If we take a look at the conjugation of many Romance languages, we will see that their forms come from Latin. However there are some peculiarities.

If we just look at French and Spanish, we will see that, in the 2nd person singular, the verbs have a common "-s" ending (tu parles). However, Italian does not. Instead, it has an "-i" ending (tu lasci).

So, why do we have the "-i" ending instead of the "-s" ending then? Is it due to some phonetic changes? Could someone could give me an example of how the verbs in this form changed over time?

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    Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 20:18
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    Thanks for an interesting question and welcome to Italian SE! Not an answer, just a general thought: (almost) all Italian words end with a vowel. I can imagine Italians borrowing the words and their forms from Latin and just thinking that the consonant endings sounded too harsh. The -i or other vocalized endings make the speech more fluent, gracious, easy to pronounce and to listen.
    – I.M.
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 20:33
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    It's true that French has retained the -s ending, but only in writing (and in the liaison)! This applies to Andalusian and Cuban Spanish too (except for the liaison). Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 21:22
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    Furthermore I'm told by the Wikipedia article on Andalusian Spanish that the Eastern dialects, including Murcian Spanish, display "lowering" of vowels in contact with an omitted /s/, /θ/ or /x/ in the coda, so that las casas becomes [læ̞ ˈkæ̞sæ̞]. Except for the second [æ̞], which stems from a vowel harmony process, this is similar to what I immagine has happened to Italian: omitting a consonantal grammatical marker caused another marker to be necessary, in this case a vocalic one. Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Many Classic Latin words end with a consonant, mostly -m, -t and -s. While in Florentine generally the final -m and -t have disappeared, most words in -s have seen their final vowel changed due a phenomenon called palatalization. Specifically, verbs from the first three Latin conjugations have seen their ending -s transforming their final vowel to -i, e.g.:

  • from cant-as to cant-i
  • from persuad-es to persuad-i
  • from vend-is to vend-i

In the verbs from the fourth Latin conjugation, the ending -s disappeared:

  • from ven-is to ven-i

Also, for the verbs of the 1st conjugation in old Florentine texts we can sometime find the intermediate ending in -e:

  • from cant-as through cant-e to cant-i

Please note that while this phenomenon can be observed not only in standard Italian, but also in other Italian languages (e.g. Sicilian, Neapolitan), there are Italian languages which have kept the ending in -s, e.g. Sardinian (cantas), Friulan (favelis).

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    Welcome to Italian.SE, @aledeniz!
    – Charo
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 9:31
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    Shouldn't veni actually be vieni?
    – iBug
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 16:03

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