Root, stem and base
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The body of a word, to which the terminations are attached, is called the Stem. The Stem contains the idea of the word without relations; but, except in the first part of a compound (like Ndher-lendhoms, the Low Lands or Netherlands), it cannot ordinarily be used without some termination to express them.
Thus the stem owi- denotes sheep; adding an-s it becomes owis, a sheep or the sheep, as the subject or agent of an action; with -os it becomes owios, and signifies of a sheep or of the sheep.
- The word Europaio is used in English, but in Europaio itself the language name is Europaiom, the Europaio (n.). Europaio is only the Stem, not declined.
A Root is the simplest form attainable by analysis of a word into its component parts. Such a form contains the main idea of the word in a very general sense, and is common also to other words either in the same language or in kindred languages.
Thus the root of the stem bhanio, show, is bha, which does not necessary mean to show, or I show, or showing, but merely expresses vaguely the idea of showing, and possibly cannot be used as a part of speech without terminations. With -ti it becomes bherti, he/she/it carries.
- The Europaio is a very old language, and this has an obvious consequence on the general assertion that roots don't mean anything. In fact, many Europaio roots mean something, even without adding a single ending. So, for example, the English word special has a root *spec (also root of words like speculate or species) which expresses vaguely the idea of looking. In Europaio, the word spekialis, special, coexists with its root spek, to observe. The lack of roots' meaning is due to language evolution, which blurs the original meanings. Many roots had probably ceased to be recognized as such before IE III - although less as in the derived, modern languages. Consequently, many of the forms which are logical Europaio roots never really existed independently in IE III, but represent forms used earlier.
- In inflected languages as Europaio, words are built up from Roots, which at a very early time were possibly used alone to express ideas (for some this happened already in PIE, for others in an older ancestor). Roots are then modified into Stems, which, by inflection, become fully formed words. The process by which roots are modified, in the various forms of derivatives and compounds, is called stem-building. The whole of this process is originally one of composition, by which significant endings are added one after another to forms capable of pronunciation and conveying a meaning.
The Stem may be the same as the root; as, wlqo!, wolf! (vocative), bher, to carry (infinitive); but it is more frequently formed from the root.
- By changing or lengthening its vowel: bhr-e-t, he carried.
- By the addition of a simple suffix: dem-s-pot despot.
- By two or more of this methods: wr-dho-m, word.
- By derivation and composition, following the laws of development peculiar to the language, which we will see in the corresponding chapters.
The Base is that part of a word which is unchanged in inflection: as, wlq- in wlqos; wrdh- in wrdhom, etc.
- The Base and the Stem are often identical, as in many consonant stems of nouns (as ag- in ag-o). If, however, the stem ends in a vowel, the latter does not appear in the base, but is variously combined with the inflectional termination. Thus the stem of wlqos is wlqo-; that of wrdhos, wrdho-;
Inflectional terminations are modified differently by combination with the final vowel or consonant of the Stem, and the various forms of Declension and Conjugation are so developed.
- Quiles Casas, Carlos, Europaio: A Brief Grammar of the European Language, Vol. 1, Dnghu, 2006, ISBN 84-689-7727-6