Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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5.2.1 Distribution of the cases; main characteristics of the system

Table 5.1 indicates the use of the so-called oblique cases on the various levels (sentence; noun phrase and adjective phrase). [3] The nominative has been left out of account. Its relative frequency can be seen in table 5.2, which indicates the use of cases and prepositions in Cic. de Orat. 1.1–73. I have also left out of consideration the vocative (since lexemes characterised by it do not form part of the sentence – Vairel-Carron 1981b) and the so-called accusativus exclamationis. Table 5.1 only illustrates noun phrases not governed by a preposition.

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Table 5.1 Frequency of oblique cases (in %)
Level
CaseNuclear predication FunctionPeripheryNoun and Adjective phrase
Subj. AcIObj. 2pl.aObj. 3pl.Compl. 2pl.Compl. 3pl.Ind. Obj.Pass.
Gen. (20.4)0.2b0.1b0c20.1
Dat. (12.2)2.54.80.5d3.1e1.2
Abl. (21. 7)1.21.80.915.7f2.1
Acc. (45.6)4.824.49.44.91.01g0h
Total number of instances 11,303
AcI: Accusative-and-Infinitive construction.
a In the survey (Bolkestein et al. 1978: 294) the number of cases of `obj./compl. 2-pl.' for a number of authors is puzzlingly low. In the survey fewer cases occur than is stated below. In Pinkster (1980: 114) `OBJ. Aanv.' means Object Complement (see p. 8). In table 5.1 this has been combined with Compl. 3pl.
b 2pl.: oblivisci, but also esse + so-called genitivus pretii.
3pl.: gen. pretii with aestimare, etc.; gen. criminis with absolvere, etc.; commonefacere, etc. Lemaire (1983: 310) also considers alicuius in levare luctum alicuius a genitive argument. To my mind this is an Attribute with luctum.
c The corpus does not contain cases like Germanicus Aegyptum proficiscitur cognoscendae antiquitatis (`Germanicus set out for Egypt to view its antiquities', Tac. A. 2.59; cf. K.–St. I.741).
d Dativus auctoris.
e Includes: (i) various constructions of dative constituents with esse (cf. Bolkestein et al. 1976: 365–8); (ii) the so-called dativus finalis; (iii) the dativus commodi, ethicus, etc. As dativus finalis were reckoned both cases like ne aut paupertas mihi oneri sit (`Lest poverty be a burden to me', Sen. Ep. 17.1; cf. Bolkestein et al. 1976: 368–9 `predicative dative') and cases like auxilio mittere. It is debatable whether the predicative dative can be considered omissible. To my mind it is obligatory (cf. also Scherer 1975: 140).
f Includes the ablative absolute (402 out of a total of 1773 cases).
g Includes: (i) accusative of respect (artem callebat (`He was a master of the art … ', Tac. A. 13.3)); (ii) accusativus spatii; (iii) accusative of direction; (iv) so-called adverbial accusative of extent. Especially in this last group it is defensible to speak of non-productive expressions (e.g. multum te ista fefellit opinio (`That notion had played you very false', Cic. Ver. 1.88)).
h In reality there are two cases, viz. (i) accusative of respect: os umerosque deo similis (`Godlike in face and shoulders', Verg. A. 1.589); (ii) accusativus spatii.

In interpreting table 5.1 the following points should be kept in mind. First, this general survey of total numbers fails to show the extent to which the use of different cases differs according to author or genre. Second, the choice of the corpus partly determines the conclusions that may be drawn from the survey. Various factors play a part in this. First, the subject matter involved: the frequent occurrence of the accusativus spatii in, for example, Caesar is related to the fact that the campaigns described by him frequently involve the covering of certain distances. Second, the literary genre: it is, for instance, well-known that poetry contains a relatively high number of nouns (many `content words'). As a result, (i) there are more nouns and the like, and (ii)

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Table 5.2 Use of cases and prepositions in Cic. de Orat. 1.1–73 (absolute numbers and %)
Marker
LevelCases (without prep.)Prepositions
NominativeGenitiveDativeAccusativeAblative
Subject277 22.1%--61 (AcI) 4.8%--
Subject Compl.53 4.2%--17 (AcI) 1.4%--
Compl. 2pl.--32 2.6%19 1.5%11 0.9%88 7%
Compl. 3pl.--33 2.6%3 0.2%11 0.9%48 3.8%
Obj. 2pl.---86 6.9%--
Obj. 3pl.---52 4.2%--
Satellite--2 0.2%1 0.1%85 6.7%119 9.5%
Noun phrase-170 13.6%2 0.2%--6 (obl.) 0.5%
Adjective phrase-22 1.8%12 1%-13 1%29 (om.) 2.3%
Total number of instances: 1252
Source: P. Masereeuw, research assistant's report, 1980.
AcI: Accusative and Infinitive construction.
Table 5.3 Numbers of noun phrases with and without preposition in Caes. Gal. 1.3–10 and Verg. A. 1.1–156
Number of noun phrases (without preposition)Number of preposition phrasesTotal
Caesar (1034 words)307 (76%)97 (24%)404
Virgil (1095 words)411 (89%)53 (11%)464
prepositions are used less often to mark the function of the nouns etc. in the sentence. This appears from table 5.3. [4] Although it is impossible to determine the exact influence of these (and other) factors, it is not inconceivable that the use of cases was more free in poetry than elsewhere; the Roman reader was willing (and able!) to take this into account. [5]

From table 5.1 the following general conclusions may be drawn with regard to the function of the oblique cases:

(i) the genitive is pre-eminently the case of the noun phrase level;

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(ii) the dative occurs relatively infrequently and is evenly distributed, predominantly marking arguments, i.e. constituents which form part of the nuclear predication;

(iii) the ablative is pre-eminently the case for the marking of satellites, i.e. constituents in the periphery;

(iv) the accusative is pre-eminently the case for the marking of constituents which form part of the nuclear predication.

In the following sections I will discuss `deviations' from these general rules. I first deal with the use of the cases to mark arguments ( crosssection 5.2.2), then the use of the cases to mark satellites ( crosssection 5.2.3.). crosssection 5.2.4 treats a number of particular problems. The distinction between sentence level and (noun and adjective) phrase level is discussed in crosssection 5.2.5. In crosssection 5.2.6 I discuss the differences between my approach and that in traditional grammars, and present some arguments in favour of my approach.

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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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