Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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5.3.3 Idiomatic use of prepositions

At the end of the preceding section I have stressed that prepositions differ from cases in that they explicitly express the semantic relation. It is, however, not

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always easy to determine the exact semantic aspect of a preposition. Particularly in the case of prepositions used to mark arguments this is sometimes difficult or even impossible. Examples are bene mereri de (`to render a service to'), pertinere ad (`to pertain to'), communicare cum (`to share with'). This phenomenon is, of course, also common in other languages; cf. English John goes into the house and John goes into the problem. In the case of a so-called prepositional Object (with to go into) the meaning of into cannot be described very easily, and certainly cannot synchronically be related very easily to into in into the house. Note, also, that precisely the more frequent prepositions have a rather broad spectrum of diverging semantic aspects. To illustrate this I give the survey of the article on de in TLL:

conspectus materiae:

I de loco:

A proprie:

1 ab superiore loco p. 44.25

2 unde aliquid vel aliquis exit p. 46.37

B translate et in imag.:

1 de deductione p. 50.33

2 de origine p. 54.23

3 de parte deducta p. 56.7

4 de materia vel condicione mutata p. 59.49

5 de impensis p. 61.13

6 de poena sumpta p. 61.84

7 pro abl. instrum. p. 62.18

8 pro abl. comparationis p. 64.34

II de tempore p. 64.51

III de causa p. 65.47

IV de relatione:

A i.q. p. 67.25

B secundum p. 77.75

V adverbialia p. 78.84

VI varia et singularia p. 80.1

(from: TLL s.v. de, p. 44)

From this multitude of semantic aspects alone it can be seen that the characterization of prepositions as `specifications' of cases discussed in crosssection 5.3.2 is too simple. Some of the various semantic aspects may be characterized as `concrete' or `local', others may rather be called `abstract'. Sometimes there are direct relations between different semantic aspects (e.g. local `from' and temporal `immediately after'). Sometimes such relations are of a more artificial nature (e.g. between local de and the so-called causal de (cf. fessus de via `tired owing to the trip')). Sometimes one wonders whether it is at all useful to distinguish a meaning, e.g. because the meaning of the governed noun

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phrase is decisive (temporal de, for instance, only occurs with words indicating a `Time Position'). Consequently, the problems discussed in crosssection 5.2.6 with regard to the multitude of case uses to some extent also occur with regard to prepositions.

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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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