One of the common features of the Italic and Celtic branches is the merger of perfect and aorist. So, in the surviving "perfect" forms we find a mixture of old aorist stems and old perfect stems.

Here I want to know, how parallel this merger was. Of course, for such kind of syncretism some roughness and irregularities are expected, one stem wins over the other in one dialect, but not in the other. However, there should be a large amount of stems where the choices in Italic and Celtic are the same.

Are there some quantitative studies on this topics, and what are the main results? Can a Proto-Italo-Celtic perfect be reconstructed for a large portion of verbs? Or, to the contrary, is it a convergent process happening independently twice in the history of the languages?

  • Interesting question. It is at least partly a parallel process given that there's variation even within attested Italic, e.g. FHEFHAKED on the Praeneste fibula for later fecit.
    – TKR
    Mar 26, 2021 at 22:09
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    There is also the fact that the old PIE aorist s-subjunctive ended up yielding the s-subjunctive in Old Irish (at least if you believe McCone, which, on this particular issue, I do), which implies that its semantics were more aorist-like than perfect-like much later than any common Italo-Celtic stage. Mar 27, 2021 at 12:32
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    @TKR The fhefhaked/fecit thing is probably a later simplification of the chosen perfect stem. Latin was already losing reduplication, and that process continued to the modern Romance languages. Mar 27, 2021 at 16:14
  • Well, well. Last I heard, the fibula was a forgery. It seems I'm out of date. Thank you.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 27, 2021 at 16:27
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    The fibula is genuine, but it was suspected for a long time that the inscription was a forgery. Current consensus seems to be that the inscription is also genuine. Mar 27, 2021 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


You might be interested in reading this book:
on the whole, Garnier shows that Latin reflects a number of innovations rooted in a fairly archaic state of affairs. Garnier does not deal with Celtic in his book, but, judging from what he describes in his book, it is dubious that the innovations of Latin would be parallel to those of Celtic.

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