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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

The Latin Legacy                    321

trast as in Wolsey's disastrously-ordered ego et meus i ex (I and my King)
There was no special Latin pronoun of the third person Its place was
taken in Classical Latin by die demonstrative is, ea, id This was later
replaced by itte, ilia, illud (that one)
The fundamental difference between the Latin and the English

coRA/Euomcino

HONCOINOPI

DVONORO OpTVMO-FV!5£ V/J? O •
SCIPiOA/E-FlUOS BAPBATi

CENSOR AID IHS-HIC FVET-A

.CEP IT CORSICA Al^EPIAQVE VPBE\
:TTEMPE STATE BV5 A| DE-MERE TO

FIG   35 —FUNERAL INSCRIPTION OF THE CONSUL L   CORNELIUS SCIPIO
IN AN EARLY LATIN SCRIPT (259 B c)
verb-system has been pointed out in Chapter III (p 107 et seq,}. Like
the Old English verb, the Latin verb had four lands or classes of
flexions, of which thiee might be described as functional and one,
mood, depended on context The first class, based on the personal
suffixes, dispensed with need for the pronoun-subject, as in Gothic
These flexions had already disappeared in the plural of the Old English
verb, and in the singular they were not more useful than our -s of the
third person singular. Differences between corresponding personal
forms, classified in different tenses, signified differences of time or
aspect In contradistinction to any of the Teutonic languages, including
Gothic, classical Latin has six tenses, present, imperfect, perfect, flu-
perfect, future, and future perfect The conventional meaning attached
to these time-forms or aspect-foim& in test-books has been explained in
Chapter III (pp 103-108) which deals with the pretensions of verb-
chronology in antiquity
In reality the terminology of the Latin verb is misleading The
imperfect form, for instance, is usually said to express an act or process
as going on in the past (monstrdbat, he was showing) It was also used
to denote habitual action (scnbelat, he used to write). The perfect
form stood for two things It indicated completion of an occurrence, as
L