Take the 2-minute tour ×
Italian Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Italian language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What's the origin of the rule that composes the adverbial forms finishing in -mente (e.g. velocemente, normalmente, assolutamente, diversamente etc).

Is it somehow connected to mente (Latin mens, English mind) substantive?

share|improve this question
2  
I took the liberty of correcting absolutamente in assolutamente, and of substituting diversamente for altrimente (which is an ancient form for present-day altrimenti). –  DaG Dec 15 '13 at 15:37
    
@DaG why did you correct "altrimente" with "diversamente" and not "altrimenti"? –  martina Dec 15 '13 at 15:41
1  
@martina: Simply because, even if its etymology is the same, not being a word in “-mente” it could be a bit confusing. –  DaG Dec 15 '13 at 15:44
    
This is a very interesting question with two very interesting answers! –  randomatlabuser Jan 1 at 10:42
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, it is. It continues the ablative form of Latin mens, which is indeed mente. So felicemente would have started meaning something like “in a happy state of mind.” (See for example the Treccani article about “-mente”.)

share|improve this answer
add comment

You are on the right track. It is indeed true that those words ending in -mente, which are always adverbs derived from adjectives, take their origin in the Latin mens (mind, but also spirit, intelligence, thought).

This is because in Latin itself, a construction like "A + mente" meant "with an A mind," where A is an adjective.

Starting from this, the word mente came, in Italian, to be attached directly to the adjective to create a new adverb.

Sources

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.