Left-Dislocation in Latin

Topics and Syntax in Republican Texts


Now available in Open Access thanks to the support of the University of Helsinki. In the construction known as left-dislocation, an element appears in a fronted position, before the clause to which it belongs, usually introducing the topic of the sentence. Based on a detailed analysis of syntax, information structure and pragmatic organization, this study explores how left-dislocation is used in republican Latin comedy, prose and inscriptions as a device to introduce topics or other pragmatically prominent elements. Taking into consideration especially relative clause syntax and constraints of each text type, Hilla Halla-aho shows that, in the context of early Latin syntax and the evolving standards of the written language, left-dislocation performs similar functions in dramatic dialogue, legal inscriptions and archaic prose.
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Hilla Halla-aho, Ph.D. (2008), University of Helsinki, has published studies on Latin syntax, pragmatics and documentary material. Her earlier publications include the monograph The Non-Literary Latin Letters. A Study of Their Syntax and Pragmatics (2009).
"(...) it would be a shame if the specialized nature of the study were to limit its readers to advanced philologists and linguists. The writing is clear and generally precise; the nuances separating related technical terms from different areas of specialization are consistently addressed. (...) Thus, this is a book that makes a valuable contribution to the study of early Latin, the relationship between speech and text, and the connections among genres and contexts in Latin’s first century as a literary language. (...) Scholars already familiar with those debates will find much here with which to engage, while Latinists at all levels can appreciate the window into syntax as a cultural, as much as a linguistic, phenomenon." Jessica H. Clark, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2019.09.33.
"The book is replete with interesting observations and demonstrating many strengths. Among the latter, first, Halla-aho sharply parses the Latin of a wide variety of authors (see e.g. the bravura analysis of a passage from Lucretius at pages 148-149), while leaving open the possibility for alternative views. She nimbly wields the tools at her disposal and employs all the available information, including, when relevant, the extralinguistic context: in inscriptions, she examines interpuncts, indentations and so on in order to determine whether LD works hand in hand with other visual devices to mark shifts in topic. Readers will be rewarded by working through this book, which sets a firm foundation for future scholarship on Left Dislocation, particularly in later periods of Latin; it also provides a model for how judicious use of linguistic theory can offer robust descriptions of some apparently familiar topics." Peter Barrios Lech, CJ Online 2021.09.03
1 Introduction  1.1 What Is Left-Dislocation? The Aims and Coverage of This Study  1.2 Genre, Text Type and Register  1.3 Left-Dislocation and Relative Clauses  1.4 The Republican Latin Corpus  1.5 Left-Dislocation and Early Latin Syntax
2 Defining Left-Dislocation  2.1 Syntactic and Pragmatic Aspects of Left-Dislocation in Latin  2.2 Left-Dislocation and the Latin Relative Clause  2.3 Earlier Studies on Left-Dislocation in Latin  2.4 Concluding Remarks
3 Left-Dislocation in Comedy (With an Appendix on Lucretius)  3.1 Introduction  3.2 Syntactic Description of Left-Dislocation in Comedy  3.3 Information Structure and Pragmatic Functions of Left-Dislocation in Comedy  3.4 Discussion and Conclusion  3.5 Information Structure and Pragmatic Organization of Head-Internal Relative Clauses (A1 and A2)  3.6 Comparison of LD with Sentence-Initial Relative Clauses without Resumption in the Matrix Clause (B2 and C2)  3.7 Appendix on LD in Lucretius
4 Left-Dislocation in the Epigraphic Material  4.1 Introduction  4.2 Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, Sententia Minuciorum, Lex de pariete faciendo  4.3 The Roman Statutes  4.4 Discussion on the Statutes and Other Legal Inscriptions  4.5 Relevant Constructions from other (Private) Inscriptions  4.6 Discussion and Conclusions
5 Left-Dislocation in Republican Prose  5.1 Introduction  5.2 M. Porcius Cato: De agricultura  5.3 Roman Historians and Orators  5.4 M. Terentius Varro  5.5 Conclusion
6 Conclusion
Bibliography Subject Index Index Locorum
Scholars working on Latin syntax, especially in the republican period, and generally those interested in how syntax, particularly in its non-standard form, is influenced by information structure and pragmatic organization.
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