Declinatio: A study of the linguistic theory of Marcus by Daniel J. Taylor

By Daniel J. Taylor

Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 B.C.) used to be essentially the most prolific writers in antiquity. in spite of the fact that, of his De Lingua Latina in simple terms six of 25 books have survived, and those are neither entire nor freed from textual corruption. This research is an try and supply an sufficient, constant, and finished account of the linguistic conception with which Varro operated insofar because it might be recovered from the is still of De Lingua Latina.

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Sample text

I maintain that the morphological processes of words are both voluntary and natural: voluntary whereby men have im­ posed certain names on things, as from Romulus the name Roma was imposed on the city and as Tiburtes is the name imposed on men from the town Tibur; natural whereby from imposed words forms are inflected for tenses or cases, as genitive Romuli and accusative Romulum from Romulus "the man named Romulus" and as from dioo "I say" there are the imperfect and plu­ perfect: forms dicebam and dixeram.

Uhlfelder was correct to focus attention on the biological aspect of language, but one must look further within language in order to analyze the use of natura as a term denoting inflectional morphology in Varro. Uhlfelder (1966:594-95) stated with regard to inflectional uni­ formity and regularity that the occasionally implied attribute of cogency is consistent with the idea of an organic nature whose laws cannot be revoked. Cogency may be too strong a word, but her statement does pinpoint the source for Varro's use of natura to denote the systematic and automatic regularity of inflectional morphology.

G. g. g. docte "learnedly", facete "finely". And the classification had first been expressed much earlier: Cum verborum declinatuum genera sint quattuor, unum quod tempora adsignificat neque habet casus, ut ab lego leges, lege; alterum quod casus habet neque tempora adsignificat, ut ab lego lectio et lector; tertium quod habet utrunque et tempora et casus, ut ab lego legens, lecturus; quartum quod neutrum habet, ut ab lego lecte ac lectissime,.. "; a second which has cases but does not indicate tenses, as lectio "selection, act of reading" and leotor "reader, selector"; a third which has both tense and case, as legens "reading, choosing" and lecturus "soon to read, choose"; a fourth which has neither, as lecte "selectively" and lectissime "most selectively"; (all examples are derived from a base word which means either 'to read' or 'to choose')...

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