There are three regular conjugations, distinguished (as in Latin) according to the termination of the present infinitive in a, e or i; e.g.
There are two conjugations; the passive formation, now wanting inmost Indo-European languages, has been retained, as in Greek; thus kerko-iy, " I seek," forms kerko-n -em, " I am sought."
In order to avoid the uncertainty arising from the lack of vowels to distinguish forms consisting of the same consonants (for the vowel-points were not yet invented), the aramaising use of the reflexive conjugations (Hithpa`el, Nithpa`el) for the internal passives (Pu'al, Hoph`al) became common; particles were used to express the genitive and other relations, and in general there was an endeavour to avoid the obscurities of a purely consonantal writing.
The latter acquired the Semitic language imperfectly from their conquerors; they expressed the verbal conjugations by periphrases, mispronounced the consonants, and so changed greatly, the appearance of the vocabulary, which also would certainly contain a large proportion of native nonSemitic roots.
Much of this must have taken place, according to the theory, in the prehistoric period; but the loss of weak consonants, of y, and of one of two repeated consonants, and the development of periphrastic conjugations continued to the end.
As in Provenal, the past participle of a large ntimber of verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations is formed, not from the infinitive, but from the perfect (pogut, volgut, tingut suggest the perfects poch, volch, tinch, and not the infinitives poder, voler, tenir).
Subsequently the perfect of the three conjugations has admitted forms in -r (anidres, amdrem, amdreu, amdren), derived from the ancient pluperfect amara, &c., which has held its ground down to the present day, with the meaning of a conditional in some verbs (one still hears fora, haguera).
In spoken Catalan is that in -i for all the three conjugations (ami, -is, -i, -em, -Cu -in; hems, -is, &c.; senti, -is, &c); it appears to be an abbreviation from -ia, and in effect certain subjunctives, such as cdntia, timia, tinguia, vinguia (for cante, tema, tinga, vingia), evidently formed upon sia (subj.
Of verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations has eva, iva instead of ia, a form which also occurs in the conditional (cantariva, drumiriva); the simple perfect, of which some types are still preserved in the actual language (e.g.
Imp. of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations in in for ien (Cast.