In chapter 1 `arguments' have been defined in the following way: arguments are those constituents related to a specific predicate that cannot be omitted without making the remaining sentence ungrammatical. This definition of the notion `omissibility' has a number of unsatisfactory consequences. Example (14) illustrates the fact that the predicate to eat must be regarded as a monovalent predicate if the omission test is used as the only criterion. However, there seems to be a semantic distinction involved (`non-specific' vs. `specific' activity). Paradigmatic comparison also indicates that it is feasible to distinguish two frames, both a monovalent and a bivalent to eat. Therefore, a
more precise definition of `omissible' is in order: a constituent is considered omissible if (a) the remaining utterance is grammatical, (b) the lexical meaning of the remaining constituents does not change, and (c) the semantic relations between the remaining constituents are not changed.
In (14a) the constituent his hamburger is taken as non-omissible, because if it were to be eliminated was eating would be interpreted in a different way. There is another way to demonstrate that his hamburger in (14a) stands in a closer relationship to was eating than a constituent like heartily in (28):
(14a) John was eating his hamburger
(28) John was eating heartilyIf in examples (14a) and (28) the constituents his hamburger and heartily are omitted, the remaining utterance (John was eating) is still grammatical. Both constituents (his hamburger and heartily) therefore seem to be equally omissible. However, a difference between the two constituents becomes apparent if we apply the so-called do so test as developed in early transformational generative grammar. Note the result if we replace the predicate eat by the `pro-verb' do, as, for example, in (29):
(29) John was eating and he did so heartilyIn (14a), however, the constituent his hamburger cannot be isolated from was eating in a similar way:
(30) *John was eating and he did so his hamburgerCompare also:
(31) What was John doing heartily? # eating
(32) *What was John doing his hamburger # eatingOn the basis of this do so test one might wish to claim that his hamburger has a different, in fact closer, relationship to was eating than does heartily. I believe that the do so test is a useful test in Latin syntactic research, although the attested instances of facere referring to a preceding action are rare. [7a] The number of instances in which facere is used in that way in conjunction with other –omissible –constituents is even smaller. However, instances of this type do occur, like (33):
(33) istam rem inquisitam certum est non amittere:: edepol me lubente facies (`this matter shall not escape investigation, I am resolved on that :: dear me, sir, do investigate, and welcome', Pl. Am. 848)In this example facies refers to istam rem inquisitam … amittere. As a consequence, the constituent me lubente that is added to it must be facultative. Similarly te lubente in (33a) must be regarded as a facultative constituent:
(33a) istam rem te lubente non amittam inquisitam
In the following examples we also encounter combinations of the pro-verb facere and various satellites:
(34) ego perfodi parietem … et sene sciente hoc feci (`I dug a hole through the wall and this with the old gentleman's knowledge', Pl. Mil. 142–4)
(35) exora, blandire, palpa :: faciam sedulo (`entreat, coax, cajole:: I'll do my best', Pl. Poen. 357
(36) amat a lenone hic :: facere sapienter puto (`he is in love with a pimp's girl :: sensible of him, I judge', Pl. Poen. 1092)
(37) dotem dare te ei dicas, facere id eius ob amicitiam patris (`you might say you are giving her a dowry, doing so out of friendship for her father', Pl. Trin. 737)
(38) suscepi causam … et feci libenter (`I have undertaken the cause and done so gladly', Cic. Sul. 20The examples (34)–(38) prove that the following ones are possible as well:
(34a) ego perfodi parietem sene sciente
(35a) exora sedulo
(36a) sapienter a lenone hic amat
(37a) dotem dare te ei dicas eius ob amicitiam patris
(38a) suscepi causam libenterThe above examples have been chosen in order to show that in Latin the proverb facere may substitute for the nuclear predication and allow the addition of satellites such as Circumstance (so-called ablative absolute construction) in (33) and (34); Manner in (35), (36) and (38); and Motive in (37). However, arguments do not occur with facere in this way. We do not find examples like:
(38b) *… et feci causamThe facere test may help us in specific situations to determine the valency of a predicate. However, the valency of a predicate will be established much more frequently on the basis of statistical observations with regard to the occurrence of that predicate in a given corpus of texts: if a predicate occurs frequently with certain types of constituents, or if such constituents are frequently to be understood, and if these constituents are not likely to be satellites (that is, might in principle be added to any predicate), then the constituents probably should be regarded as arguments.
Pinkster, Harm (1942-) , Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].