Paradigmatic Possibilities as Perspective for Absolute Constructions

Exploring Linguistic Differences and Similarities of the Greek Genitive and Latin Ablative Absolute

In: Mnemosyne
Mike Kruijer Universiteit van Amsterdam

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Ezra la Roi Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Compared to Greek genitive absolutes, Latin ablative absolutes are of two types. The first have agents that are non-coreferential with the subject of the main clause. The second have agents that are coreferential with the subject of the main clause. The first type strongly resemble Greek genitive absolutes because of their high frequency of animate subject complements and the similar way in which they articulate referential coherence. The second type, which always contains a perfect passive participle, from a comparative perspective can be seen as a paradigmatic filler, which is a Latin alternative to an anterior active participle. Their subject complements are less frequently animate and in the word order (iconically) placed close to the subject of the main clause that is also the agent of the ablative absolute. However, paradigmatic differences have only minor consequences for the preferred sentence position of the absolute constructions and their internal complexity.

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