As is well known, early Indo-European languages had different ways of expressing the predicative possession: 1) verbs with a transitive construction, like the Ancient Greek oecw; these are more recent and have developed differently in the various languages (Proto-Indo-European, actually, lacked a transitive verb ‘to have’); 2) predicative construction like oesti moi and oesti mou, which included a form of the verb ‘to be’ and an oblique case, denoting the Possessor, while the Possessee was expressed by the subject of the verb. On the basis of these two kinds of predicative structures, Isačenko (1974) differentiated world languages in «have» and «be languages». The aim of our paper is to re-examine in a contrastive way two kinds of possessive sentences of Ancient Greek, oesti moi and oesti mou (moi and mou represent any nominal/pronominal constituent), and to describe the functional differentiation between them, taking into consideration multiple parameters: a) semantic, b) syntactic and c) pragmatic. Obviously, the semantic and pragmatic features chosen for the classification are those typical of predicative possession and of the entities involved (Possessor and Possessee); where possible, the definiteness (used here as a semantic concept) will be taken into account, as well as the nature inherent or established (cf. Seiler, 1983) of the relation between Possessor and Possessee. From a syntactical perspective, we will analyse relevant tendencies in word order and particular attention will be paid to genitive/dative-first sequence as well as the possibility of insertion of other constituents in the linear structure of the two constructions. Moreover, we will evaluate if these syntactic phenomena must be connected with the almost invariably rhematic character of the Possessor, which represents the informational core of the predication. Finally, in order to estimate the dynamic occurring between these two constructions and other possessive sentence types, the roles of the oesti moi and oesti mou constructions will be analysed within the whole frame of predications of possessions in Ancient Greek, taking into account oecw (Kulneff-Eriksson, 1999) and the sentences with possessive pronoun instead of the constituent in the genitive. We analyse these constructions in a corpus extending from the Homeric texts up to the mid-fourth century B.C (Homer, Iliad; Homer, Odyssey; Herodotus, The Histories, Books 1, 3, 4; Aristophanes, Acharnanians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace; Xenophon, Anabasis; Plato, Symposium, Phaedrus). Under the theoretical framework provided by functional and cognitive studies, taking into account the above parameters and the way they interact, we will show that the oesti moi and oesti mou constructions are respectively a «have-» and a «belong- construction» (cf. Heine, 1997) and present two different functional profiles with dissimilar functions of the verb and a different pragmatic status of the Possessee and the Possessor (Bauer, 2000; Benveniste, 1966). In particular we will focus on the following aspects, already studied by Nuti (2005) in Latin. a) The possessive predicative dative has a presentative-existential structure and its function is to predicate the existence of a relation between a Possessor and a Possessee; frequently, the Possessee is an entity in some respect new in the sentence, either newly introduced or about which something new is told, which have some kind of focus function. Differently, oecw may occur in all sentences, irrespective of the pragmatic status of the possession (Kulneff-Eriksson, 1999: 171). b) The possessive predicative genitive expresses ‘belonging to’ as a “property or distinctive mark” (Kahn, 1973: 168). It predicates a state of a certain entity (Possessee) that is somehow related to another (Possessor), usually human, whose relation to the former is already taken for granted; consequently, the informational core of the predication is the identification of the Possessor and not the existence of a relation. This is reflected in the fact that the Possessee is always the topic and generally an entity that has been previously mentioned within the discourse; as such, it can often be omitted. Differently, the subject must almost invariably be present in dative sentences. As already stated in Bolkenstein (2001) for Latin, in the genitive type the verb ei ai has merely a predicative function: it fully expresses the function of a copula, whose predicate is the constituent in the genitive with no possibility of insertion of other constituents in the linear structure of the construction.

The expressions of predicative possession in Ancient Greek: “εἶναι plus dative” and “εἶναι plus genitive” constructions. A cognitive-functional approach / Benvenuto, Maria Carmela; Pompeo, Flavia. - (2010). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Colloque international de syntaxe grecque et latine - International conference on Greek and Latin syntax tenutosi a École normale supérieure-Sorbonne; Paris; France.

The expressions of predicative possession in Ancient Greek: “εἶναι plus dative” and “εἶναι plus genitive” constructions. A cognitive-functional approach

Maria Carmela Benvenuto
;
Flavia Pompeo
2010

Abstract

As is well known, early Indo-European languages had different ways of expressing the predicative possession: 1) verbs with a transitive construction, like the Ancient Greek oecw; these are more recent and have developed differently in the various languages (Proto-Indo-European, actually, lacked a transitive verb ‘to have’); 2) predicative construction like oesti moi and oesti mou, which included a form of the verb ‘to be’ and an oblique case, denoting the Possessor, while the Possessee was expressed by the subject of the verb. On the basis of these two kinds of predicative structures, Isačenko (1974) differentiated world languages in «have» and «be languages». The aim of our paper is to re-examine in a contrastive way two kinds of possessive sentences of Ancient Greek, oesti moi and oesti mou (moi and mou represent any nominal/pronominal constituent), and to describe the functional differentiation between them, taking into consideration multiple parameters: a) semantic, b) syntactic and c) pragmatic. Obviously, the semantic and pragmatic features chosen for the classification are those typical of predicative possession and of the entities involved (Possessor and Possessee); where possible, the definiteness (used here as a semantic concept) will be taken into account, as well as the nature inherent or established (cf. Seiler, 1983) of the relation between Possessor and Possessee. From a syntactical perspective, we will analyse relevant tendencies in word order and particular attention will be paid to genitive/dative-first sequence as well as the possibility of insertion of other constituents in the linear structure of the two constructions. Moreover, we will evaluate if these syntactic phenomena must be connected with the almost invariably rhematic character of the Possessor, which represents the informational core of the predication. Finally, in order to estimate the dynamic occurring between these two constructions and other possessive sentence types, the roles of the oesti moi and oesti mou constructions will be analysed within the whole frame of predications of possessions in Ancient Greek, taking into account oecw (Kulneff-Eriksson, 1999) and the sentences with possessive pronoun instead of the constituent in the genitive. We analyse these constructions in a corpus extending from the Homeric texts up to the mid-fourth century B.C (Homer, Iliad; Homer, Odyssey; Herodotus, The Histories, Books 1, 3, 4; Aristophanes, Acharnanians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace; Xenophon, Anabasis; Plato, Symposium, Phaedrus). Under the theoretical framework provided by functional and cognitive studies, taking into account the above parameters and the way they interact, we will show that the oesti moi and oesti mou constructions are respectively a «have-» and a «belong- construction» (cf. Heine, 1997) and present two different functional profiles with dissimilar functions of the verb and a different pragmatic status of the Possessee and the Possessor (Bauer, 2000; Benveniste, 1966). In particular we will focus on the following aspects, already studied by Nuti (2005) in Latin. a) The possessive predicative dative has a presentative-existential structure and its function is to predicate the existence of a relation between a Possessor and a Possessee; frequently, the Possessee is an entity in some respect new in the sentence, either newly introduced or about which something new is told, which have some kind of focus function. Differently, oecw may occur in all sentences, irrespective of the pragmatic status of the possession (Kulneff-Eriksson, 1999: 171). b) The possessive predicative genitive expresses ‘belonging to’ as a “property or distinctive mark” (Kahn, 1973: 168). It predicates a state of a certain entity (Possessee) that is somehow related to another (Possessor), usually human, whose relation to the former is already taken for granted; consequently, the informational core of the predication is the identification of the Possessor and not the existence of a relation. This is reflected in the fact that the Possessee is always the topic and generally an entity that has been previously mentioned within the discourse; as such, it can often be omitted. Differently, the subject must almost invariably be present in dative sentences. As already stated in Bolkenstein (2001) for Latin, in the genitive type the verb ei ai has merely a predicative function: it fully expresses the function of a copula, whose predicate is the constituent in the genitive with no possibility of insertion of other constituents in the linear structure of the construction.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1335485
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