Sentential Complementation in Akkadian

By Cohen, Eran | The Journal of the American Oriental Society, October-December 2002 | Go to article overview

Sentential Complementation in Akkadian


Cohen, Eran, The Journal of the American Oriental Society


SCHEMATIC SUMMARY

GUY DEUTSCHER'S RECENT BOOK comprises a number of studies that treat different facets of sentential complementation in Akkadian. Following a short introductory chapter, the second chapter is a general discussion of the term "sentential complementation." The third is an introduction to Akkadian for the non-specialist reader, including a short but useful section devoted to the language of the letters. The fourth chapter is an attempt to prove that finite complements marked by kima originate in historically adverbial clauses of the same structure. Chapter 5 describes the evolution of the quotative marker umma X-ma. Chapter 6 introduces the functional domain of complementation. Chapters 7 and 8 describe the complementation of verbs of perception and knowledge and verbs of manipulation, respectively. The ninth chapter treats indirect questions. Chapter 10 adduces cross-linguistic parallels to the Babylonian development. The last chapter discusses putative reasons for the development of finite complementation in Babylonian.

The book as a whole is a thorough, large-scale investigation of several interrelated issues in the diachronic syntax of Babylonian. The resulting diachronic statements are obtained only after the synchronic facts regarding the issues in question have been recovered and stated. Some synchronic facts of Old Babylonia syntax are actually revealed for the first time in this book. The comments to follow stem mainly from the reviewer's different interpretation of the material or are the result of a disparate linguistic point of view.

COMPLEMENTATION

What is referred to by Deutscher as "sentential complementation" should more precisely be regarded as substantival clauses, for such clauses, in addition to their function as objects, can commute (i.e., they can serve as subject, object, appositives, etc., at least in principle) with an infinitive anywhere in the text. Viewing these clauses as arguments is perhaps a bit too extreme (since verbal arguments may just as well be adverbial, e.g., "behave well," "se comporter comme il faut"), and does not account for that-clauses adjoining a substantive, viz., "the fact that you came," etc. (if we remember that the substantive fact has no parallel verb synchronically requiring such complementation, nor is it a sentence).

Chapter 4 is an attempt to show that complement kima-clauses emerged from adverbial kima-clauses via a semantic bleaching process of kima. Such proposed bleaching is a mirror of the same ever-debated issue in regard to Indo-European languages. Deutscher derives the conjunction kima from the preposition kima, taking the latter as diachronically preceding the conjunction (p. 38), probably on semantic grounds. (Note that while the element k- in Semitic is indeed comparative, it also has a co-temporal value.)

The hard evidence indeed shows that kima-clauses are not attested as substantival clauses in Old Akkadian. This conforms well to another view stating that there had been, in pre-Old Akkadian times, a particle *ma / ma having just this function. (1)

TRANSITIVITY

Deutscher says (p. 50) that verba dicendi are weakly transitive or intransitive. It is true that verba dicendi do occur with no nominal objects (e.g., direct speech, or with no object at all) but they do just as frequently appear with objects; note, in past chains, their co-occurrence with infinitives. It is normal for a verbum dicendi to take a direct citation as its object, (2) which does not make it any less transitive. Transitivity in Akkadian means the capacity, rather than the requirement, to have an object. The verb nadanum ("to give"), a natural double-object verb, often comes with merely one, at times even no object at all. Nevertheless it is not to be considered an intransitive. A paratactic structure like qibisum-ma lillik ("tell him he should go," lit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sentential Complementation in Akkadian
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.