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21. Latin is an inflected language.

Inflection is a change made in the form of a word to show its grammatical relations.

a. Inflectional changes sometimes take place in the body of a word, or at the beginning, but oftener in its termination:—

  1. vōx, a voice; vōcis, of a voice; vocō, I call; vocat, he calls; vocet, let him call; vocāvit, he has called; tangit, he touches; tetigit, he touched.

b. Terminations of inflection had originally independent meanings which are now obscured. They correspond nearly to the use of prepositions, auxiliaries, and personal pronouns in English.

Thus, in vocat , the termination is equivalent to he or she; in vōcis , to the preposition of; and in vocet the change of vowel signifies a change of mood.

c. Inflectional changes in the body of a verb usually denote relations of tense or mood, and often correspond to the use of auxiliary verbs in English:—

  1. frangit, he breaks or is breaking; frēgit, he broke or has broken; mordet, he bites; momordit, he bit. 1

1 The only proper inflections of verbs are those of the personal endings; and the changes here referred to are strictly changes of stem, but have become a part of the system of inflections.

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