A short analysis - Second part

How Piedmontese tongue was born

indice casa

Notice to be read (in case you didn't)

Ending of Piedmontese words

In this part we attempt to analyze a bit more in deep what happened to words coming from Latin. In the first part we saw probably the more interesting part, i. e. how the root of the words have been modified. Looking at the ending of words we enter a bit in the structure of the language (i. e. the grammar).

Nouns and adjectives from Latin to Piedmontese
We will try to show the transposition of words from Latin to the three languages that we are comparing (Piedmontese, Italian, French), as far as endings of words are concerned, by means of a table. Of course this very short note will just indicate a trend, and some exceptions will not be illustrated. This is related, of course, only to words that have a common Latin derivation in the three languages. We start with nouns and adjectives. In the tables we make use of phonological symbols.

If we look at the first declension in Latin:
(puella, puellae, puella, puellam, puella, puella --- puellae, puellarum, puellis, puellas, puellae, puellis)
we see that it contains:
1) - some feminine nouns (absentia, bucca, cera, ...)
2) - the feminine gender of nouns having the two genders (lupa, famula, ...)
3) - feminine gender of some adjectives (bona, nova, ...)
4) - few masculine or invariant nouns (auriga, nauta, athleta ...)
This declension ends in a, ae. Examples are in the following table.
It is possible to obtain the "stem" of these words by deleting the desinence "...rum" to the plural genitive.
In Italian the directly derived words maintain the Latin gender, and the ending a for singular. Mainly they are similar to the stem of the latin word (sometrimes unchanged and sometimes modified, but always ending by "a"). For the plural, feminine nouns and forms make use of the ending e, while masculine nouns and forms make use of the ending i. Examples are in the following table.
In French the same words tends to maintain the Latin gender and they have, for the singular number, the ending e For the plural the ending is es, if the singular is invariant with respect the gender, this is also for the plural.
In Piedmontese, these words, for singular, end in a, while for plural feminine forms use e but the masculine forms continue to use a (they are invariant with respect the number). Examples are in the following table.
Latin Italian French Piedmontese
absentia \ &bs'enZi& \
feminine noun (absence)
assenza \ &ss'enZ& \
plural = assenze
absence \ &bs'&[ng]s \
plural = absences
assensa \ &s'æ[ng]s& \
plural = assense
cera \ [ch]'er& \
feminine noun (wax)
cera \ [ch]'er& \
plural = cere
cire \ s'ir \
plural = cires
sira \ s'ir& \
plural = sire
nova \ n'ov& \
adjective, feminine form (new)
nuova \ nu'ov& \
plural = nuove
neuve \ n[oe]v \
plural = neuves
neuva \ n[oe]v& \
plural = neuve
athleta \ &tl'et& \
invariant noun (athlete)
atleta \ &tl'et& \
plural m. = atleti
plural f. = atlete
athlete \ &tl'et \
plural = athletes
atleta \ &tl'et& \
plural m. = atleta
plural f. = atlete

We consider now the second declension in Latin
(lupus, lupi, lupo, lupum, lupe, lupo --- lupi, luporum, lupis, lupos, lupi, lupis
bellum, belli, bello, bellum, bellum, bello --- bella, bellorum, bellis, bella, bella, bellis
puer, pueri, puero, puerum, puer, puero --- pueri, puerorum, pueris, pueros, pueri, pueris)

we see that it contains:
1) - some masculine and neuter nouns (populus, exemplum, liber, ...)
2) - the masculine gender of nouns having the two genders (lupus, famulus, ...)
3) - masculine and neuter gender of some adjectives (bonus, bonum -- novus, novum ...)
4) - some feminine (in latin) nouns of cities, regions and plants (Aegyptus, Corynthus, cabasus, humus ...)
Examples are in the following table. We note that the neuter gender disappeared in Italian, French and Piedmontese, and the related nouns and forms migrated into the masculine.
Also in this case it is possible to obtain the "stem" of these words by deleting the desinence "...rum" to the plural genitive.
In Italian the directly derived words assume the masculine gender (except the city names that maintain the Latin feminine gender), for the singular use the ending o (see the stem of the latin word) and for the plural the ending i. Examples are in the following table.
In French these words are masculine ( except the city names), For the singular, in many cases, the ending vowel is dropped, and in some other cases the ending is still e. The plural is always obtained by adding an s to the singular (there are exceptions). Examples are in the following table.
In Piedmontese, in the most of the words of this type, the gender is masculine and, for the singular, the final vowel is dropped, and in some few cases the ending is o. The most of these words are invariant with respect the number (in particular, but not only, the ones ending by consonant, with some exception) and the plural is equal to the singular. In some other cases (exceptions, usually adjectives) the ending i is used. Examples are in the following table.
Here we want to notice a difference between Piedmontese and Italian. If we take the latin noun "liber" with meaning: "book", and the latin adjective "liber" with meaning "free", and we consider the latin singular accusative, we have, respectively "librum" and "liberum". Plural genitive is respectively "librorum" and "liberorum"
In Italian the desinence "...um" of the accusative is changed into "...o" and so the book becomes "libro" and free becomes "libero". These are also the stems of the latin words .
In Piedmontese both the noun and the adjective are equal to the singular nominative of the latin words, and so both are "lýber". The noun means "book" as well as "books", the adjective, at masculine both singular and plural is "lýber", while the feminine is "lýbera" e "lýbere" respectively for singular and plural.
Latin Italian French Piedmontese
liber \ l'iber \
masculine noun (book)
libro \ l'ibro \
plural = libri
livre \ l'ivr \
plural = livres
liber \ l'ibær \
plural = liber
lupus \ l'upus \
noun, masculine form (wolf)
lupo \ l'upo \
plural = lupi
loup \ lup \
plural = loups
luv \ l[ue]u \
plural = luv
novus \ n'ovus \
adjective, masculine form (new)
nuovo \ nu'ovo \
plural = nuovi
neuf \ n[oe]f \
plural = neufs
neuv \ n[oe]u \
plural = neuv
In the last line of the table we notice that piedmontese and french derivations are quite similar, and quite different from the italian derivation.

There are many forms for the third declension in Latin, for nouns and adjectives. Some of them are reported here:
miles, militis, militi, militem, miles, milite, --- milites, militum, militibus, milites, milites, militibus
caput, capitis, capiti, caput, caput, capite, --- capita, capitum, capitibus, capita, capita, capitibus
turris, turris, turri, turrim, torris, turri, --- turres, turrium, turribus, turres, turres, turribus.

This declension contains:
1) - masculine, feminine, neuter nouns (miles, canis, panis, caput, radix, nox, lac, veritas, libertas, sanitas, pater, ambitio, ...)
2) - nouns having the two genders and two forms (imperator, imperatrix --- fautor, fautrix)
3) - nouns having the two genders and a unique form (custos, ...)
4) - adjectives having three forms for the three genders(acer, acris, acre --- saluber, salubris, salubre (but for the latter also salubris, salubre) ...)
5) - adjectives having two forms for the three genders (different form for neuter) (dulcis, dulce --- equalis, equale --- aeternalis, aeternale --- annualis, annuale; ...) ...)
6) - adjectives having a unique form for the three genders (dives --- vetus --- constans --- diligens ...)
Also in this case it is opportune to have in mind the singular accusative of latin words and possibly the "stem" obtained from plural genitive, even if now the mechanism is not so direct. The singular accusative's termination is in "...em" (exluding very few exceptions : amussis, buris, ravis, sitis, tussis, vis ed the noun of cities having the singular nominative in "...is") and, usually, these nouns and adjectives in Italian have the termination of the singualr in "...e". There is a group of these nouns that in Latin have singular nominative and genitive respectively ending in "...as", "...atis" that usually give rise at words, in Italian, ending with "...Ó" (stressed a), invariant at plural. Another similar group is the one having singular nominative and genitive respectively ending in "...us", "...utis" that often, but not always, give rise at words, in Italian, ending with "...¨" (stressed u), invariant at plural. For these two groups, in Italian there are also forms obtained from the singular accusative (not so much used, but possibly in poetry end some other few cases) for example from "virtus, virtutis" it follows the italian "virt¨", but also "virtute, virtude", while from "salus, salutis" the only derivation is "salute". The Piedmontese follows a similar scheme, and the French as well (but for example in French a termination is "...Ú" instead of "...Ó"). Other examples are reported in the table below.
In Italian not always the latin gender is kept for nouns, but usually yes. Nouns and adjectives of both the italian genders have (usually) termination in "...e" for singular, and termination in "...i" for plural. If the italian masculune singular termination is "...o", then the feminine singular termination is "...a", with plural respectively in "...i" and "...e". Therminations in "...Ó" and "...¨" are anyway invariant. Then we have: cane, cani --- pane, pani --- capo, capi --- radice, radici --- notte, notti --- latte, (...), la veritÓ, le veritÓ --- la libertÓ, le libertÓ --- la sanitÓ, le sanitÓ --- padre, padri --- un posto salubre, i posti salubri, una stanza salubre, le stanze salubri --- il dolce, i dolci, la dolce metÓ, le dolci metÓ --- and so on. Other examples in the table below.
In French we note, first of all, as an addition at what we said about french plural, that the third latin declension has the plural nominative endin in "...s" and this fact could had influenced the way of doing the plural in French. In general french words directly derived from this declension have lost the desinence (referred to the latin singular accusative). In this case the latin words in "...as, ...atis" and in "...us, ...utis" give rise at french words terminating in "...Ú" and "...u". The feminine, where applicable, is obtained by adding "...e", and the plural by adding "...s". Shortly, we have: chien, chiens --- pain, pains --- nuit, niuts --- lait, (...) --- veritÚ, libertÚ, sanitÚ --- doux, douse, doux douses --- annuel, annuelle, annuels, annuelles --- constant, constante, constants, constantes --- and so on. We notice that the "...s" of the french plural, when not in "liason" with the following word, is not pronounced, and this make it closeer the oral French to the Piedmintese. Other examples in the table below.
Piedmontese, also in thiscase is closer to French than Italian. It continue to follow its own way of invariance at plural. Masculine nouns and forms lose very often the desinence and are, as a basis, invariant with respect the number (exceptions are seen in Grammar). Masculine nouns and forms ending in "...o" or in "...e" are anyway invariant at plural. Nouns only feminine follow the same rule and are invariant at plural (like la mare, le mare standing for the mother, the mothers). Feminine forms of words (nouns and adjectives) having the two genders, assume very often, and on the contrary of Italian, the desinence "...a" and change in into "...e" at plural. There are anyway some exceptions. In this case from the latin group of words terminating in "...as, ...atis" it follows the Piedmontese group of words teminating in "...Ó", as for Italian. Something similar happens for the Latin group in "...us, ...utis". Anyway we note that the use of the terminations "...a, ...Ó" in Piedmontese is close to the french one more than the italian one. Then we have: Űl can, ij can --- Űl pan, ij pan --- Űl cap, ij cap --- la radis, le radis --- la neuit, le neuit --- Űl doss, la dossa, ij doss, le dosse --- la vritÓ, le vritÓ and so on. Other examples in the table below.
Latin Italian French Piedmontese
canem \ c'&nem \
masculine noun (dog)
cane \ c'&ne \
plural = cani
chien \ shæ[ng] \
plural = chiens
can \ c&[ng] \
plural = can
dulcem \d'ulcem \
adjective, masc. and femin. form (sweet)
dolce \ d'ol[ch]e \
plural = dolci
doux \ du \
femin. = douse
masc. plural = doux
femin. plural = douses
doss \ dus \
femin. = dossa
masc. plural = doss
femin. plural = dosse
libertas, atis - libertatem \ libert'&tem \
feminine noun (freedom)
libertà \ libert'& \
plural = libertà
liberté \ libert'e \
plural = libertés
libertà \ libert'& \
plural = libertà

We consider now the fourth declension in Latin.
manus, manus, manui (manu), manum, manus, manu --- manus, manuum, manibus, manus, manus, manibus
genu, genus, genu, genu, genu, genu --- genua, genuum, genibus, genua, genua, genibus
. It includes:
1) - Masculine and feminine nouns that follow the first form. (spiritus, versus, manus, domus, acus, quercus).
2) - Neuter nouns that follow the second form. (cornu, genu).
Some exceptions for nouns ending in "...cus" and few others. In Italian the direct derivation of masculine and feminine nouns is close to what we saw for the second declension. Masculine nouns use the ending in "...o" for singular and "...i" for plural. The latine feminine word "manus" (hand), in Italian is still feminine and the used endings are still "...o" and "(cornu, genu)" for singular and plural respectively. On the contrary, the feminine latin word "quercus" (oak-tree), in Italian is still feminine, and the used endings are "...a" and "...e" (quercia, quercie). Derivations from neuter, masculine at singular, have usually at plural both masculine form, ending by "...i", and feminine form, ending by "...a" (as the latin nominative plural). So we have: la mano, le mani --- lo spirito, gli spiriti --- il corno, i corni, le corna --- il ginocchio, i ginocchi, le ginocchia.
In French, as it is in Piedmontese, feminine nouns can easily ending by consonant, as it is for "main" (hand), which in French is not an exception as in Italian. Derivation follows the scheme of the second latin declension, with loss of the final vowel, (sometimes the ending of the feminine is "...e"), and the adding of a "...s" for plural. We have: main, mains --- esprit, esprits --- la corne, les cornes --- genou, genoux. We note that "corne" has derived a feminine gender (it is neuter in Latin).
The Piedmontese, still once, is closer to French than to Italian. The derivation follows what we've seen for the second declension. So, drop of the final vowel and invariance with respect the number. We have: a man, le man --- lŰ spirit, j'Űspirit --- Űl vers, ij vers --- Űl c˛rno, ij c˛rno --- Űl ginoj, ij ginoj. We note that the word "c˛rno" (as it is for some other words) has the ending in "...o", at the plural the word remains "c˛rno", and there is only one plural, as a difference with respect Italian and similarly to the French. Other examples in the following table:
Latin Italian French Piedmontese
manus \ m'&nus \
feminine noun (hand)
mano \ m'&no \
plural = mani
main \ m&ae[ng] \
plural = mains
man \ m&[ng] \
plural = man
spiritus \sp'iritus \
masculine noun (spirit)
spirito \ sp'irito \
plural = spiriti
esprit \ espr'i \
plural = esprits
spirit \ sp'irit \
plural = spirit
cornu \ c'ornu \
neutral noun (horn)
corno \ c'orno \
plural m. = corni
plural f. = corna
corne(femin.) \ c'orn \
plural = cornes
còrno \ c'ornu \
plural = còrno
genu \ j'enu \
neutral noun (knee)
ginocchio \ jin'okkio \
plural m. = ginocchi
plural f. = ginocchia
genou \ zhen'u \
plural = genoux
ginoj \ jin'uy \
plural = ginoj

Finally we have a look at the fifth declension in Latin.
dies, diei, diei, diem, dies, die --- dies, dierum, diebus, dies, dies, diebus. It includes: 1) - Feminine nouns (res, fides, spes)
2) - "Dies" and "meridies", that can be used also as masculine.
This declension contains only few names, and then not so many words are derived. We have just a look at a couple of examples.
In Italian the direct derivation from "fides" (Faith) brings to "fede", with plural "fedi" (come per la 3^ declinazione), la derivazione diretta da fides, attraverso l'accusativo singolare "fidem" porta a "fede", con plurale "fedi" (as for the derivation from the 3^ declension), while from da "spes" (Hope), through the singular accusative "spem", the word "speme" is derived, with plural "spemi". But for Hopr there is also the word "speranza", (plural "speranze") that is not so much direct, since the root has only some traces of the original.
In French the derivation is not so direct and we have respectively "foi" and "espoir", but also the term "esperance" exists, which followed a derivation similar to the italian one.
The Piedmontese, in this casr is colse to Italian, and the two derived words are "", and "speransa".
Some examples in the following table:
Latin Italian French Piedmontese
fides \ f'ides \
feminine noun
fede \ f'ede \
plural = fedi
foi \ fu'& \
plural = fois
fÚ \ f'e \
plural = fÚ
spes \sp'es \
feminine noun (Hope)
speme \ sp'eme \
plural = spemi
speranza \ sper'&nZ& \
plural = speranze
espoir \ espu'&r \
plural = espoirs
esperance \ esper'&[ng]s \
plural = esperances
speransa \ sper'&ns& \
plural = speranse


First of all we say that in Italian, coming from the five latin declensions, there are three "classes" of nouns and adjectives.
The first one includes nouns and adjectives having the singular in "...a" and the plurali in "...i" if masculine, and in "...e" if feminine. The second one includes nouns and adjectives (usually masculine) having the singular in "...o" and the plurali in "...i", and nouns that can also be feminine at plural, having masculine singular in "...o" and a plural feminine in "...a"
The second one includes nouns and adjectives both masculine and feminine or invariant having the singular in "...e" and the plural in "...i".
The first class derives from the first latin declension and from a part of the fifth declension. The second one derives from the second latin declension and from the fourth declension. The third class derives from the third latin declention and part of the fifth declension. Of course there are exceptions to this scheme. The passage from masculine to feminine genders supposes often the change of class of a word.
If we want to look for a similar scxheme for the Piedmontese, we can easily find a first class, having nouns and adjectives ending by "...a". If these nouns and forms are feminine, the plural ending is "...e", but if they are masculine, the plural ending remain unchanged in "...a". Also the origin of these words shows differences with respect the Italian, in particular for what is concerned with feminine forms of adjectives coming from the third declension and which in Italian belongs to the third class, and in Piedmontese migrate to the first class.
For all the other nouns and adjectives, the ending can be in vowel, stressed vowel or consonant for both masculine and feminine nouns and forms, and the rule is always the one of invariance at plural. There are some exceptions, whose the main is concerned with the forms ending with the consonant "...l", which do the plural by changing this "...l" into a "...j". The italian scheme is then not so much followed.
On the contrary of Piedmontese, the French does not lose the plural forms. The french ending "...e" indicates easily, but not always, the feminine noun or form at singular ( for the plural "...es"). We notice here that the final "...s" of the french plural is often not pronounced, and this brings the oral French closer to the Piedmontese. Also for French there are many exceptions.

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