Diacronia 8, October 7, 2018, A113 (1–11)doi:10.17684/i8A113en

Considerations to some forms of the verb a fi: sum and sunt

Gheorghe Chivu


  • Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, Str. Edgar Quinet 5–7, Sector 1, 010017 Bucharest, Romania
  • Romanian Academy, Calea Victoriei 125, Sector 1, 010071 Bucharest, Romania


Received June 4, 2018
Accepted June 9, 2018
Published October 7, 2018

Key words

Romanian literary norm
literary norm
cultured verbal forms


The history of the verbal forms sum and sunt, introduced into the literary writing by the Transylvanian Latinist School, reveals a winding process in the elaboration of certain cultured norms proper to the modern literary Romanian. Not at all linear, this process was concurrently influenced by two, often divergent, tendencies that were active from the end of the 18th century up to the beginning of the 20th century: the use of some cultured forms, borrowed from Latin or created according to Latin patterns; and the revitalization of certain linguistic forms with regional diffusion.

Initially proposed as literary pronunciations, the two verbal forms were soon adopted and used as etymological graphic forms that corresponded to sîm and suntu from certain conservative patois. During the second half of the 19th century (sum), and during the first decades of the 20th century (sunt), the two graphic forms became orthoepic norms as well, due to the phonological tradition of the Romanian writing.


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    Text:Chivu, Gh. (2018). Considerations to some forms of the verb a fi: sum and sunt, Diacronia 8 (October 7), A113 (1–11), http://dx.doi.org/10.17684/i8A113en
     author = {Gheorghe Chivu},
     title = {Considerations to some forms of the verb a fi: sum and sunt},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2018},
     month = {October},
     number = {8},
     eid = {A113},
     doi = {10.17684/i8A113en},
     pages = "(1–11)",
     url = {http://www.diacronia.ro/journal/issue/8/A113/en}


© 2018 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

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