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Dum Loquimur, Fugerit Inuida Aetas: On Tense And Actionality Of Latin Verba Dicendi

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Chapter Summary

In Modern French, and in other Romance languages, the extensive presence of the imparfait de narration with all its ramifications - much more extensive than in the mother-language - somewhat obscures the large share of verba dicendi in this constellation. For Latin the perceptible participation of verbs of saying, neutral ones and specific ones alike, in 'unwanted' imperfect forms was often noted. One trait not sufficiently commented upon in the context of actionality and in conjunction with the increased use of the imperfect pertains to the nature of the (pro)nominal actants involved, to be more specific, their numerus: plurality of any of the actants, as likewise plurality involved in the semantics of a satellite, appears to promote the imperfect in what was describedfor other languages as subject-or object-distributivity.

Keywords: distributivity; French; Latin



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