Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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4 Periphery 2: Disjuncts (sentence adverbials) and Theme constituents

In chapter 1 I introduced the term `Disjunct' for those constituents which contain information about the whole predication. Such constituents express the point of view of the speaker/writer with regard to the content or phrasing of the complex of nuclear predication plus Adjuncts. They are commonly called `meta-communicative expressions'. The characteristics of Disjuncts in Latin have received little attention in the literature, so the survey in crosssection 4.1. below cannot by any means pretend to be exhaustive. There is also some overlap between the categories discussed. More research is necessary in this field.

In addition, in this chapter I briefly deal with so-called Theme constituents, which resemble the constituents we have so far called Disjuncts in that they do not form part of the predication ( crosssection 4.2.).

4.1. Disjuncts 4.1.1 So-called modal adverbs

The grammar of Kühner & Stegmann (K.–St. I. 793) distinguishes as a subclass of the class of adverbs those adverbs which express the judgment of the speaker with regard to the content of the sentence, terming them `Modaladverbien'. Within this subclass, a further subdivision is made between adverbs which

– confirm: e.g. sane (`certainly'), vero (`truly')

– deny: e.g. non (`not'), haud (`not (at all)')

– reinforce: e.g. profecto (`indeed'), certe (`surely'), scilicet (`evidently')

– indicate uncertainly: e.g. fortasse (`perhaps')

– mark a question: e.g. num (`surely not … ?'), utrum (`whether')

These groups are dealt with individually in K.–St. I. 795 ff. In reality, they contain a very heterogeneous collection of expressions, which are, moreover, certainly not in all cases `sentence adverbials': some of them, for instance, may be used independently, e.g. as an answer to a question (cf. fortasse in (1), certe in (2)), whereas interrogative particles cannot occur independently (they do not have `sentence valency').

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(1) frugi tamen sum … :: fortasse (`Yet, I am virtuous :: Perhaps', Pl. As. 499)

(2) miser ergo Archelaus? :: certe, si iniustus (`So A. is miserable? :: Certainly, if he is unjust', Cic. Tusc. 5.35)

In recent studies the term `sentence adverbials' is limited to those adverbs which can indeed be used as an answer to a neutral question (a yes–no question). It is precisely on this point that they are distinguished from `normal adverbs', which only occur as an answer to certain question words, such as `when', `where', and the like. Sentence adverbials in the current sense of the term are furthermore characterized by their inability to occur in all sentence types (interrogative, imperative and declarative sentences). [Note] A number of the adverbs mentioned by K.–St., viz. those expressing reinforcement and uncertainty (e.g. haud dubie (`doubtless'), scilicet (`evidently'), fortasse (`perhaps'), nimirum (`surely')), are not found in imperative sentences, cf. crosssection 7.1.2. In the light of these criteria, the behaviour of the group sane, vero, haud and non (confirmation/denial) differs from that of the first group of words. [1]

4.1.2 Attitudinal Disjuncts

In crosssection 4.1.1 adverbs such as fortasse, haud dubie, etc. are mentioned as adverbs which are used as sentence adverbials. They offer an indication as to the attitude of the speaker with regard to the `truthfulness' of the sentence. Apart from these adverbs, adverbs which normally function as Manner Adjuncts may also be used to express the subjective view of the speaker. Sz. (821) points out that this particularly holds for adverbs which mean `good' and `bad', and that in comparison with the modern languages the Latin expressions of this type are remarkably pregnant with meaning (from recent studies it appears, however, that this is common also in modern languages). Not only adverbs can be used in this way, but also expressions which belong to other categories, e.g. nominal groups in the ablative, as in (5) and (6):

(3) male reprehendunt (`They wrongly criticize …', Cic. Tusc. 3.34)

(4) miseram pacem vel bello bene mutari (`For unhappy peace even war is a good alternative', Tac. A. 3.44)

(5) non mea culpa … ad vos oratum mitto (`It is not my fault that I am sending ambassadors to you', Sal. Jug. 24.2)

(6) leviore flagitio legatum interficietis (`Less disgracefully you may kill an ambassador', Tac. A. 1.18)

Compare also example (7) on p. 2 (stulte).

In view of the occurrence of such – ostensibly Manner – adverbs in modern languages, it is not unlikely that in Latin, too, they occur as Disjunct; yet, up to now objective evidence (of the kind mentioned in crosssection 4.1.1) is lacking,

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apart from the (im) possibility of certain paraphrases. For instance, one could also say that mea culpa in (5) is a satellite with the syntactic function Adjunct and the semantic function Cause, and that example (5) is remarkable because this mea culpa has emphatically (Focus) been placed at the beginning of the sentence. [2]

4.1.3 So-called Style Disjuncts

In example (8) on p. 2 a third type of Disjunct occurs. The previous classes of Disjuncts concerned the content of the sentence (truthfulness, subjective evaluation). Breviter pertains to the way in which the speaker expresses himself. Quirk et al. (1985) call such expressions `Style Disjuncts', as opposed to the attitudinal Disjuncts of crosssection 4.1.2. In Latin such Disjuncts are commonly expressed by subordinate clauses introduced by ut, as in (7), rather than by adverbs:

(7) denique ut breviter includam quod sentio … tam intemperantes in ipsis miseriis quam sunt ante illas (`Finally, briefly to state my own opinion, they have as little self-control in the midst of their misery as before it', Sen. Ep. 98.8)

A slightly different type is formed by ut-clauses which mark the progression or the structure of the text. An example is (8):

(8) ut vero iam ad illa summa veniamus, quae vis alia potuit … homines … congregare (`To come now to those important points, what other force has been able to bring men together … ', Cic. de Orat. 1.33)

4.1.4 Pseudo-Purpose satellites

Just as in English, where expressions occur like to tell you the truth, I am not ill at all, in Latin there are expressions like (9):

(9) ut verum tibi dicam, pater, ea res me male habet (`To tell you the truth, father, this business makes me sick', Pl. As. 843)

In a case like this a paraphrase like ea res me male habet `with the intention to … ' is impossible. What the speaker wants to say is that in his statement ea res me male habet he intends to tell the truth. The content of the ut-clause is a kind of explanation of the intention of the speaker. Such an ut-clause, like those in (7) and (8), can be taken to specify the utterance as such, rather than the content of the sentence. Note that it is meaningless to ask cur ea res te male habet? :: ut verum tibi dicam. Adjuncts with the semantic function Purpose, on the other hand, can form the answer to such a question. To explain this it is often said that the real main verb, a verb of saying, has been omitted. [3] General examples are:

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(10) ego adeo, ut tu scias, prorsum Athenas … abibo (`just to tell you, I am immediately going to Athens', Pl. Mil. 1192)

(11) Carthagini ego sum gnatus, ut tu sis sciens (`I was born in Carthage, you ought to know', Pl. Poen. 1038)

The difference in status between this type of subordinate clause (so-called `pseudo-Purpose' clauses) and `real' Purpose satellites explains, among other things, the possibility of using them in one sentence: To tell you the truth, I am on my way to the market in order to buy vegetables. [4] I have not yet found Latin parallels for the English example given here. [4a]

4.1.5 Pseudo-Conditions

Similar to the expressions dealt with in crosssection 4.1.4. are cases like if you ask me, he is not ill at all. The speaker puts himself, as it were, in the position of the hearer and asks permission to say something unexpected. Examples are:

(12) ac si quaeritis (`and if you ask (me)', Cic. de Orat. 1.119; 2.254)

(13) `si licet', inquit, `consules, de re publica dicere, errare ego populum in hac causa non patiar' ('If I may, consuls', he said, `speak about the state, I shall not permit the people to err in this matter', Liv. 3.71.3) [5]

As in the case of the pseudo-Purpose satellites discussed above, here, too, the subordinate clause cannot be said to specify semantically the main sentence (if he is not ill, he is not ill regardless of whether we ask the speaker to confirm it); rather, it provides information about the attitude of the speaker with regard to the content of the main sentence.

Scherer (1975: 240) calls attention to the existence of a kind of parenthetical expression, employed among other things to justify the use of a certain term, as in (14) and (15):

(14) cives, inquam, si eos hoc nomine appellari fas est (`Citizens, I say, if I may call them thus', Cic. Mur. 80)

(15) quodsi componere magnis parva mihi fas est, et me dilexit Anapis (`If I may compare something insignificant to something important, Anapis loved also me', Ov. Met. 5.416–7)

In (14) the subordinate clause refers to the word cives, in (15) to the whole content of the main sentence.

Another, again slightly different, type of pseudo-conditional clause is exemplified by (16):

(16) de Eumene rege longe diversa tradunt. Si Valerio Antiati credas, nec classe adiutum ab eo praetorem esse … tradit (`About King Eumenes the historians report widely different things. If you believe Valerius

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Antias, he reports that he neither helped his praetor with a fleet … ', Liv. 44.13.12)

Here the truthfulness of the content of the main sentence is put in a more relative perspective. A similar expression is nisi erro (`if I am not mistaken'). [5a]

4.1.6 Pseudo-Cause satellites [6]

Subordinate clauses introduced by quoniam often do not so much express the reason for the action or event expressed by the main sentence (as in example (17)), but explain why the speaker/writer makes a certain statement, asks a certain question, gives a certain command, interrupts, and the like. In such cases we could, therefore, speak of pseudo-causal clauses. Examples of this type of subordinate clause are (18)–(20):

(17) quod … in labris ideo non est necessarium, quoniam excidere commodius est (`in the case of the lips this (viz. cauterization) is not necessary, because excision is easier', Cels. 6.15.4)

(18) et quoniam hoc reprehendis, quod solere me dicas de me ipso gloriosius praedicare, quis umquam audivit cum ego de me nisi coactus ac necessario dicerem? (`And since you reproach me for my alleged habit of speaking too boastingly about myself, who has ever heard me speak about myself, unless I was forced to do so or necessity demanded it?', Cic. Dom. 93)

(19) tu, quoniam iturum te in Asiam esse putas, facias me certiorem velim … (`Since you think that you are going to Asia, I should like you to let me know … ', Cic. Att. 4.16.9)

(20) equidem vobis, quoniam ita voluistis, fontes unde hauriretis atque itinera ipsa putavi esse demonstranda (`I have seen fit, since you wished so, to show you the springs from which to drink and how to reach them', Cic. de Orat. 1.203)

4.1.7 Limitation of validity

The expressions discussed in the previous sections all have in common that in one way or another the speaker distances himself from the content of the predication. This also holds for expressions such as mea sententia (`to my mind'), quod sciam (`as far as I know'; K.–St. II. 277), ut ita dicam (`so to speak') and subordinate clauses introduced by quod (`as to the fact that'; K.–St. II. 277) and the so-called dative of person judging. [7]

(21) qui (Epicurus) se unus, quod sciam, sapientem profiteri sit ausus (`(Epicurus) who, as far as I know, has been the only one to dare set himself up as a 'Wise Man' ', Cic. Fin. 2.7)

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(22) quod vero securi percussit filium, privavisse se etiam videtur multis voluptatibus (`As to the fact that he had his son heheaded, he seems to have deprived himself also of a lot of enjoyment', Cic. Fin. 1.23)

(23) ceterum vere aestimanti Aetolicum magis … bellum quam regium fuit (`But if you judge it fairly, the war was against the Aetolians rather than against the king', Liv. 37.58.8)

4.2. Theme constituents

By a constituent with the pragmatic function Theme we understand a constituent which does not form part of the predication, but precedes it and creates, as it were, a kind of framework within which the predication is to be interpreted. Examples are:

(24) de Pompeio, et facio diligenter et faciam quod mones (`As for Pompey, I am doing my best and will do what you advise me to do', Cic. Q. fr. 3.1.9)

(25) de forma, ovem esse oportet corpore amplo (`As for the form, a sheep ought to have a large body', Var. R. 2.2.3)

In these examples, the de-constituent does not play a role in the predication; this is not the case in the following examples.

(26) de hoc homine … sic scriptum accepimus … summam fuisse eius … temperantiam (`As for this man, we have learnt that it was written that his self-control was extreme', Cic. Tusc. 5.57)

(27) homines maritimi Syracusis … cum eius cruciatu atque supplicio pascere oculos … vellent, potestas aspiciendi nemini facta est (`The sailors at Syracuse, when they wanted to feast their eyes on his suffering and punishment, nobody (of them) was given the opportunity to watch', Cic. Ver. 5.65)

(28) sed urbana plebes, ea vero praeceps erat (`But the city populace, it was truly rash', Sal. Cat. 37.4)

In (26), de hoc homine is taken up by eius. In (27), instead of the nominative homines maritimi a genitive would be required (with nemini, which occurs much later in the sentence). In (28), finally, ea takes up the immediately preceding urbana plebes. The grammars classify cases of this kind in various ways, e.g. as anacolouthon and nominativus pendens, [8] often suggesting that they represent something unusual. In reality, we are dealing with a common phenomenon, and not with something ungrammatical. [8a]

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Bibliographical information

Studies about Disjuncts in a number of modern languages are Greenbaum (1969), Meier-Fohrbeck (1978) and Quirk et al. (1985: 612 ff.) (English); Hansén (1982) (French); Bartsch (1972) and Hoberg (1981) (German); Booij (1974) (Dutch). For Latin Pinkster (1972c: 96–101). For Theme constituents cf. Bolkestein (1981a) and Dik (1978: 132–40). For critera for the distinction between (Cause) Adjuncts and (Pseudo-Cause) Disjuncts see Bolkestein (1989).

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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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