Notes on Latin Verb Prefixes Study, Meaning Groups of “re-” Morpheme

Oğuz Albayrak


Question: Would it be possible to convert Latin prefix morphemes into unambiguous multiple morphemes that each have their own and one meaning? (A Latin based conlang playground)

What does the question mean? Let’s lead by example using inducere and invitus:

The in prefix of in-ducere denotes direction, and we keep it as inducere. We have a look at in-vitus (unwilling) and see that in prefix here has a different meaning, a negation. We make up another prefix un, to remove the ambiguity, and we create unvitus with the made up un- prefix (invented from English) to make the in- prefixed verbs distinguish into two certain meanings, in- and un- meanings. So meanings and prefix morphemes are one-to-one mapped, not many-to-one. The meaning is clear, there is no need for conscious/subconscious pattern matching.

Therefore, when you see the made up verb, you can guess the full meaning seeing the unvitus and inducere. They are now as intuitive as saying “in-lead” and “not-willing” instead of “inducere” and “invitus”.

Subquestion (Subject of this article): What are the Meaning Groups and Meanings of the re- Prefix?

Answer: The meaning groups and meanings of re- prefix are: (full investigation is at the bottom of the article, this is the result)

Back Meaning Group
- to the same place, example: re-curro (back-run)
- backwards, behind, example: re-cubo (backwards-lie), re-clino(backwards-lean), re-linquo (behind-leave)
- in-turn, example: re-d-do (in-turn-give)
- contra (back without initial move?), example: re-clamito (against-yell)
- un-/dis-, example: re-cludo (un-close, dis-close)

Again Meaning Group
- again, example: re-aedifico (re-build).
- abstract-repeat, example: re-formo (repeat-shap-ing). We shape again, but not to the same form. So shaping is repeated but not the same shaping. Another example: re-colloco (re-place-ing), we put again, but another thing this time, which results in the replacement.
- start again, example: re-bello (re-start-war, doesn’t have to complete)
- specialized repetition, repetition using something, example: re-cito (re-use-causetoexcite, recite)

Intensification Meaning Group
- further/deeper, example: re-cogito (deeper-consider)
- full
: example: re-farcio (full-cram)
- further, carrying into a different level: re-credo (out-believe), re-ferveo (up-boil)
- keep, example: re-tentio (keep-hold)

The Full Study

re-curro: run back (back-run)
re-cubo: lie back (backwards-lie)
re-clamito: re is used for against. (against-yell, contra-clamito)
relinquo: leave behind. a variation of back (behind-leave)
re-d-do: give back, in-turn. The actor changes. (in-turn-give)
re-curvo: re gives the meaning of backwards here. (backwards-bend)
re-cludo: to reopen, reveal. re is used as a replacement for un, or Latin in. (un-close)

re-aedifico: again meaning (re-build)
re-bello: start-again a war (re-start-war, action doesn’t have to complete)
re-tentio: continual meaning (keep-hold)
re-colloco: replace. the same action is repeated, but the objects are different so there is a replacement. (re-place-ing)
re-formo: the action is repeated only in the abstract sense. so what is repeated is actually different, but the verb is the same. (re-shape-ing)
re-cito: cito means call forth. re is used for again, the repetition is specialized, something known is used. (re-use-causetoexcite)

re-cogito: examine, reflect. Here re doesn’t only give the continual effect meaning, but it also gives sense of depth. (deeper-consider)
re-farcio: cram full. re gives the meaning of go further with the action to its full capacity. (full-cram)

re-credo: acknowledge, recognize, confess. re gives a meaning of going out with the credence action by also letting others know the credence. (out-believe)
re-ferveo: boil up. The action goes further by the meaning of increasing the magnitude of the result, or reaching to an overflowing state. (up-boil)

Same Prefix Different Types
re-fero: this is an interesting verb. The re prefix means different for different sub meanings. It can mean going further with the action and mean “make known officially” (out-bring), or “repeat” (re-bring), or “return/answer” (back-bring/back-process-bring) which are actually different usages of re so the verb behaves like different words.