Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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9.2. Factors influencing the word order

Apart from the number of constituents, there are several other factors that influence the order of the constituents in a sentence. These factors in part involve the syntactic function, in part the pragmatic function of constituents within a sentence (or noun phrase). Furthermore, the lexical category (or categories) to which a constituent belongs and the internal structure of a constituent (e.g. its size and its internal complexity) can influence the word order. Finally, the sentence type (see chapter 10) also plays a role.

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9.2.1 Syntactic and pragmatic factors

English is usually considered a typical fixed word order language, in which syntax seems to play a predominant role. Thus, the order of the arguments with regard to the predicate seems to be quite fixed, as in (3):

(3) Mary gave the visitor a glass of milk [3]

Any inversion of this order would be strange, unless some situational or contextual element were to make a different order more appropriate. In English the finite verb has a kind of privileged position. The Subject normally precedes, and the two Objects follow. However, so-called fronting of non-Subject constituents is acceptable in certain pragmatic conditions. Quirk et al. (1985: 1377) mention (4):

(4) Most of these problems a computer could take in its stride

Here an Object constituent precedes the finite verb. As is suggested by the presence of these, the Object contains known, topical, information. A computer, as appears from the presence of the indefinite article, does not represent information introduced earlier.

From the examples given above it appears that also in English the word order is to some extent `free', in the sense that the flow of information contains as a rule certain factors that favour or necessitate a certain order. Our knowledge of English enables us to identify such factors. In this connection, intonation is an important element. For Latin, data concerning intonation are lacking, and consequently it is much more difficult exactly to determine which factors underlie a given word order. For this reason, a given word order often seems to be arbitrary, or the impression is created that anything is possible. Further research will have to show to what extent the diverging data on Latin word order can be explained on the basis of pragmatic factors such as those mentioned above, and to what extent, moreover, syntactic factors play a role. In crosssection 9.3. and crosssection 9.4. a number of aspects are discussed.

9.2.2 The influence of the lexical category and the internal structure of constituents

Constituents of different categories are subject to different placement rules. To connectors (igitur, itaque (`therefore'), etc.), for instance, other rules apply than to the – semantically closely related – anaphoric adverbs (ideo, idcirco (`for that reason'). Also igitur and itaque themselves are subject to different word order rules. Sometimes, for constituents belonging to different lexical categories different placement rules apply, even if they fulfil the same syntactic function in the sentence. To illustrate this I give two examples. An English example is (5):

(5) Mary gave to the visitor a glass of milk

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In many respects, this sentence is similar to (3); it differs in that here the function Indirect Object is fulfilled by a preposition phrase (to the visitor). This preposition phrase turns out to be more `mobile' than the constituent the visitor in (3), cf.:

(5') Mary gave a glass of milk to the visitor

(3') * Mary gave a glass of milk the visitor

Something similar may be said with regard to German. There arguments in the accusative occupy different positions in the same sentence with regard to other arguments, depending on whether a reflexive pronoun, another type of pronoun, a definite noun phrase or an indefinite noun phrase is involved.

Latin grammars occasionally pay attention to this phenomenon. For example, Purpose Adjuncts in Caes. Gal. behave differently, according to their syntactic category. Purpose Adjuncts of the type pacis petendae causa (`in order to ask for peace') precede the finite verbs, whereas Purpose Adjuncts in the form of a subordinate clause follow the finite verb. An example of the latter type is (6):

(6) Sittius est … missus ut eam provinciam perturbaret (`S. has been sent in order to stir up trouble in that province', Cic. Sul. 56)

Possibly, this difference in behaviour not only has to do with the difference in category (preposition phrase/subordinate clause), but also with the greater complexity of the Purpose clause, a factor that will be treated below. Another indication for the existence of differences in word order behaviour between constituents belonging to different categories may be found in the observation that the behaviour of embedded predications of the type AcI differs from that of the corresponding embedded predications in the form ut + subjunctive. [4]

The influence of the internal complexity of a constituent on the word order can be illustrated in more detail with the aid of the following examples:

(7a) ?John gave Peter a book that had received lavish praise from reviewer X in last week's TLS on his birthday

(7b) On his birthday John gave Peter a book that had received lavish praise from reviewer X in last week's TLS

(7c) John gave Peter a book on his birthday that had received lavish praise from reviewer X in last week's TLS

Owing to the length of the relative clause the Object constituent in (7a) is so `heavy', that this word order is generally avoided, although all syntactic and semantic rules have in principle been applied correctly. The speaker then has two alternatives. He may order the constituents in such a way that the whole Object constituent is placed at the end of the sentence (7b), or he splits up the Object constituent into two parts (thus forming a discontinuous constituent). The choice between (7b) and (7c) is in its turn determined by pragmatic

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factors. This is an example of a general tendency of languages to determine the placement of constituent in a sentence according to their complexity. In Latin, there are examples which point in the same direction, but one wonders whether the influence of internal complexity is as strong in Latin as in English: there are also quite a few counter examples. I first give two examples that are parallel to (7b) and (7c):

(8) illi mihi disseruisse videntur de poena eorum qui patriae, parentibus, aris atque focis suis bellum paravere (`They seem to me to have spoken of the punishment of those who have waged war against their own country, parents, shrines and homes', Sal. Cat. 52.3)

(9) allata est enim epistula Athenis ab Archino uni ex his Archiae, qui tum maximum magistratum Thebis obtinebat, in qua omnia de profectione eorum perscripta erant (`For then a letter was brought from Athens to one of them, Archias, who at the time held the highest office at Thebes, in which everything about their departure had been written down', Nep. Pel. 3.2)

Instances of discontinuity such as exemplified in (9) are avoided by `Classical' authors (see Sz. 692); also, the instances in which a constituent consisting of Head + relative clause is placed after the finite verb seems fewer than those in which such a complex constituent precedes the finite verb. Statistically, therefore, instances such as (10) predominate: [5]

(10) sed filii familiarum, quorum ex nobilitate maxuma pars erat, parentes interficerent (`But of a number of families the sons, largely belonging to the nobility, would kill their parents', Sal. Cat. 43.2)

That the tendency observed for English cannot simply be applied to Latin also becomes clear from the fact that ut-clauses occupy different positions in the sentence, depending on the question of whether argument or satellite clauses are involved. [6]

9.2.3 The influence of sentence type and the distinction main sentence/subordinate clause

In some languages, such as Dutch and German, there is a difference between the position of the finite verb in main sentences and subordinate clauses. Furthermore, in interrogative and imperative sentences in such languages the finite verb occupies a different position from that in declarative sentences. As for Latin, we know that in imperative and concessive sentences the finite verb is often placed at the beginning of the sentence (for examples see Sz. 403; K.–St. II.598–9). See (11):

(11) sit fur, sit sacrilegus, sit flagitiorum omnium vitiorumque princeps; at est bonus imperator … (`Let him be a thief, a profaner, a champion of all

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crimes and disgraceful acts; yet, he is a good leader', Cic. Ver. 5.4)

The same is often the case in interrogative clauses. For subordinate clauses this is less clear. For Caesar it has been demonstrated that in subordinate clauses finite verbs are placed at the end even more often than in main sentences (Sz. 403), but this is merely a difference of degree. In other authors, too, only a small difference has been found, which need not necessarily be related to the difference main sentence: subordinate clause. [7]

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Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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