On Italian, Ibero-Romance and Romanian imperatives in -i and the fate of Latin final
It is generally held that Latin word-final, post-tonic -ē yielded *-e in Proto-Romance, even if secure attestations are lacking.However, here it is suggested that a number of forms thought to instantiate analogical replacement of expected *-e with -i are in fact phonologically regular, thus revealing that the real outcome of Lat. -ē was PR *-i.2 The relevant forms are: a small handful of adverbs: It. oggi ‘today’ < hodiē, Rm. azi ‘today’ < hac diē, It./As. tardi ‘late’ < tardē, It. lungi/As. lloñi ‘far’ < longē; the 2sg. imperative of Italian, Old Portuguese and Asturian e-verbs (It. bevi/OPt. bive (with metaphony)/As. bebi ‘drink!’) as well as the Romanian 2sg. imperatives in -i (Rm. vezi ‘see!’ cazi ‘fall!’, etc.). This hypothesis renders superfluous a number of poorly understood analogies needed to explain these forms and sheds new light on the enigmatic Romanian imperative in -i and its hitherto unexplained association with transitivity.
Keywords: historical phonology, historical morphology, Ibero-Romance, Romanian, Italian, imperative
Published online: 30 November 2012