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The Development of Latin Clause StructureA Study of the Extended Verb Phrase$
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Lieven Danckaert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759522

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198759522.001.0001

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What is at stake

What is at stake

Word order, configurationality, and the potential for structural ambiguity

(p.1) 1 What is at stake
The Development of Latin Clause Structure

Lieven Danckaert

Oxford University Press

Starting from the observation that Latin word order is remarkably flexible, this chapter presents and compares four different approaches (non-configurational, semi-configurational, hybrid, and fully configurational) to Latin clausal syntax. It is pointed out that only fully configurational approaches can accommodate so-called higher-order constituents, like verb phrases. Next, the concept of structural ambiguity is introduced, and it is shown how the four systems mentioned make different predictions with respect to the availability of this phenomenon, and how one obtains very different descriptive results in a study on Latin word order if structural ambiguity is controlled for or it is not. The last part of the chapter provides a number of arguments that Latin has a VP constituent, and therefore that a configurational approach is on the right track. The conclusion is that in a study on Latin word order it is indeed necessary to systematically control for structural ambiguity.

Keywords:   configurationality, hierarchical structure, word order, structural ambiguity, free word order, constituency, verb phrase, negation

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