Indo-European copula

Indo-European copula

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Encyclopedia
A feature common to all Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 is the presence of a verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 corresponding to the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 verb to be. Though in some languages, such as Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, it is vestigial, it is present nonetheless in atrophied forms or derivatives.

General features


This verb has two basic meanings. In a less marked context it is a simple copula (I'm tired; That's a shame!), a function which in non-Indo-European languages can be expressed quite differently. In a more heavily marked context it expresses existence (I think therefore I am); the dividing line between these is not always easy to draw. In addition, many Indo-European languages use this verb as an auxiliary
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

 for the formation of compound (periphrastic) tenses
Compound verb
In linguistics, a compound verb or complex predicate is a multi-word compound that acts as a single verb. One component of the compound is a light verb or vector, which carries any inflections, indicating tense, mood, or aspect, but provides only fine shades of meaning...

 (I'm working; I was bitten). Other functions vary from language to language. For example, although in its basic meanings, to be is a stative verb
Stative verb
A stative verb is one that asserts that one of its arguments has a particular property . Statives differ from other aspectual classes of verbs in that they are static; that is, they have undefined duration...

, English puts it to work as a dynamic verb
Dynamic verb
A dynamic or finitive verb is a verb that shows continued or progressive action on the part of the subject. This is the opposite of a stative verb....

 in fixed collocations (You are being very annoying).

The copula is the most irregular verb
Irregular verb
In contrast to regular verbs, irregular verbs are those verbs that fall outside the standard patterns of conjugation in the languages in which they occur. The idea of an irregular verb is important in second language acquisition, where the verb paradigms of a foreign language are learned...

 in many Indo-European languages. This is partly because it is more frequently used than any other, and partly because Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 offered more than one verb suitable for use in these functions, with the result that the daughter languages, in different ways, have tended to form suppletive verb paradigms
Suppletion
In linguistics and etymology, suppletion is traditionally understood as the use of one word as the inflected form of another word when the two words are not cognate. For those learning a language, suppletive forms will be seen as "irregular" or even "highly irregular". The term "suppletion" implies...

. This article describes the way in which the irregular forms have developed from a series of roots.

*h1es-



The root *h1es- was certainly already a copula in Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

. The e-grade (see Indo-European ablaut
Indo-European ablaut
In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages...

) is found in such forms as English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is, Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 is, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 ist, Latin est, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 ast, while the zero grade produces forms beginning with /s/, like German sind, Latin sumus, Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 smas, etc. In PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, *h1es- was an athematic
Athematic
In the Indo-European languages, thematic stems are stems ending in a theme vowel, a vowel sound that is always present between the stem of the word and the attached ending...

 verb in -mi, that is, the first person singular was *h1esmi; this inflection survives in English am, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 am, Sanskrit asmi, Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

  (esmĭ), etc.

The present indicative of this verb is generally reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 thus:
Person Singular Plural
1st *h1és-mi *h1s-més
2nd *h1és-si (already in PIE reduced to *h1ési) *h1s-th1é
3rd *h1és-ti *h1s-énti


The root (which did not have ablaut variations in the protolanguage) probably meant 'to grow', but also 'to become'. This is the source of the English infinitive be and participle been (Germanic participles have the suffix in -an). Also, for example, the Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

 "future" tense bithidh; the Irish imperative , past bhí and future beidh; and the Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 infinitive, etc. for example Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

  (byt’). PIE becomes Latin /f/, hence the Latin future participle futūrus and perfect fuī; Latin fīō 'I become' is also from this root, as is the Greek verb , from which physics and physical are derived. The present indicative of this verb can be reconstructed as follows:
Person Singular Plural
1st *bʰúH-i-h₂e(i) *bʰuH-i-mé-
2nd *bʰúH-i-th₂e(i) *bʰuH-i-(t)é-
3rd *bʰúH-y-e *bʰuH-y-énti

*wes-


The root *wes- may originally have meant "to live". The e-grade is present in the German participle gewesen, the o-grade (*wos-) survives in English and Old High German was, while the lengthened e-grade (*wēs-) gives us English were. (The Germanic forms with /r/ result from grammatischer Wechsel
Grammatischer Wechsel
In historical linguistics, the German term Grammatischer Wechsel refers to the effects of Verner's law when viewed synchronically within the paradigm of a Germanic verb.-Overview:...

.) See Germanic strong verb: Class 5.

*h1er-


The root *h1er- meant "to move". This is probably the origin of the Old Norse and later Scandinavian languages
North Germanic languages
The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages...

' present stem: Old Norse em, ert, er, erum, eruð, eru; the second person forms of which were borrowed into English as art and are. Other authorities link these forms with *h1es- and assume grammatischer Wechsel
Grammatischer Wechsel
In historical linguistics, the German term Grammatischer Wechsel refers to the effects of Verner's law when viewed synchronically within the paradigm of a Germanic verb.-Overview:...

 (/s/→/r/), although this is, to a degree, difficult to explain in the present stem.

Donald Ringe
Donald Ringe
Donald Ringe is an American linguist and Indo-Europeanist.He received Ph.D in linguistics at the Yale University in 1984 under the supervision of the late Warren Cowgill. He taught Classics at Bard College from 1983 to 1985, and since 1985 he has been on the Faculty in Linguistics at the...

 argues that the copula was sometimes unaccented in Pre-Proto-Germanic, which would have then triggered the voicing under Verner's law
Verner's law
Verner's law, stated by Karl Verner in 1875, describes a historical sound change in the Proto-Germanic language whereby voiceless fricatives *f, *þ, *s, *h, *hʷ, when immediately following an unstressed syllable in the same word, underwent voicing and became respectively the fricatives *b, *d, *z,...

. He explains the Germanic first person singular form as such, deriving it from earlier , since -zm-, but not -sm-, was assimilated to -mm- in Germanic (for which other evidence exists as well). Furthermore, the third person plural form (from PIE ) shows that this word, too, was unaccented. If the accent had been preserved, it would have become , but that form is not found in any Germanic language. In this view, it is likely that stressed and unstressed varieties of the copula (with corresponding voiceless and voiced fricatives) existed side by side in Germanic, and the existence of a separate root is unnecessary.

*steh2-


The root *(s)teh2- survives in English with its original meaning: "to stand". From this root comes the present stem of the so-called "substantive verb" in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and tha respectively. On the absence of the initial s- in Celtic, see Indo-European s-mobile
Indo-European s-mobile
In Indo-European studies, the term s-mobile designates the phenomenon where a PIE root begins with an which is sometimes but not always present...

.
In Latin, stō, stare retained the meaning "to stand", until local forms of Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 began to use it as a copula in certain circumstances. Today, this survives in that several Romance languages use it as one of their two copulae, and there is also a Romance tendency for a past participle derived from *steh2- to replace that of the main copula. See also Romance copula
Romance copula
The copula or copulae in all Romance languages largely derive from the Latin verbs "to be" ; "to stand" ; and "to sit"...

.

Hittite


The Hittite
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

 verb "to be" is derived from the Indo-European root *.
  Present indicative Preterite indicative Imperative
1st sg. ēšmi ešun ēšlit
ēšlut
ašallu
2nd sg. ēšši ēšta ēš
3rd sg. ēšzi ēšta ēšdu
1st pl. (ašweni) ēšwen
2nd pl. ēšteni ēšten ēšten
3rd pl. ašanzi ešer ašandu

Vedic Sanskrit


The Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 verb as (to be) is derived from the Indo-European root *.
Person Present, Indicative, Active
Singular Dual Plural
1st asmi svas smas
2nd asi sthas stha
3rd asti stas santi


bhū (to be) is derived from Indo-European *.
Person Present, Indicative, Active
Singular Dual Plural
1st bhavāmi bhavāvas(i) bhavāmas(i)
2nd bhavasi bhavathas bhavatha
3rd bhavati bhavatas bhavanti

Persian


Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 grammar differentiates the marked or substantive verb هستن hastan from the unmarked enclitic
Clitic
In morphology and syntax, a clitic is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase. It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level...

 copula است ast. Hastan is used to express existence while ast in the present tense expresses predication, although hastan can also be used for emphasis to express predication in the present tense. In the past tense, the verb بودن budan covers both meanings.

Strictly speaking, hastan is only a theoretical infinitive, not lexical: budan functions as the actual infinitive of hast, used, for example, in present-tense modal constructions like شايد بود shāyad bud 'it may be'. The present stem of budan is باش bāsh-, used for the imperative and subjunctive, e.g. چنين باشد chonin bāshad 'may it be so!'.

The verb hast (to be) is derived from the Indo-European root *, where bud (to be) is derived from Indo-European *.
Substantive verb Enclitic copula
Present هستم hastam
هستى hasti
هست hast
هستيم hastim
هستيد hastid
هستند hastand
م -am
ى -i
است ast
يم -im
يد -id
ند -and
Preterite بودم budam
بودى budi
بود bud
بوديم budim
بوديد budid
بودند budand

Greek


The Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 verb eimi (I am) is derived from the Indo-European root *.
  Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. It is an archaic version of Ionic Greek, with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as Aeolic Greek. It later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry, typically in...

Classical Attic
Attic Greek
Attic Greek is the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek, and is the standard form of the language studied in courses of "Ancient Greek". It is sometimes included in Ionic.- Origin and range...

Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

 indicative
1st sg.
2nd sg.
3rd sg.
1st pl.
2nd pl.
3rd pl.
(eimi)
(eis, essi)
(esti(n))
(eimen)
(este)
(eisi(n), easi)
(eimi)
(ei)
(esti(n))
(esmen)
(este)
(eisi(n))
(ime)
(ise)
(ine)
(imaste)
(iste)
(ine)
Preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

 indicative
1st sg.
2nd sg.
3rd sg.
1st pl.
2nd pl.
3rd pl.
(ēa, eon)
(ēstha, eēstha)
(ē(e)n, eēn)
(ēmen)
(ēte)
(ēsan)
(ē(n))
(ēs, ēstha)
(ēn)
(ēmen)
(ēste, eate)
(ēsan, esan)
(imun)
(isun)
(itan)
(imastan)
(isastan)
(itan)
Subjunctive 1st sg.
2nd sg.
3rd sg.
1st pl.
2nd pl.
3rd pl.
()
(eēis, eois)
(eēi(si), ēisi(n), eoi)
 
 
(eōsi(n))
(ō)
(ēis)
(ēi)
(ōmen)
(ēte)
(ōsi(n))
Optative 1st sg.
2nd sg.
3rd sg.
1st pl.
2nd pl.
3rd pl.
(eiēn)
(eiēs)
(eiē)
 
(eite)
(eien)
(eiēn)
(eiēs)
(eiē)
(ei(ē)men)
(ei(ē)te)
(eiēsan, eien)
Imperative
Imperative mood
The imperative mood expresses commands or requests as a grammatical mood. These commands or requests urge the audience to act a certain way. It also may signal a prohibition, permission, or any other kind of exhortation.- Morphology :...

2nd sg.
2nd pl.
(esso, isthi)
(este)
Infinitive
Infinitive
In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives...

(einai, em(m)en(ai)) (einai)
Participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

(eōn, eont-)
fem. (eousa)
(ōn, ont-)
fem. (ousa)

Italic languages


Except for Latin, the older Italic languages
Italic languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

 are very scarcely attested, but we have in Oscan
Oscan language
Oscan is a term used to describe both an extinct language of southern Italy and the language group to which it belonged.The Oscan language was spoken by a number of tribes, including the Samnites, the Aurunci, the Sidicini, and the Ausones. The latter three tribes were often grouped under the name...

 set (they are), fiiet (they become), fufans (they have been) and fust (he will be), and in Umbrian
Umbrian language
Umbrian is an extinct Italic language formerly spoken by the Umbri in the ancient Italian region of Umbria. Within the Italic languages it is closely related to the Oscan group and is therefore associated with it in the group of Osco-Umbrian languages...

 sent (they are). This section will explain Latin, and the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 that have evolved from it.

In Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, Galician-Portuguese
Galician-Portuguese
Galician-Portuguese or Old Portuguese was a West Iberian Romance language spoken in the Middle Ages, in the northwest area of the Iberian Peninsula. It was first spoken in the area bounded in the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and the Douro River in the south but it was later extended south...

 and to a lesser extent, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 there are two parallel paradigms, ser/èsser/essere from Latin esse "to be" on one hand, and estar/stare from Latin stare, "to stand" on the other.

For simplicity, the table below has only the full conjugation of the present tense, and the first-person singular forms of some other tenses.
  Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

Infinitive esse stāre estre ester être ser estar essere stare ser estar ser, ésser estar fi
Present indicative sum
es
est
sumus
estis
sunt
stō
stās
stat
stāmus
stātis
stant
suis
es
est
sommes
estes
sont
este
estes
este
estons
estez
estent
suis
es
est
sommes
êtes
sont
soy
eres
es
somos
sois
son
estoy
estás
está
estamos
estáis
están
sono
sei
è
siamo
siete
sono
sto
stai
sta
stiamo
state
stanno
sou
és
é
somos
sois
são
estou
estás
está
estamos
estais
estão
sóc
ets
és
som
sou
són
estic
estàs
està
estem
esteu
estan
sunt
eşti
este
suntem
sunteţi
sunt
Present subjunctive sim stem sois este sois sea esté sia stia seja esteja sigui estigui fiu
Preterite fuī stetī fus estai fus, ai été fui estuve fui stetti fui estive fui estiguí fusei
Imperfect eram stābam ier estais étais era estaba ero stavo era estava era estava eram
Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

erō stābō serai esterai serai seré estaré sarò starò serei estarei seré estaré voi fi
Past participle   stātum   esté été sido estado stato stato sido estado estat / sigut
(dialect)
estat fost


In several modern Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

, the perfect is a compound tense formed with the participle as in English, but the old Latin perfect survives as a commonly-used preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

 in Spanish and Portuguese, and as a literary "past historic" in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Italian and Catalan.

There is a tendency for a past participle derived from stare (or more specifically its supine, statum) to replace that of the main copula derived from esse. For example, the French participle été comes from statum.

For further information, see the main article.

Germanic languages



  Old Norse Icelandic Faroese Danish/
Norwegian
Bokmål
Old Swedish Swedish Old English English Old High German German Dutch Afrikaans Gothic
Infinitive
Infinitive
In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives...

vera vera vera være vara vara wesan bēon be wesan sein zijn / wezen wees wisan
Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...


indicative
em
ert (est)
er (es)
erum
eruð
eru
er
ert
er
erum
eruð
eru
er
ert
er
eru
eru
eru
er
er
er
er
er
er
æm/ær
æst
ær
ærum
ærin
æru
är
är
är
är (äro)
är (ären)
är (äro)
eom
eart
is
sint
sint
sint
bēo
bist
biþ
bēoþ
bēoþ
bēoþ
am
art
is
are
are
are
bim, bin
bist
ist
birum, bir(e)n
birut, bir(e)t
sint
bin
bist
ist
sind
seid
sind
ben
bent/zijt
is
zijn
zijn/zijt
zijn
 
 
is
 
 
 
im
is
ist
sijum
sijuþ
sind
Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...


subjunctive
sjá
sér

sém
séð

sért

séum
séuð
séu
veri
veri
veri
veri
veri
veri
 
 
være (rare)
 
 
 
 
 
sē(i)/vari
 
 
sēi(n)/vari(n)
 
 
vare (rare)
 
 
 
sīe
sīe
sīe
sīen
sīen
sīen
bēo
bēo
bēo
bēon
bēon
bēon
 
 
be
 
 
 

sīs(t)

sīm, sīn
sī(n)t
sīn
sei
sei(e)st
sei
seien
sei(e)t
seien
zij
zij/zijt
zij
zijn
zijn/zijt
zijn
 
 
is
 
 
 
sijau
sijais
sijai
sijaima
sijaiþ
sijaina
Preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...


indicative
var
varst
var
várum
várið
váru
var
varst
var
vorum
voruð
voru
var
vart
var
vóru
vóru
vóru
var
var
var
var
var
var
var
vast
var
vārum
vārin
vāru
var
var
var
var (voro)
var (voren)
var (voro)
wæs
wǽre
wæs
wǽron
wǽron
wǽron
was
wast
was
were
were
were
was
wāri
was
wārum
wārut
wārun
war
warst
war
waren
wart
waren
was
was/waart
was
waren
waren/waart
waren
 
 
was
 
 
 
was
wast
was
wēsum
wēsuþ
wēsun
Preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...


subjunctive
væra
værir
væri
værim
værið
væri
væri
værist
væri
værim
værið
væri
væri
væri
væri
væri
væri
væri
var
var
var
var
var
var
 
 
vāri
 
 
vāri(n)
vore
vore
vore
vore
vore (-en)
vore
wǽre
wǽre
wǽre
wǽren
wǽren
wǽren
were
wert
were
were
were
were
wāri
wārīs
wāri
wārīm
wārīt
wārīn
wäre
wärest
wäre
wären
wäret
wären
ware
ware/waart
ware
waren
waren/waart
waren
 
 
was
 
 
 
wēsjau
wēseis
wēsi
wēseima
wēseiþ
wēseina
Past participle verit verið verið været (Norw: vært) varin varit been giwesan gewesen geweest gewees  


Old English kept the verbs wesan and bēon separate throughout the present stem, though it is not clear that they made the kind of consistent distinction in usage that we find, for example in Spanish. In the preterite, however, the paradigms fell together. Old English has no participle for this verb.

Slavic languages

Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

Slovenian
Slovenian language
Slovene or Slovenian is a South Slavic language spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 1.85 million people and is one of the 23 official and working languages of the European Union...

Infinitive būtī бути, buty być být byť biti biti
Present jesmĭ
jesi
jestĭ
jesmŭ
jeste
sǫtĭ
єсмь, jesm' / емь, em'
єси, jesy
є, je / єсть, jest'
смо, smo
сте, ste
суть, sut'
(arch. exc. 3sg as "there is")





jestem, -m
jesteś, -ś
jest
jesteśmy, -śmy
jesteście, -ście
jsem
jsi
je
jsme
jste
jsou
som
si
je
sme
ste
jesam, sam/budem*
jesi, si/budeš
jest, je/bude
jesmo, smo/budemo
jeste, ste/budete
jesu, su/budu





sem
si
je
sva / smo
sta / ste
sta / so
Imperfect

běaše


běaxǫ
by(wa)?ł[ea]m
by(wa)?ł[ea]ś
by(wa)?ła?
by(wa)?(li|ły)śmy
by(wa)?(li|ły)ście
by(wa)?(li|ły)
jsem byl
jsi byl
byl
jsme byli
jste byli
byli
som bol
si bol
bol
sme boli
ste boli
boli
bijah, b(j)eh
bijaše, b(j)eše
bijaše, b(j)eše
bijasmo, b(j)esmo
bijaste, b(j)este
bijahu, b(j)ehu





sem bil
si bil
je bil
sva bila / smo bili
sta bila/ ste bili
sta bila / so bili
Imperfective aorist běxŭ


běxomŭ
*běste
běšę





Future bǫdǫ
bǫdeši
bǫdetŭ
bǫdemŭ
bǫdete
bǫdǫtŭ
буду, budu
будеш, budeš
буде(ть), bude(t')
будемо, budemo
будете, budete
будуть, budut'





będę
będziesz
będzie
będziemy
będziecie
będą
budu
budeš
bude
budeme
budete
budou
budem
budeš
bude
budeme
budete
budú
biću /biti ću
bićeš
biti ćeš
biće/biti će
bićemo/biti ćemo
bićete/biti ćete
biće/biti će





Imperative
bǫdi
bǫdi
bǫděmŭ
bǫděte
bǫdǫ

будь, bud'
будь, bud'
будьмо, budĭmo
будьте, bud'te
будуть, budut'






bywaj/bądź

bywajmy/bądźmy
bywajcie/bądźcie
-
buď
-
buďme
buďte
-
-
buď
-
buďme
buďte
-

budi
(neka bude)
budimo
budite
(neka budu)







bodi
naj bo
bodiva / bodimo
bodita / bodite
naj bosta / naj bodo
Perfective aorist byxŭ
by(stŭ)
by(stŭ)
byxomŭ
byste
byšę
bych
bys
by
bychom
byste
by
bih
bi
bi
bismo
biste
biše





Present participle sy m.
sǫšti f.
sy n.
будучий, budučyj m.
будуча, buduča f.
будуче, buduče n.
m.
f.
n.
będący m.
będąca f.
będące n.
budoucí m.
budoucá f.
budouce n.
budúci m.
budúca f.
budúce n.
budući m.
buduća f.
buduće n.
Resultative participle bylŭ m.
byla f.
bylo n.
(used as past tense)
m.
f.
n.
pl.
był m.
była f.
było n.
byl m.
byla f.
bylo n.
bol m.
bola f.
bolo n.


Past active participle byvŭ m.
byvŭši f.
byvŭ n.
m. (‘former’ adj.)
f.
n.

  • In Serbo-Croatian the forms jesam, jesi, jeste and so on are used as the basic form of the Present Tense "to be" (i.e. I am, you are etc.), while the forms budem, budeš, bude etc. are used only for the formation of the Future Perfect.

Baltic languages

Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

Latvian
Latvian language
Latvian is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language...

Old Prussian
Infinitive būti būt
Present esu, esmi (rare), būnu (rare)
esi, būni (rare)
yra, esa (rare), būna (rare)
esam(e), būname (rare)
esate, būnate (rare)
yra, esti (rare), esa (rare), būna (rare)
esmu, esu (rare)
esi
ir
esam
esat
ir
Past simple buvau
buvai
buvo
buvom
buvote
buvo
biju
biji
bija
bijām
bijāt
bija
Perfect bijis
bijis
bijusi (f), bijis (m)
bijuši
bijuši
bijušas (f), bijuši (m)
Future būsiu
būsi
bus
būsim
būsite
bus
būšu
būsi
būs
būsim
būsiet, būsit (rare)
ir
Imperative
būk

būkime
būkite
esiet, būsiet (second person plural)
Dubitative esot, būšot
Conditional būtu

Celtic languages


In the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 there is a distinction between the so-called substantive verb, used when the predicate was an adjective phrase or prepositional phrase, and the so-called copula, used when the predicate was a noun.

The conjugation of the Old Irish
Old Irish language
Old Irish is the name given to the oldest form of the Goidelic languages for which extensive written texts are extant. It was used from the 6th to the 10th centuries, by which time it had developed into Middle Irish....

 and Middle Welsh
Middle Welsh language
Middle Welsh is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 14th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This form of Welsh developed from Old Welsh....

 verbs is as follows:
Old Irish substantive verb Old Irish copula Middle Welsh
Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

(at)·tó
(at)·taí
(at)·tá
(at)·taam
(at)·taïd
(at)·taat
am
at
is
ammi
adib
it
wyf
wyt
yw, mae, taw, oes
ym
ych
ynt, maen(t)
Preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

·bá
·bá
·boí
·bámmar
·baid
·bátar
basa
basa
ba
bommar
unattested
batar
buum
buost
bu
buam
buawch
buant
Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

bia
bie
bieid, ·bia
beimmi, ·biam
bethe, ·bieid
bieit, ·biat
be
be
bid
bimmi
unattested
bit
bydaf
bydy
byd
bydwn
bydwch
bydant


The forms of the Old Irish present tense of the substantive verb, as well as Welsh taw, come from the PIE root *stā-. The other forms are from the roots *es- and *bhū-. Welsh mae originally meant "here is" (cf. yma 'here').

Irish and Scottish Gaelic


In modern Gaelic, person inflections have almost disappeared, but the negative and interrogative are marked by distinctive forms. In Irish, particularly in the south, person inflections are still very common for the tá/bhí series.
The Verb Bí
Scottish Gaelic Irish
Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

affirmative
interrogative
negative
negative interrogative
tha
a bheil
chan eil
nach eil
tá (1 táim, 2 táir, 3 tá, 1pl táimíd, 2pl (archaic) táthaoi, 3pl táid)
an bhfuil
níl (ní fhuil)
nach bhfuil (1 fuilim, 2 fuilir, 3 fuil, 1pl fuilimíd-fuileam, 2pl (archaic) fuiltaoi, 3pl fuilid)
Past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

affirmative
interrogative
negative
negative interogative
bha
an robh
cha robh
nach robh
bhí (1 bhíos, 2 bhís, 3 bhí, 1pl bhiomair, 2pl bhíobhair, 3pl bhíodar)
an raibh
ní raibh
nach raibh (1 rabhas, 2 rabhais, 3 raibh, 1pl rabhamair, 2pl rabhabhair, 3pl rabhadar)
Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

affirmative
interogative
negative
negative interogative
bidh (or "bithidh")
am bi
cha bhi
nach bi
beidh (1 bead, 2 beir, 3 beidh, 1pl beimíd, 2pl beidh sibh, 3pl beid)
an mbeidh
ní bheidh
nach mbeidh

The Copula
Scottish Gaelic Irish
Before a consonant Before a vowel Before a consonant Before a vowel
Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

affirmative
interrogative
negative
negative interrogative
is


is
an

nach
is
an

nach
Past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

/Conditional
Conditional mood
In linguistics, the conditional mood is the inflectional form of the verb used in the independent clause of a conditional sentence to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances...

affirmative
interrogative
negative
negative interrogative
bu


ba
ar
níor
nár
b'
arbh
níorbh
nárbh


Gaelic (bh)eil and Irish (bh)fuil are from Old Irish fuil, originally an imperative meaning "see!" (PIE root *wel-, also in Welsh gweled, Germanic wlitu- "appearance", and Latin voltus "face"), then coming to mean "here is" (cf. French voici < vois ci and voilà < vois là), later becoming a suppletive dependent form
Dependent and independent verb forms
In the Goidelic languages, dependent and independent verb forms are distinct verb forms; each tense of each verb exists in both forms. Verbs are often preceded by a particle which marks negation, or a question, or has some other force. The dependent verb forms are used after a particle, while...

 of at-tá. Gaelic robh and Modern Irish raibh are from the perfective particle ro (ry in Welsh) plus ba (lenited after ro).

Modern Welsh


The present tense in particular shows a split between the North and the South. Though the situation is undoubtedly more complicated, King (2003) notes the following variations in the present tense as spoken (not as written according to the standard orthography):
Affirmative (I am) Interrogative (Am I?) Negative (I am not)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
North First Person
Second Person —,
Third Person
South First Person , —
Second Person —,
Third Person


Note that, for example, the spoken first person singular dw i'n is a contraction of the formal written yr ydwyf fi yn . The Welsh F /v/ is the fricative analogue of the nasal /m/, the PIE suffix consonsant for the first person singular.
Affirmative (I am) Interrogative (Am I?) Negative (I am not)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Preterite First Person
Second Person
Third Person
Imperfect First Person
Second Person
Third Person
Future First Person
Second Person
Third Person


also has a conditional, for which there are two stems. The bas- stem is more common in the North, and the bydd- stem is more common in the South:
Affirmative Interrogative Negative
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person
Second Person
Third Person
First Person
Second Person
Third Person

Armenian


The Classical Armenian present tense derives from PIE *- (cf. sg. , , ; 3rd pl. ).
  present
1st sg. em
2nd sg. es
3rd sg. ē
1st pl. emkʿ
2nd pl. ēkʿ
3rd pl. en

Albanian


The Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 copula shows two distinct roots. The present jam ‘I am’ is an athematic root stem built from PIE *. The imperfect continues the same root, with the singulars from the PIE imperfect and the plurals from the optative. The perfect, on the other hand, comes from the thematic aorist of PIE *- ‘turn’ (cf. Ancient Greek épleto ‘he turned’, Armenian eɫew ‘he became’, Old Irish cloïd ‘turns back, defeats’).
  PIE present PIE → PAlb imperfect (Cham dialect) PIE → PAlb perfect
1st sg. *h₁ésmi jam *h₁és-m̥ → ésa isha (jeshë) *kʷleu-s-m̥ → klesa qeshë
2nd sg. *h₁ési je *h₁és-e-t → éset ishë (jeshë) *kʷleu-s → kles qe
3rd sg. *h₁ésti është *h₁és-t → ést ish *kʷleu-t → klet qe
1st pl. *h₁s-méi jemi *h₁es-ī́me → esīm ishim (jeshëm) *kʷleu-mé → kleme qemë
2nd pl. *esi (2nd sg.) + -ni jeni *h₁es-ī́te → esīt ishit (jeshëtë) *kʷleu-té → klete qete
3rd pl. *h₁s-nti janë *h₁es-íjnt → esīnt ishin (ishnë) *kʷleu-nti → klenti qenë

Footnotes