Linguistik-Klassifikation: Grammatikforschung / Grammar research
Verbal Noun or Verbal Adjective? The Case of the Latin Gerundive and Gerund
- It is the aim of this paper to present and elaborate a new solution to the old syntactic problems connected with the Latin gerundive and gerund, two verbal categories which have been interpreted variously either as adjective (or participle) or noun (or infinitive). These questions have been much discussed for quite a number of years […] but for the most part from a philological or purely diachronic point of view. All these linguists try to explain the peculiarities of these categories and their syntax by showing that the gerund is historically prior to the gerundive. [...] It is our thesis […] that in order to arrive at a unified account of gerundive and gerund we do not have to go back to prehistoric times. Even for the classical language gerund and gerundive represent the same category, in the sense that the gerund can be shown to be a special case of the gerundive. Additional evidence from a parallel construction in Hindi is adduced to make the Latin facts more plausible. It is only in the post-classical language that certain tendencies which had shown up already in Old Latin poetry become stronger and finally lead to a reanalysis of the gerundive and a split into two distinct syntactic constructions. The propositional meaning of the gerundive in its attributive use is explained with reference to a conflict between syntactic and cognitive principles. Special constructions which are the effects of such conflicts can be found in other parts of grammar. Languages differ with respect to the degree of syntacticization (or conventionalization) of these special constructions.