Academic journal article Linguistic Discovery

Parataxis, Hypotaxis and Para-Hypotaxis in the Zamucoan Languages

Academic journal article Linguistic Discovery

Parataxis, Hypotaxis and Para-Hypotaxis in the Zamucoan Languages

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The term para-hypotaxis (henceforth: P-H) was first introduced by Sorrento (1929; 1950) and is still commonly used by Romance linguists. It designates sentences containing a proleptic dependent clause, with the main clause preceded by a coordinator, as in the following scheme (see also fn. 2):

(1) SUB + dependent-clause + COORD + main-clause

The proposal of P-H can be viewed as one of the first attempts to overcome the dychotomic conception of the parataxis/hypotaxis contrast. It is no wonder that the observation was made with reference to Old Romance texts, due to the relatively high frequency of this kind of structure in all literary genres until the 15th century, with a slightly different timing in the individual languages. Here are examples from Old French (2), Old Occitan (3), Old Portuguese (4), Old Spanish (5) and Old Italian (6) texts:

(2) Old French (Aucassin et Nicolette 18,10)

Entreusque il mengeoient, et Nicolette s'esveille au

while they eat.IMPERF and Nicolette wakeup.PRES to.the

cri des oisiax ...

cry of.the birds

'While they were eating, Nicolette woke up to the birds' cries...'

(3) Old Occitan (Chanson de la croisade albigeoise, Bartsch-Koschwitz, Chrestomathie Provencale, 1904 (6), p. 203)

E si venoi-lh Frances, que vulhan asautar, e nos ab las

and if come-3P French who want.3P assault and we with the

balestas es far-em tot-z nafrar

arbalests them do.FUT-3P all-P wound.INF

'And if the French people come and want to assault us, we shall wound them with the arbalests.'

(4) Old Portuguese (Liederbuch der Konigs Denis von Portugal, Lang, Halle, 1894, 2722)

E quand el disse: ir-me quer eu deitar,

and when he say.PRET-3P go-INF-1S want.1 1S lie_down.INF

e dix'eu: bo-a ventura ajad-es

and say.PRET-3P good.F fortune accomplish.SUBJ-2P

'And when he said: <>, I said: <>.'

(5) Old Spanish (El libro dela Caza, G. Baist (ed.), Halle, 1880, 7, 29)

quando los can-es lleg-an a la grua quanto bien la

when DET.MP dog-P come-3P to ART.FS crane how_much well 3FS

tom-an en guardar los falcon-es qu' eles non faz-en ningun

take-3P in check.INF ART.MP falcon-P SUB 3MP NEG do.SUBJ-3P no

mal, e es muy marabillos-a cosa

harm and Is very wonderful.F thing

'When the dogs reach the crane, it is wonderful (to observe) how carefully they protect her from the falcons, so that they do not do any harm to it'

(6) Old Italian (Dante Alighieri, Inf. 30.115)

S' io dissi il falso, e tu

If 1S say.1S.PAST.PERF DET.MS false-MS COORD 2s

falsasti il conio

alter-2s.PAST.PERF DET.MS minting_die-MS

'If I said something false, you (did worse, for you) altered the minting die'

P-H was fairly common in Late Latin, but the first examples date from much earlier times (7).

This is noteworthy, for it discards the diachronic hypothesis based on the influence of Hebrew on Late Latin via Bible translations (see [section] 5, especially fn. 11). As it happens, this syntactic structure is not only very old, but liable to arise in completely unrelated languages. (2) The influence of Late Latin on the early Romance languages is, on the other hand, quite likely, just as it is an established fact that Bible Hebrew presented frequent examples of P-H (8).

(7) Latin (Plautus, Ep. 217)

quom ad portam veni-o, atque ego illam illi


vide-o praestolarier et cum ea tibicinae

see. PRES.IND-1S wait_for.INF COORD with 3.ABL.FS flute_player-NOM.FP

ibant quattuor

go.PAST.IMPERF-3P four

'When I arrive at the gate, full of impatience, I see her there coming, accompanied by four flute players'

(8) Hebrew (Bible, 1 Sam 11, 3)

we-'im-'en mosia 'etanu we-yasa'nu 'eleyka

and-if-there_is_not saving/delivering. …

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