Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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6.4. Hierarchical structure of NPs (nesting)

In example (1a) on p. 73 and figure 6.1 on p. 74 we have seen an instance of an NP which, in its turn, itself consisted of an Attribute and a smaller NP. This phenomenon is called `nesting'. The two Attributes in this example differ from one another as to their hierarchical position. In this respect there is a difference with the two Attributes in veri a falso distinctio (`the distinction between true and false') (Cic. Fin. 1.64). The structure of this latter example may be represented as in figure 6.3.

I have already explained above that in example (1a) the Attributes have a different relation with regard to the governing Head. One (erga patriam) is

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Figure 6.3

obligatory because of the valency of the word caritas (in the meaning `affection of someone with regard to someone'), while the other (ingenitae) is optional. There are, however, also cases of nesting of non-obligatory Attributes. This phenomenon occurs in many languages. English examples are:

(51) Those first three beautiful days of the month of November

(52) Some intricate old interlocking Chinese designs (Quirk et al. 1985: 1340)

In Latin we find similar cases (for examples see K.–St. I.240–1; Sz. 160–1; 444):

(53) cum consuleretur (Themistocles) utrum bono viro pauperi an minus probato diviti filiam collocaret: `Ego vero', inquit, … (`When Th. was asked whether he would give his daughter in marriage to a poor good man or to a rich, less virtuous man, he answered: "I … " ', Cic. Off. 2.71)

(54) duae potentissimae et maximae finitimae gentes superatae sunt (`The two most powerful and greatest neighbouring tribes have been defeated', Liv. 2.53.3)

(55) ut multis fortissimis viris placuit (`As many brave men have wanted', Cic. Dom. 63)

(53)–(55) are examples of nesting; in (53) it is nesting of two `qualifying' [26] adjectives and in (54) of a numeral (duae), two qualifying adjectives and an adjective indicating location, while (55) is an example of a quantifying and a qualifying adjective. Some types of constituent which can occur in a nesting construction cannot as a rule be coordinated. An exception is formed by the quantifying adjective multus, which can in fact be coordinated with a qualifying adjective. [27] An example is (56):

(56) multi et graves dolores inventi parentibus (`Many terrible ordeals were thought of for the parents', Cic. Ver. 5.119)

The internal structure of example (54) can be represented graphically as in figure 6.4.

Exact rules for when nesting must occur and when coordination is obligatory cannot yet be given. The remarks made below require further research. In Latin we can distinguish a so-called `closed' class of pronouns, numerals, etc. and a so-called `open' class of adjectives, which may in principle

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Figure 6.4

be extended (i.e. it is productive). The former, closed, class in reality contains four subcategories: [28]

(a) anaphoric (is), demonstrative (hic, iste, ille) and interrogative (qui) pronouns;

(b) `indefinite' pronouns (quidam, (ali)qui(s)); [29]

(c) quantifying adjectives, numerals, etc. (unus, duo, primus, multi, aliquot); [30]

(d) identifying adjectives (alius, alter; idem);

A reason to distinguish these four subcategories lies in the fact that they can occur nested without coordination within an NP, but cannot be coordinated. Thus, (57) is possible, (58) is not.

(57) illi centum alii equites (`Those 100 other horsemen') [31]

(58) *illi et centum et alii equites

The `open' class mentioned above sometimes allows – apart from nesting ((59b)) – coordination ((59a)). Consider the following example:

(59a) Marcus amoenum et fructuosum hortum emit (`M. buys a delightful and fertile garden')

(59b) Marcus amoenum fructuosum hortum emit (`M. buys a delightful fertile garden')

Cf. also nesting with a material adjective in example (60):

(60) columna aurea solida (`A massive gold pillar', cf. Liv. 24.3.6)

Coordination is, however, not possible in the case of adjectives belonging to different semantic classes, e.g. expressing a `quality' and an `origin':

(61a) *populus Romanus et imperiosus

(61b) imperiosus populus Romanus (`The imperious Roman people')

A further subdivision of the `normal' adjectives is necessary. Finally,

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coordination between members of the open and closed classes is generally also impossible; see (62): [32]

(62) *populus ille et Romanus (`That and Roman people')

English often requires a certain order of Attributes. This order depends in part on the syntactic and semantic classes to which the Attribute constituents belong. This can be shown with the aid of the examples from Quirk et al. (1985: 1340) in table 6.2. Table 6.2
DeterminativeZone I: PrecentralZone II: CentralZone III: PostcentralZone IV: PreheadHead
(63)ournumeroussplendidAfrican touristattractions
(64)thesecrumbling greyGothic churchtowers
(66)someintricateold interlockingChinesedesigns
Source: Quirk et al. (1985: 1340).
There are, however, also cases in which the difference in order of two words correlates with a difference in meaning: see example (67):

(67a) beautiful old paintings

(67b) old beautiful paintings [33]

Example (67a) is a more common expression than (67b), in that in English more subjective qualifications generally precede more objective and inherent characteristics. Example (67b) is, however, not impossible, and differs semantically from (67a): (67a) concerns old paintings that are beautiful, (67b) beautiful paintings that are old. This difference may be represented graphically as in figure 6.5(a) and (b).

In the English examples a certain order is observed, which may be formulated generally as follows: the adjective which is most closely connected with the noun is placed most closely to the noun. For Latin the same seems to

Figure 6.5

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apply. Matters are, however, complicated by the fact that – much more so than in English – adjectives can be pre- and postposed to the noun which they modify (for details see crosssection 9.4. on word order). Yet, there are sufficient instances which reflect the same ordering principle:

(68a) statuas marmoreas muliebres stolatas, quae caryatides dicuntur (`Marble statues of women wearing a stola, which are called caryatids', Vitr. 1.1.5) [(Head Attr. 1), Attr. 2] Attr. 3

(68b) tunicae … hibernae bonae (`Good winter clothes', Pl. Mil. 688) [Head Attr. 1] Attr. 2

(68c) secundo Punico bello (`The Second Punic War', V. Max. 7.2 ext. 16) Attr. 2 [Attr. 1 Head]

Exceptions are formed by those cases in which the adjective most closely connected with the noun carries special emphasis (Focus) in the context and is, therefore, dislocated, away from the noun which it modifies:

(68d) nocturnos quosdam inanes metus (`Some useless nocturnal feelings of fear', Cic. Cael. 36) Attr. 1 [Attr. 3 (Attr. 2 Head)]

The closeness of the relation between an Attribute and a noun is connected with the meaning of the Attribute. There is, then, also an indirect relation between the meaning of the Attribute and its position with regard to the Head, if one Head is modified by more than one Attribute. [34] See further also crosssection 8.1.2 on p. 143 and crosssection 9.4. on p. 184.

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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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