Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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8.5. Structural ambiguity

Owing to the formal similarities it is often impossible to distinguish between Praedicativa and

– Attributes

– Appositions

– Subject Complements

– Object Complements

– Dominant participles

Each of these constructions has been treated elsewhere. Here they are discussed only in as far as they are relevant to the treatment of the Praedicativum.

8.5.1 Praedicativum and Attribute

(94) Galli laeti in castra pergunt (`The Gauls gladly enter the camp')

(95) laeti in castra pergunt (`They gladly enter the camp')

(96a) Galli qui laeti in castra pergunt (`The Gauls who gladly enter the camp')

(96b) qui laeti in castra pergunt? (`Who gladly enter the camp?')

(96c) ei laeti in castra pergunt (`They gladly enter the camp')

Example (94) is ambiguous. It may mean (a) that the Gauls entered the camp and while doing so they were glad, or (b) that the glad Gauls (e.g. in contrast to `the unhappy Gauls') entered the camp. In other words: either there are two constituents (interpretation (a)) or there is one constituent consisting of a Head and an Attribute (interpretation (b)). In (95) only one interpretation is possible, viz. (a): there is no Head with which laeti could function as Attribute. [48] In (96), too, only one interpretation is possible: Attributes with pronouns do not occur. Consequently, in instances such as (94), in which a noun and an adjective (or a participle) occur and the adjective can occur both as Attribute and as Praedicativum (see p. 149), [49] it must be determined on the

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basis of the context whether we are dealing with one or two constituents (viz. with an Attribute or a Praedicativum). Especially in poetry, where so-called epitheta ornantia abound, this often gives rise to problems of interpretation.

The distinction `one or two constituents' can be made with the aid of the following tests: [50]

(a) pronominalisation

(b) relativisation

(c) question-test

With the aid of these tests an instance like (94) can in fact be shown to be ambiguous:

(94) Galli laeti in castra pergunt

(a) :: ei in castra pergunt (one constituent)
:: ei laeti in castra pergunt (two constituents)

(b) :: Galli laeti, qui in castra pergunt (one constituent)
:: Galli, qui laeti in castra pergunt (two constituents)

(c) Qui in castra pergunt?
:: Galli laeti (one constituent)
:: Galli, ?atque id laeti (`and gladly at that': two constituents)

8.5.2 Praedicativum and Apposition

(97) Cicero consul coniurationem Catilinae detexit is ambiguous. Its meaning can be:

(97a) `Cicero discovered the conspiracy of Catiline as consul (during his consulate)'

(97b) `Cicero, the consul, discovered the conspiracy of Catiline'

Ambiguity may arise if on account of its lexical meaning the agreeing noun (consul) refers to an easily identifiable entity: there is only a limited number of consuls in Rome, and the conclusion that Cicero and consul refer to the same entity is obvious; in Cicero puer etc. puer would not easily be interpreted as Apposition. [51]

8.5.3 Praedicativum and Subject Complement

Examples of constituents in the function Subject Complement have been given on p. 22. Some predicates mentioned there are esse and manere, so-called copulas; Subject Complements are not omissible. The distinction between copulas and `normal' predicates is difficult. K.–St. reckon among the `Kopulaartige Verben' also fieri (`to become'), nasci (`to be born'), existere (`to come into being'), etc.; furthermore manere (`to remain'), videri (`to seem'), apparere

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(`to appear'), etc., verbs which are `resulting' and `current', respectively. [52] There are no thorough studies in this area.

(98) virum me natam (natum edd.) vellem (`I wish I had been born a man', Ter. Ph. 792)

(99) quia nati sunt cives (`Because they were born citizens', Cic. Catil. 2.27)

In the context presented here, virum in (98) and cives in (99) cannot very well be omitted, as the resulting expression would be trivial or even meaningless, but as such nasci can certainly be used – with the same meaning – without addition. Possibly, something similar can be said about memor nostri with regard to vivas in (100):

(100) memor nostri, Galatea, vivas (`May you remember me, G.', Hor. Carm. 3.27.14)

Especially in poetry, the `colourless' esse is avoided. And perhaps we may also regard stare in example (26) on p. 146 as a kind of copula.

8.5.4 Praedicativum and Object Complement

Just as the group of verbs that may be regarded as copulas is not well defined, it is often difficult to determine whether we are dealing with three-place verbs of the type habere, putare, etc., which require an Object Complement agreeing with the Object, or with two-place verbs whose second argument is specified by a Praedicativum (e.g. exurere agros sterilis in example (69) on p. 153). An example is (101):

(101) non te Penelopen difficilem procis Tyrrhenus genuit parens (`An Etruscan father did not conceive you as a Penelope difficult towards suitors', Hor. C. 3.10.11–2)

Gignere might perhaps be considered the causative counterpart of nasci (see examples (98) and (99) in crosssection 8.5.3. above). As such, the criterion to distinguish between two- and three-place verbs is clear enough, but sometimes it seems to me that poets consciously create three-place predicates on the basis of two-place predicates.

8.5.5 Praedicativum and Dominant participle

The Dominant participle has been discussed in crosssection 7.4.7 on p. 132 ff. I give two more examples:

(102) occisus dictator Caesar … pulcherrimum facinus videretur (`The assassination of the dictator Caesar seemed a wonderful deed', Tac. Ann. 1.8.6)

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(103) auctorem senatus extinctum laete … tulit (`He was pleased with the death of the leader of the senate', Cic. Phil. 9.7) 52a

In these instances the participle cannot be omitted. In this respect, they differ from a participle in the function Praedicativum. There are, of course, also numerous cases in which the distinction between Dominant participle and Praedicativum (or, possibly, Attribute) can be made only on the basis of the context. Sometimes the distinction cannot be made at all, because the two interpretations are hardly different. An example of a sentence which – considered out of its context – allows two interpretations is:

(104) ea res saepe temptata … eius consilia … tardabat (`The fact that this had been tried often before paralysed his plans', Caes. Civ. 1.26.2)

In my translation I follow the interpretation of K.–St. (I.767): omission of saepe temptata would, however, result in a grammatical sentence; a translation `this paralysed his plans, because it had been tried often before', following the interpretation of the participle as Praedicativum, is also possible.

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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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