The Noun Phrase in Classical Latin Prose


Author: Olga Spevak
The internal ordering of Latin noun phrases is very flexible in comparison with modern European languages. Whereas there are a number of studies devoted to the variable placement of modifiers, The Noun Phrase in Classical Latin Prose proposes an entirely new approach: a discussion of the semantic and syntactic properties of both nouns and modifiers. Using recent insights in general linguistics, it argues that not only pragmatic factors but also semantic factors (whether we are dealing with an inherent property, the author’s assessment, or a further specification of a referent) are responsible for the internal ordering of Latin noun phrases. Additionally, this book discusses prepositional phrases functioning as modifiers, and appositions, which have received little attention in the literature.

Login via Institution

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Olga Spevak, Ph.D. Paris IV-Sorbonne University (2001), is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Toulouse 2, France. She has published many articles on syntax and word order in Latin. She is the author of the much acclaimed book Constituent Order in Classical Latin Prose (John Benjamins, 2010).
" On the whole this is an excellent volume, and Latinists can be thankful that a thorough, sophisticated, and state-of-the-art study of noun phrases is now available. The subject is complex, and the explanation is equally so. This volume is not, nor does it claim to be the final word on all aspects of the noun phrase in Latin, but Spevak has provided us with elevated parameters, a wealth of data, and so many specific questions to pursue that scholars are positioned to make great advances in the decades to come." Patrick McFadden, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.11.34.


1. Introduction
2. The noun
2.1. Parameters for a description of nouns
2.2. Specific – generic – referential
2.3. The typology of nouns
2.4. Noun valency
3. Modifiers
3.1. The types of modifiers
3.2. The frequency of modifiers
3.3. The typology of modifiers and hierarchic levels
3.4. Determiners, quantifiers, and identifiers
3.5. Adjectives
3.6. Genitive complements
3.7. Dative, ablative, and accusative complements
3.8. Prepositional phrases
3.9. Embedded predications
4. Conclusions

1. Introduction
1.1. Pragmatic functions of noun phrases and their components
1.2. Values of modifiers
1.3. The referent
1.4. Special arrangements
1.5. The placement of modifiers: problems of analysis
1.6. An overview of the nouns examined
2. Quantifying a referent
2.1. Count nouns
2.2. Non-count nouns
3. Specifying a referent
3.1. Classifying adjectives
3.2. Adjectives derived from proper names
4. Describing a referent
4.1. Inanimate concrete entities
4.2. Animate entities
5. Evaluating a referent
5.1. Attribution of an abstract quality
5.2. Evaluations of extent or importance
6. Identifying a referent
6.1. Adjectives expressing a relative position
6.2. Ordinal numerals
7. Expressions of possession
7.1. Adjectives derived from proper names
7.2. Possessive genitives
8. Valency complements
8.1. Subjective and objective genitives
8.2. Possessive pronouns
8.3. Prepositional phrases with cum
8.4. Prepositional phrases with de
8.5. Completive clauses
9. Other complements
9.1. Genitives with dies and liber
9.2. Prepositional phrases with de
10. Complex noun phrases
10.1. Framing of noun phrases
10.2. Memoria and opinio
11. Conclusions

1. Objective
2. Prepositional phrases: the ordering of their components
2.1. Integration of modifiers and framing
2.2. The method
2.3. Quantifiers
2.4. Adjectives
2.5. Multiple modifiers
2.6. Genitive complements
3. Adnominal prepositional phrases
3.1. Problems of attachment
3.2. Nouns governing prepositional phrases
3.3. Adjectives governing prepositional phrases
3.4. Partitive expressions
4. Conclusions

1. Introduction
2. Two types of apposition: close apposition and free apposition
2.1. First overview
2.2. Close appositions
2.3. Free appositions
2.4. Problems with the description of appositions
2.5. Sp. Albinus consul vs. consul Albinus
2.6. Distribution of appositions in a sample
3. Close appositions
3.1. Appositions with consul and praetor
3.2. Appositions with urbs and oppidum
3.3. Appositions with flumen / fluvius
3.4. Agreement
4. Free appositions
4.1. General properties
4.2. Free appositions with official functions
4.3. Free appositions with urbs, oppidum, and flumen
4.4. Free appositions with homo and familiaris
4.5. Agreement
4.6. The use of prepositions in free appositions
4.7. Discontinuity
5. Other appositions
5.1. Kinship nouns
5.2. Rex
5.3. Status and activity
5.4. Two common nouns
5.5. Explicit indicators of appositions
6. Right dislocation (Tail constituents)
6.1. Tail constituents related to a noun or a pronoun
6.2. Right dislocated constituents expressing subjective evaluation
7. Conclusions



Classical scholars, especially those interested in linguistics, as well as general linguists interested in the structure of noun phrases and in the variable ordering of modifiers.