Another Latin specialty that survived in the older stages of some Romance languages was the use of -abilis and -ibilis in lieu of -alis and -ilis: Sp. amigable ‘friendly’ (< Late Lat. amicabilis = amicalis), OSp. caballerible ‘chivalrous’ (= caballeril; García Pérez, 2014), etc. At the end of the Middle French period, Des Portes warned: “Dis finalement, et jamais finablement.”
bundus According to Heidemeier (2014, pp. 231–241), no Latin lexeme in -bundus survived in the Romance languages. Nevertheless, successors indirectly stemming from Latin adjectives in -bundus exist on the Iberian peninsula (e.g., Sp. hediondo ‘fetid’, torionda ‘in heat [cow]’, Ast. gationda ‘in heat [cat]’; Pharies, 1991) and in Occitan (e.g., OOcc. sazion ‘satiated’). Adjectives in -bundo like Sp. errabundo ‘wandering’, etc., are, of course, Latinisms.
īcus Marginal in Latin (e.g., amicus ‘friendly’, pudicus ‘decorous’), this suffix disappeared on the way to Romance. It was later reintroduced in Latinisms such as It. pudico ‘modest’, relatable to pudore ‘decency’.
ĭdus Unstressed Latin -idus was generally doomed as a suffix, although it survived in many opaque adjectives (e.g., Ro. putred ‘rotten’ < Lat. putridus, It. caldo ‘warm’ < Lat. calidus). Even in Sardinian (Wagner, 1952, § 33) adjectives in -idu (e.g., Nuo. frigidu ‘cold’) are mostly opaque. The suffix was later reintroduced in Latinisms, which sometimes show a possessive relation to nouns in synchrony (e.g., It. pallido ‘pale’/pallore ‘pallor’).
ĭlis This unstressed suffix disappeared as such on the way to Romance, but was later reintroduced in Latinisms: Cat. erèctil ‘erectile’, Sp. volátil ‘flying’, etc. It has a modal semantics, expressing the notion of capability.
īvus In Latin, -ivus (Breitmeyer, 1933, with ample references to Romance; Kurschildgen, 1983, pp. 135–203) was added either to the present stem (e.g., nocivus ‘harmful’) or to the stem of a participle (e.g., absentivus ‘absent’, captivus ‘captive’), but occasionally also to nouns (e.g., festivus ‘festive’). The suffix became -iu > -io in most Romance varieties; French and Romansh have -if. The popular outcomes are quite heterogeneous semantically and sometimes opaque: Ro. aluniu ‘hazel’, dulciu ‘sickly sweet’ (approximation), It. stantio ‘stale’, Egd. planif ‘even’, solif ‘sunny’, OFr. bontif ‘good-natured’, Fr. pensif ‘thoughtful’, OOcc. celiu ‘hidden’, Cat. ombriu ‘shadowy’ (= ombrívol; Moll, 2006, p. 257), Sp. tardío ‘late’, labrantío ‘arable’, Pt. gentio ‘heathen’, etc. The suffix has been reintroduced massively in all Romance standard languages during the relatinization process, especially in its use with stems of the past participle. The semantics varies between active (e.g., Sp. prohibitivo ‘prohibitive’), instrumental (e.g., Pt. curativo ‘curative’), and causative (e.g., Pt. abortivo ‘abortive’). There has been some discussion about whether, in synchrony, such adjectives should be considered deverbal or be related to the corresponding abstract nouns: significantly, Pt. abortivo ‘abortive’ is defined in a Portuguese dictionary as ‘que faz abortar; que provoca o aborto’.
ndus The Latin gerundive was not transmitted through the popular channel, but was occasionally reintroduced in Latinisms: It. venerando ‘venerable’, macchine rottamande ‘scrappable cars’, Sp. execrando ‘condemnable’, etc. Such adjectives have a modal semantics.
ō, -ōnis In Latin, the suffix -o, -onis formed negatively connotated personal nouns on the basis of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. They have remained nouns in Italian (e.g., mangione ‘big eater’), while in other Romance languages adjectives expressing habituality prevail: Cat. cagó ‘cowardly’, Sp. burlón ‘mocking’, Pt. chorão ‘that cries a lot’, etc. With nominal bases, the suffix has a possessive semantics: Sp. barrigón ‘potbellied’, etc. In Friulan (e.g., altòn ‘very high’) and some Italian dialects, it has come to express intensification.
or This suffix mainly formed agent nouns in Latin, but its adjectival use became ever more frequent in late Latin. This adjectival use has been continued to different degrees in the Romance languages: rather rare in Italian, it is more common in French (Fr. voix rêveuse ‘dreamy voice’; Fahlin, 1942) and Occitan (e.g., trabalhaire ‘hard-working’, from the nominative -ator, not the oblique -atorem), and even more so in Ibero-Romance: Cat. pis acollidor ‘cosy apartment’, Sp. ojo inquisidor ‘inquisitive eye’, Pt. homem trabalhador ‘hard-working man’, etc. When predicated of personal nouns, the suffix expresses habituality, while with inanimate nouns it tends to be simply active. The episodic meaning is very rare (e.g., equipo ganador ‘that has won’). In Spanish, the suffix has increasingly been used in relational adjectives during the 20th century (Rainer & Wolborska, 2012): balanza exportadora ‘export balance’, etc. In this new function, the suffix comes close to -īvus and -ōrius.
ōrius The suffix -orius (Malkiel, 1988) has left traces in all Romance languages. In Italian, only a couple of adjectival formations have survived (e.g., ponte levatoio ‘drawbridge’), and in French it was ousted completely by -aricius in its adjectival function, surviving only in northeastern dialects. The suffix is very productive in Romanian and still well represented, though unproductive, in Spanish and Portuguese. Among its meanings we find disposition (e.g., Ro. căzător ‘falling’), causation (e.g., OSp. dormidero ‘that makes sleep’), and all shades of modality (e.g., Sp. venidero ‘future, lit. that will come’, Sp. pagadero ‘that must be payed’, Pt. segadouro ‘ready to be cut’, caminho andadeiro ‘passable way’).14 In some Romance varieties, -orius merged phonologically with -or (e.g., OOcc. martel ferrador ‘hammer serving to shoe horses’ [but the feminine form has remained distinct], Cat. noies casadores ‘marriageable girls’, with instrumental and modal semantics respectively). In the relatinization process, the suffix was reintroduced in different shapes: It. movimento rotatorio ‘rotating movement’, Fr. troubles circulatoires ‘circulation problems’, Cat. problemes articulatoris ‘articulatory problems’, Sp. sentencia absolutoria ‘acquittal’, Pt. substância transpiratória ‘substance making sweat’, etc. As with -īvus, there has been some discussion about whether such adjectives should be analyzed as deverbal or denominal (Rifón, 2000).
5. What Remains to Be Done
Overall, the evolution of adjectival suffixes from Latin to Romance is reasonably clear by now thanks to more than 150 years of research. Early scholars were mainly interested in etymological cruxes, some of which, such as the origin of -ingus or -iscus, have sparked off a considerable literature. Less attention has been dedicated to a detailed description of single suffixes through the centuries, as well as to their interaction with rival suffixes within derivational categories. Much work also remains to be done on the dialects. Research on these topics would be highly welcome, as building blocks for a more complete pan-Romance history of adjectival derivation from Latin to Romance.
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General Reference Works
1. On the evolution of relational adjectives in Romance, cf. Lüdtke (1995). Richly developed in Latin, the category of relational adjectives was heavily reduced on its way to Romance, but later on restored in the relatinization process.
3. Detoponymic adjectives can also be formed by conversion. Van Wijk (1990) reports that in Honduras it is common in colloquial speech to use the toponym as an adjective: soy tegucigalpa ‘I am from Tegucigalpa’, etc. Leite de Vasconcellos (1933) reports the same usage for Portuguese (e.g., os Chinas ‘the Chinese’, 16th century, modern colloquial Pg. o Coimbra ‘the one from Coimbra’), Wolf (1964, pp. 81–83) for French, and Ronjat (1937, p. 400) for Occitan. In the wake of Migliorini’s (1943) study of the related phenomenon in Italian, Rainer (2008) shows that in Spanish, conversion is often resorted to if the toponym already ends in a suffix-like sequence: La Gomera → gomero, etc. Rainer (2014) documents deanthroponymic examples like vulcanas armas ‘weapons of Vulcan’ and gente amazona ‘Amazons’ from Juan de Mena (15th century).
5. Again, it must be noted that many adjectives that look like derivatives from common nouns from a synchronic perspective are the result not of suffixation but of a process of adjectivization. Graur (1929, pp. 74–78), for example, claimed that most agent nouns borrowed from neighboring languages became adjectives in Romanian. A comprehensive study of this important process of adjectivization in the Romance languages, unfortunately, is missing.
7. The dash following a noun is meant to signal that it has the function of a first member of a compound.
8. It is not entirely clear to me whether Occ. hemnèc ‘womanizing’, frutèc ‘fertile’, Cat. temorec ‘jittery’, deverbal dormilec ‘sleepy’, and similar formations also belong here in Malkiel’s view. Wagner’s (1950) hypothesis that the suffix -eco in adjectives referring to physical defects might have originated in Nahuatl has been shown to be unfounded by Lope Blanch (1971). They are rather related to the pejorative suffix -eco of unclear etymology, well represented in Portuguese and other varieties of the Iberian pensinsula (cf. also Pharies, 2002, s.v. -eco).
11. It. nascituro ‘unborn’ and similar cases are, of course, Latinisms.
12. Some Romance varieties, especially Tuscan and Portuguese, also have so-called ‟shortened” participles formed directly from the verb stem (cf. Pescia De Lellis, 2015; Villalva & Jardim, 2018). Past participles have also given rise to a “parasynthetic” adjectival pattern—of the amulatado type—expressing resemblance, on which compare Malkiel (1941) and Šinková (2017).
13. As shown in Hathout et al. (2003), the semantics of -ble continues to be more flexible than standard descriptions of French would have it. Deverbal formations inherit the argument structure of the underlying verb, but not entirely (cf. Ricca, 2004, p. 421; also Oltra-Massuet, 2013).
14. The variant in -deiro—instead of -douro—is believed to be due to Castilian influence.