This paper focuses on a specific type of “impersonal expression” in Old Persian (Skjærvø 2009: 106), the so-called mām kāma construction (example 1). Its meaning is ‘I desire’ and it is very similar to an Ancient Greek construction using the noun χρεώ (χρειώ) ‘need, necessity’ (example 2). Both constructions are relatively scarce: in the entire corpus of Achaemenid inscriptions there are 22 occurrences of the first, while the corresponding expression with χρεώ occurs 16 times, and exclusively in Homeric Greek. (1) yaθā mām kāma āha (DNa 36-38) as me.ACC desire.NOM be.IMPF.3SG ‘as was my desire’ (Schmitt 2000: 30); (2) ἐμὲ δὲ χρεὼ θᾶσσον ἱκέσθαι (Od. 15.201) me.ACC PTC need.NOM quickly.COMP go.INF.AOR ‘whereas I must needs hasten home’. It is worth noting that these constructions have several characteristics in common, which were noted only in part by R.G. Kent (1946). From a semantic perspective in particular, both expressions are experiential predications characterized by a low degree of transitivity. It is also significant that they have an identical basic structure, involving the same elements in the same (fixed) order: a) an accusative (generally a personal pronoun), which encodes the experiencer having the wish or the need; b) a nominative noun, the ‘wish’ in Old Persian and ‘need’ in Homeric Greek, both feelings in the subdomain of volition (Verhoeven 2007: 48); c) the third singular form, mostly regarding the verb ‘to be’ that is either expressed or implied. As regards the stimulus, this is always a proposition (or a propositional content) in Old Persian; in the corresponding Greek construction we find an infinitive or even, albeit rarely, a genitive (example 3). (3) τί δέ σε χρεὼ ἐμεῖο; (Il. 11.606) what.NOM PTC you.ACC need.NOM me.GEN ‘What need hast thou of me?’. In order to understand both the origin and the cognitive and linguistic motivation of the structure in question, the present work explores this construction type and its hierarchical relations with similar constructions, such as existential expressions, within the framework of Construction Grammar (Goldberg 1995; 2006). A new analysis is proposed which considers that this kind of modal structure may be an emerging new construction (a process of ‘constructionalization’, cf. Traugott and Trousdale 2013). It will be shown that both the Old Persian and the Ancient Greek expressions have the same function and are part of a similar process of constructionalization/grammaticalization in the formation of fixed formulas made up of invariable items, and with a modal function (for the development of Ancient Greek modal verbs, cf. Ruiz-Yamuza 2008 and the recent analysis in Danesi et al.). Finally, a diachronic perspective reveals that both constructions disappear in the later stages of the languages in which they belong: as mentioned above, expressions with χρεώ are attested only in Homeric Greek, while the mām kāma construction is partially replaced by a lexical verb kām- in middle Iranian languages.
‘Need’ and ‘desire’ in parallel expressions: Comparative remarks on a construction with a low degree of transitivity / Pompeo, Flavia; Benvenuto, Maria Carmela. - (2018). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Societas Linguistica Europaea 51st Annual Meeting tenutosi a Tallinn, Estonia.
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|Titolo:||‘Need’ and ‘desire’ in parallel expressions: Comparative remarks on a construction with a low degree of transitivity|
POMPEO, Flavia (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Citazione:||‘Need’ and ‘desire’ in parallel expressions: Comparative remarks on a construction with a low degree of transitivity / Pompeo, Flavia; Benvenuto, Maria Carmela. - (2018). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Societas Linguistica Europaea 51st Annual Meeting tenutosi a Tallinn, Estonia.|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||14s Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|