Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)


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Proto-Indo-European roots of ACs. A thorough examination of the nature and function of absolute constructions in Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. Ta kontakt med Kundesenteret. Avbryt Send e-post. By examining the nature and function of ACs and related constructions in Greek, Latin and Sanskrit, this new study arrives at a clear and simple definition of ACs. Les mer. The speaker can rely on the fact that when hearing or reading a decree the hearer cannot fail to grasp the conveyed meaning of the utterance.

To borrow a term from Du Bois , the hearer aligns to the situation forced upon him by the speaker, and there is no doubt that the discourse succeeds as intended by the speaker. Still, assuming that hearers and speakers parse utterances on the premise that meaning is essentially compositional, 23 the hearer has to decide what part of the utterance the deontic reading is tied to. And since 16 is a bridging context, he has two options. He may analyze the sentence exactly as intended and infer a modal side meaning of the verb type 2.

In this case, nothing changes. But he may also classify the verb as type 1. The deontic modality, then, must be associated with the AcI. As a consequence, the communication remains felicitous and the reanalysis goes unnoticed. This miscategorization, then, accounts for the deontic modality of the unembedded AcI. But how did it turn into a matrix infinitive? The answer lies with the hearer turned speaker. The AcI started out as a device to encode subordination. This conventionalization then leads to grammaticalization, as the former GCI turns into the primary function of the AcI in the genre of legal inscriptions and treaties in general.

As a consequence, the old function, subordination, which is still very much alive outside legal contexts, is demoted. This demotion together with the newly established firm connection of the AcI with deontic modality finally opens up new vistas for syntax. Since subordination is no longer at the core of the construction, it can now be used outside of embedding. The result is a construction in direct competition with the imperative, i. The actuation sketched here is a hypocorrection. The speaker invites an inference which can potentially be attached to the embedding verb and to the embedded structure alike.

Thus, he generates ambiguity, but he does so involuntarily. The change is clearly not speaker-invited. Still, the structural ambiguity forces the hearer to decide between two possible analyses. Thus, it is hearer-based. This scenario resembles quite strongly the hypocorrection leading to perceptual metathesis. In both cases, the information offered by the speaker is correctly perceived by the hearer: he processes cues for the lowered F 3 of rhotics, and likewise he infers deontic modality.

In both cases, however, the exact location of the information is dubious. Lowered F 3 is elongated, and it is unclear if it is associated with a segment in the coda or rather in the onset. Likewise, the implicature can be associated both with the embedding verb and the AcI without any difference in meaning. In both cases the change is essentially triggered by channel bias, although it has analytic overtones. With metathesis, it is the a priori knowledge that lowered F 3 must be tied to one segment. With the AcI, it is the premise that semantics is essentially compositional: deontic modality has to be encoded somewhere.

The proposed shift from mere subordination to deontic modality and the subsequent de-embedding have a striking typological parallel in German sentences like 17 : Sentences like 17 , however, lack the embedding verb. Remarkably, they remain verb-final and thus still look like subordinate clauses.

Like their Greek counterpart, they have a clear deontic reading which is not part of the original semantics of dass -embedding. Both observations clearly point to a scenario similar to the Greek one: the construction started out under embedding and acquired its semantics due to a hearer-induced reanalysis. So far, the current proposal suggests embedding under verba dicendi as the point of origin for the development of unembedded AcI. The verb is mostly used as a formulaic opening syntactically independent of the rest of the inscription.

But as with other verbs mostly attested in formulaic use, examples where the verb still clearly embeds an infinitive do exist. Lexically, the verb denotes epistemic modality. Examples for an epistemic reading abound from the Iliad onwards. Additional evidence comes from the fact that it is quite straightforward to derive the stronger deontic reading attested in 19 from the weaker epistemic one than vice versa.

In the type exemplified by this example, it is again the context which makes it possible for the speaker to convey deontic modality as an additional side meaning. Unembedded AcI are just one case of hearer-induced grammaticalization. Another striking example are absolute constructions.

In the following, I sketch a possible scenario for the Greek genitive absolute, following the basic ideas put forward in Lowe , which, although intended to account for the Vedic locative absolute, can be applied to the Greek data nicely. The Greek genitive absolute presupposes case syncretism, thus slightly obscuring the origins of the construction Keydana 74— Nonetheless, a possible scenario can be given within the Greek system. I follow Lowe and Ruppel in assuming that the construction originated in adnominal participles denoting natural phenomena like the rising of the sun or the advent of seasons.

Since genitives have a temporal use in Greek, a form like g. An example for this use can be found in the 19th Homeric hymn:. As such, it has a nonrestrictive reading.

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The whole NP thus refers to spring as one holistic entity. In the following example, however, the modifier is clearly restrictive:. The sentence, however, is ambiguous and lends itself to an alternative analysis. Rather, it forces a reanalysis with a sentence-like structure where the participle heads the phrase. This, then, is the absolute construction. Ambiguous sentences like 21 are thus a probable source of the emergence of the genitive absolute. The scenario developed here parallels exactly the one proposed above for the unembedded AcI, where the starting point for the reanalysis is a bridging context.

As with the AcI in deontic contexts, the speaker intends one reading, namely early spring as one manifestation of spring.

Cambridge Classical Studies

As a consequence, this forces him to assume a different syntactic representation. The reanalysis goes unnoticed, since the discourse remains felicitous under the new interpretation. The moment the hearer turns speaker, however, the new construction becomes manifest—at least if used in unambiguous contexts.

Absolute constructions are thus another example of hearer-induced grammaticalization. It is undisputed that the embedded AcI in deontic contexts is the source of the unembedded AcI. In decrees and other unambiguous contexts, the message intended by the speaker can easily be conveyed without relying exclusively on lexical meaning. The speaker is thus allowed to invite an inference without risking pragmatic overload.

The hearer, on the other hand, is supposed to infer the invited inference that the embedding verb conveys a deontic meaning in spite of its lexical semantics. However, he misparses the implicature: instead of attributing the deontic modality to the embedding verb, he associates it with the AcI. Nonetheless, the reanalysis has significant consequences the moment the hearer conventionalizes the implicature.

As soon as the deontic modality is tied to the AcI, this construction can be used to denote just that and is no longer restricted to use in embedded constructions. Conventionalization thus leads to syntactic change. A similar type of hypocorrection lies at the heart of absolute constructions. Thus, both developments point in the same direction: at least some types of grammaticalization and at least some types of sound change work exactly alike. It remains to be seen if it is possible to develop a unified theory of actuation covering both phenomena. Purpose clauses and control.

Jacobson and G. Pullum Eds. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Editorial Reviews

Maier Unembedded indirect discourse. Etxeberria, A. Irurtzun, and B. Leferman Eds. Trousdale Cycles and continua: on unidirectionality and gradualness in language change. Nevalainen and E. Traugott Eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Evolutionary Phonology. The emergence of sound patterns.

cojobocile.tk: Cambridge Classical Studies series

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Garrett The evolution of metathesis. Hayes, R. Kirchner, and D. Steriade Eds. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.


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  • Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European by Antonia Ruppel (Hardback, 2012)?

Die Nominalsuffixe. The stance triangle. Englebretson Ed. Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction , pp. Mycenean anthology. Duhoux and A. Morpurgo Davies Eds. Mycenean Greek Texts and their World. Louvain-La-Neuve: Peeters. APO : Avoid pragmatic overload. Mosegaard Hansen and J. Visconti Eds. Bingley: Emerald. Grammaticalization and semantic reanalysis.

Heusinger, C. Maienborn, and P. Portner Eds. Mouton de Gruyter. Insubordination and its uses. Nikolaeva Ed. Watanabe Eds. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Benjamins. Its subject matter is patently too unwieldy for a doctoral dissertation, and one questions the wisdom of the 'Supervisor Better Than Which None Can Be' p. This is a book to be consulted in the university library for all except those setting out to work specifically on absolute constructions.

Bostock's review. Format: Hardcover. Beware of reviewers who use patronizing language when commenting on the work of women scholars. As for the work in question: This book should appeal to anyone who knows the value of good pedagogy in the continuing study of dead languages and in the exciting yet difficult process of language reconstruction. See both reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)
    Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies) Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge Classical Studies)

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