The Latin verb phrase. Delimitation, internal structure, and diachronic evolution

Start - End 
2011 - 2013 (completed)



The project's aim is to deepen our understanding of the syntactic properties of the Latin clause. Assuming the traditional division of the clause in Vorfeld, Mittelfeld and Nachfeld, the focus is on the Mittelfeld and the Nachfeld, and in particular the distribution of the verb, its arguments and functional elements like adverbs and negation. The project complements recent work on Latin word order (Salvi 2004; Devine & Stephens 2006; Spevak 2010; Danckaert 2011), which mainly focuses on the Vorfeld. The research will be based on a corpus of over 3.500.000 words, ranging from 350 BC to 550 AD. The theoretical background is that of formal syntax, in particular the cartographic approach, whose aim is to identify the elementary building blocks of the sentence. The proposal is innovative by the scale and methodology of the corpus research envisaged. For the first time, the study of Latin syntax will be based on a study of such a large data set. A second distinctive feature is that the proposal combines the rigorous empirical study typical of the philological tradition with contemporary corpus linguistics and with insights from present-day formal linguistics. The research will offer significant contributions to both classical philology and formal syntax.