Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
Previous Sub2Sect

Next Sub2Sect

12.2.1 Lexical cohesion

The simplest form of lexical cohesion is repetition of a noun (a proper noun, etc.) in the following sentence. Strictly speaking, in such cases there is no signal indicating the relation between the two sentences. We do not often encounter

-- 247 --

this simple form of lexical cohesion in Latin, perhaps owing to the literary nature of the extant texts. [7a] An example is (10):

(10) septimo die, cum iter non intermitteret, ab exploratoribus certior factus est Ariovisti copias a nostris milibus passuum quattuor et XX abesse. cognito Caesaris adventu Ariovistus legatos ad eum mittit (`On the seventh day of uninterrupted travel he was told by scouts that Ariovistus' troops were 24 miles away from ours. Having heard that Caesar was approaching, Ariovistus sent ambassadors to him', Caes. Gal. 1.41.5–42.1)

Instead of repetition of words, we also find synonyms. [8] Examples are metus/timor in (11) and concilium/conventus in (12):

(11) nam profecto aut metus aut iniuria te subegit, Silane, consulem designatum genus poenae novum decernere. de timore supervacaneum est disserere (`For surely, Silanus, it was either fear or the gravity of the offence which impelled you, a consul elect, to favour a novel form of punishment. As regards fear, it is needless to speak … ', Sal. Cat. 51.18–19)

(12) sic Siculorum civitatibus Syracusas aut Messanam aut Lilybaeum indicitur concilium: praetor Romanus conventus agit (`So a council of the Sicilian cities is called at Syracuse or Messina or Lilybaeum: the Roman praetor presides at the meeting', Liv. 31.29.8)

Another form of repetition is the use of homo, a `generic' or `empty' noun, practically equivalent to an anaphoric pronoun. [9] A neat example, particularly because an anaphoric pronoun follows, is (13):

(13) videt (Curio) … Verrem; appellat hominem et ei … gratulatur (`Curio sees Verres. He addresses the man and congratulates him', Cic. Ver. 19)

There are, furthermore, instances which do not only involve repetition, but also the addition of a new property. An extreme form is the occurrence– especially in poetry-of learned descriptions of persons, e.g. (14)–(15):

(14) illae Epicuri propriae ruinae: censet enim eadem illa individua et solida corpora ferri deorsum suo pondere ad lineam; hunc naturalem esse omnium corporum motum; deinde ibidem homo acutus … attulit rem commenticiam (`Now for Epicurus' own errors: for he thinks that those same indivisible and massive particles fall down vertically due to their own weight, saying that this is the natural movement of all bodies; at the same time, this wily man introduces another clever idea', Cic. Fin. 1. 18–19)

(15) speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem deveniunt (`Dido and the leader of the Trojans (viz. Aeneas) end up in the same cave', Verg. A. 4.165–6)

-- 248 --

Such forms of lexical repetition not only serve to mark the relation between noun phrases, but also, particularly in the case of action nouns, refer back to a preceding sentence or passage as a whole, see (16)–(17):

(16) nec ut iniustus in pace rex, ita dux belli pravus fuit; quin ea arte aequasset superiores reges (`As a leader in wartime he was as wicked as he was as king in times of peace; in this art he would even have surpassed the preceding kings', Liv. 1.53.1)

(17) (the speaker is Liscus) quin etiam quod necessario rem coactus Caesari enuntiarit, intellegere sese (sc. Liscus) quanto id cum periculo fecerit, et ob eam causam quam diu potuerit tacuisse. Caesar hac oratione Lisci Dumnorigem … designari sentiebat (` "As for the fact that he had reported the matter to Caesar under pressure, he understood very well how great a risk this entailed for him, and for that reason he had remained silent as long as possible". Caesar understood that with these words Liscus was referring to Dumnorix', Caes. Gal. 1.17.5–18.1)

In (17) the `universal' rem in Liscus' words refers back to his preceding words. [9a] Hac oratione refers back to Liscus' entire speech. Note that the action noun oratione is modified by an anaphoric pronoun. [10] This is often the case.

Above various forms of repetition have been discussed. A form of lexical cohesion that is more difficult to describe is that involving words belonging to the same `semantic domain' which are associated with one another if they occur in the same context. An example of this is the `associative anaphora' discussed in crosssection 6.7. on p. 94; see example (18):

(18) John has bought a house. The roof needs repair, but in general everything is in excellent condition.

The roof (note also the definite article in English) is, of course, associated with the house. See also example (19). Here Vitruvius is discussing the construction of baths and successively introduces the main constituent parts that can be regarded as `subtopics' of the main topic `bath', without anaphoric constituents:

(19a) nunc insequentur balineorum dispositionum demonstrationes (`Now follows the discussion of the construction of baths', Vitr. 5.9.9)

(19b) primum elegendus locus est … (`First a location must be selected', 5.10.1)

(19c) ipsa autem caldaria tepidariaque lumen habeant … (`The warm and tepid baths must have light', 5.10.1)

(19d) suspensurae caldariorum ita sunt faciendae … (`The suspended floors of the warm baths must be constructed as follows', 5.10.2)

(19e) concamarationes vero si ex structura factae fuerint, erunt utiliores (`The ceilings are better if made of masonry', 5.10.3)

-- 249 --

(19f) magnitudines autem balneorum … (`And the size of the baths … ', 5.10.4)

(19g) laconicum sudationesque sunt coniungendae tepidario (`The sweat baths must be connected with the tepid bath', 5.10.5)

Only in (19f) the fact that baths are concerned is explicitly mentioned. In the other sentences the fact that the italicized nouns serve as specifications of the general notion `bath' remains implicit.

A slightly different case is represented by words that are complementary with regard to one another, e.g. (20):

(20) video exadvorsum Pistoclerum et Bacchidem :: qui sunt in lecto illo altero? :: interii miser :: novistine hominem? (`I clearly see Pistoclerus and Bacchis :: Who are in that other bed? :: I am dead, woe is me :: Do you know the man?', Pl. Bac. 835–7)

The passage concerns two pairs that are being spied upon: hominem is one member of the pair that is first referred to with qui (plural). [11]

Examples (18)–(20) show that the cohesion of a text is first of all determined by the unity of the subject matter, which enables the hearer/reader to form an expectation of what is to come on the basis of the information that has already been provided. Subsequently, he is able to fit the later information into the framework of what he already knows. Instances of this kind are more difficult to describe than those involving repetition. They occur regularly, but seem to be used less frequently as means to create cohesion than those to be treated below.

Previous Sub2Sect

Next Sub2Sect


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