Table 5.5 indicates the frequency of the occurrence of the cases in the periphery. Unlike constituents in the nuclear predication, constituents in the periphery do not each have their own case marking. The number of peripheral constituents is not determined by the predicate. On the other hand, a number of peripheral semantic functions can only occur with certain types of nuclear predication. As a rule, the semantic functions `Beneficiary', `Instrument' and
There is a very close relation between the meaning of the lexeme which occurs in the periphery and the semantic function it fulfils (cf. crosssection 3.4.). Many attempts have been made in the past to determine for all uses of the ablative a limited number of `meanings', a number as small as possible. This has often resulted in rather forced classification of divergent uses under the same heading (see below p. 63). It is precisely because of the close relation between lexical meaning and semantic function that one case may be used to mark a large number of semantic functions, all of which have in common merely that they specify more precisely the content of the nuclear predication. Thus, we arrive at the paradoxical conclusion that the semantic relations within a sentence are revealed by the cases only to a very limited extent, because:
- within the nuclear predication the predicate determines the possibility of lexemes to occur as arguments with that predicate; the number and nature of the semantic functions are fixed for each verb; - outside the nuclear predication the lexical meaning itself determines to a high degree whether a lexeme may be used with a given semantic function.
- within the nuclear predication the predicate determines the possibility of lexemes to occur as arguments with that predicate; the number and nature of the semantic functions are fixed for each verb;
- outside the nuclear predication the lexical meaning itself determines to a high degree whether a lexeme may be used with a given semantic function.Above I have argued that in nuclear predication and periphery the cases have different functions. This view is not in accordance with common practice in Latin grammars. In general, in these grammars no attention is devoted to the fact that a specific case occurs both in the nuclear predication and in the periphery, but an attempt is made to assign to that case one single value – or, in the case of the ablative, the smallest possible number of values (see p. 63). In itself, the use of one and the same case in the nuclear predication and in the periphery does not present a problem. Compare, for instance, the equally double function of colour oppositions in geographical atlases: on the one hand, colours are used to mark and identify certain characteristics (e.g. various shades of brown to indicate altitude, green to indicate lowland); on the other, colours are used arbitrarily to distinguish, for example, countries or states. The use of different cases in the periphery has an identifying function; the use of different cases in the nuclear predication has a discriminating function.
Pinkster, Harm (1942-) , Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].