Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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5.2.2 The use of cases in the nuclear predication

(a) Table 5.4 presents the data of table 5.1 grouped in a slightly different way. Table 5.4 shows the following tendency for the occurrence of the cases for marking constituents which form part of the nuclear predication:

If there is one constituent, it is marked by the nominative; if there are two constituents, the second constituent is marked by a case other than the nominative (as a rule the accusative); if there are three constituents, the nominative and the accusative are reserved for the first and second constituents (passivization is always possible) and the third constituent is marked by a case other than nominative and accusative.

Table 5.4 Frequency (in %) of the cases as markers of obligatory constituents with one-, two- and three-place verbsa
Type of argument
Type of verb123
Two-placenominativeaccusative 88.3
dative 7.6
ablative 3.6
genitive 0.5
Three-placenominativeaccusativedative 70.3
ablative 26.6
genitive 1.7
accusative 1.4
a Active, finite sentences have been counted; impersonal constructions such as taedet me laboris (`I am annoyed at the effort') have been considered as three-place predicates without a nominative. Prepositional phrases have, again, been excluded.

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This tendency shows the existence of a certain hierarchy of cases, and the choice of case seems largely a negative one: `be sure always to use a case other than that used already'. No such tendency holds for the use of cases in the periphery.

(b) Exceptions

A number of exceptions to the rule given above may be discerned. First of all, there are also `positive' factors which determine which specific case is used within the nuclear predication for arguments with the function complement. I return to this point on p. 51. Furthermore, the rule as formulated above is too strict. I first address the latter point.

(i) From table 5.4 it would appear that there are no three-place predicates whose second place is marked by a case other than the accusative. This is not actually the case. It is true that table 5.4 is correct with regard to the material on which it is based, but from the grammars we know that several exceptions exist: among others, the verb interdicere. With this verb the animate entity is marked by the dative and the inanimate entity by the ablative. [6]

(9) cum … interdictum (nobis) externis bellis (`When we were forbidden to wage war against other nations', Liv. 30.44.7)

(10) omnes quibus aqua et igni interdictum est exsules appellentur (`All those to whom water and fire are denied (= who are exiled) are called exiles', Rhet. Her. 2.45)

>The deviant construction can be interpreted as a merger of the constructions of verbs of communication (e.g. dicere, `to say') and verbs of removing (e.g. arcere, `to ward off'). Something similar is the case with invidere + dat. + abl. (`to envy someone for something'), immolare (`to sacrifice') and supplicare (`to entreat') (cf. Sz. 90).

(ii) Verbs governing two accusatives. An exception to the rule that within the nuclear predication cases merely have a distinctive function is formed by verbs with a so-called double accusative. We will see that this is an exception that can be accounted for within the system. The verbs which govern a double accusative can be divided into three different groups; an example of each group follows:

(11) malitiam sapientiam iudicant (`They regard malice as wisdom', Cic. Off. 2.10)

(12) quid? nunc te … litteras doceam? (`What? Do I have to teach you how to read and write?', Cic. Pis. 73)

(13) equitum magnam partem flumen traiecit (`He brought a large part of the cavalry across the river', Caes. Civ. 1.55.1)

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In example (11) we have a construction with an Object constituent and an Object complement (cf. p. 22). Sapientiam predicates something of malitiam, as in the case of the copula esse, of fieri and of other `kopula-artige Verben' the constituent with the function Subject complement predicates something of the Subject constituent. The rule in Latin is that such constituents agree in case and, if possible, also in number and gender. Other examples may be found in K.–St. I.292-7. An example of a `kopula-artige' construction is (14):

(14) (Gyges) repente anuli beneficio rex exortus est (`Gyges has suddenly, thanks to the ring, become king', Cic. Off. 3.38)

In the passive version of verbs with an Object + Object complement construction both the Object constituent and the Object complement constituent are marked by the nominative. Cf. (15) and (16):

(15) me … universa civitas … consulem declaravit (`The entire state declared me consul', Cic. Pis. 3)

(16) consules declarantur M. Tullius et C. Antonius (`M.T. and C.A. are declared consuls', Sal. Cat. 24.1)

This group of verbs seems to be `irregular' from the point of view of the distinctive function of the cases within the nuclear predication, but is `regular' from the point of view of the rule of agreement.

Example (12) is an example of the second group of verbs with which a double accusative occurs. This group consists of verbs meaning `to teach', `to ask', `to demand', `to inform', `to hide'. Other examples may be found in K.–St. I.297–305, e.g.:

(17) te hoc beneficium rogo (`I ask you this favour', Ant. in Cic. Att. 14.13A.3)

(18) Racilius … me primum sententiam rogavit (`R. first asked my opinion', Cic. Q. fr. 2.1.3)

(19) non … te celavi sermonem T. Ampii (`I have not kept the conversation with T. A. from you', Cic. Fam. 2.16.3)

Unlike the group of verbs treated above, this group does not exhibit agreement between the two constituents. In the passive, the finite verb agrees, if possible, with the constituent that indicates the animate entity, cf. example (20): [7]

(20) nosne hoc celatos tam diu! (`That we have been kept ignorant of this for such a long time!', Ter. Hec. 645)

With this group of verbs we sometimes also find a construction which does fit into the system:

(21) Socraten fidibus docuit nobilissimus fidicen (`S. was taught to play the lyre by a very famous lyre-player', Cic. Fam. 9.22.3)

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(22) litteris … docta (`well-read', Sal. Cat. 25.2)

In Petronius (46.7) we even find docere with a third argument marked by the genitive. Note that these verbs often have alternative prepositional constructions.

(23) nunc a te illud primum rogabo (`Now I shall ask you this first', Cic. Fam. 13.1.2) [8]

(24) cum … ex eo de me percontaretur (`When he asked him about me', Cic. Att. 11.10.1)

This group of verbs is characterized by the fact that apart from the three-place frame we also find a two-place frame. At any rate a two-place construction occurs with the inanimate entity as the Object. Often, but not always, the animate entity can be the Object in a two-place frame. The case form of the third argument can be explained on the basis of the occurrence with these verbs of two-place constructions in which the second argument is marked by the accusative. With semantically related verbs, however, which have a third constituent marked by the ablative, there are no two-place constructions in which the second constituent is marked by the accusative. Next to erudire/instituere aliquem aliqua re (`to teach someone something') we do not find erudire/instituere aliquid. [9] To the connection between two-place and three-place constructions we will return below (p. 51). [10] Detailed study of the verbs with `thing and person' Objects is necessary to examine whether also in this group the `irregularity' may be explained on the basis of another `regularity'.

Example (13) is an example of the third group of verbs with a `double accusative'. This group consists of compound verbs with a prepositional prefix. The prefix is related to a preposition which governs the accusative. [11] In the passive the constituent connected with the prepositional prefix remains unchanged:

(25) ne maior multitudo Germanorum Rhenum traducatur (`Lest a greater number of Germans be brought across the Rhine', Caes. Gal. 1.31.16)

The occurrence of the accusative with this – limited – group of verbs is usually explained as a relic. There is no synchronic explanation. [12] More examples may be found in K.–St. I. 305.

In conclusion, it may be said about the three groups of verbs that govern a `double accusative' that:

(a) it can be explained for one group;

(b) in another group there are systematic similarities with other constructions of the same verbs and there are `ungrammatical' exceptions which fit into the case system;

(c) there is a limited group of compound verbs with which the `double accusative' can at least be explained diachronically.

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In view of the limited number of exceptions and the remarks under (a)–(c) above, there is no reason to reconsider the rule formulated on p. 43, which claims that within the nuclear predication the cases have a distinctive function.

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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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