Preposed Verb-initial Units
Posted: September 19th, 2018, 12:59 pm
Reading this again after a year or two, I am only beginning to comprehend what Tom Recht is doing here. I have a lot of lingering doubts about the viability of his project. His claim to be taking a non-syntactic approach to the subject sounds rather strange. He breaks down the sub classes of Preposed Verb-initial Units by syntactic categories, how is that non-syntactic? I am wondering what sort of analysis he is trying to accomplish. He says "Such units are definable in both informational and prosodic terms" which appears to address my question, but I am still uncertain as to what this discussion is actually about. Take a look at CH. 3.3.1A fact that has often gone unremarked in previous analyses of clause-initial verbs
in Greek is that many such verbs are fronted along with additional material: that
is, initial verbs can be followed by one or more other constituents or subconstituents
with which they appear to form a unit. Such units are definable in both
informational and prosodic terms. Understanding the functions of initial verbs, as
I hope to show in this study, requires an understanding both of these additional
elements and of the function of these units as a whole.
I will refer to such initial units—both those consisting of a verb by itself and
those consisting of a verb followed by one or more other elements—as ‘preposed
verb-initial units’ or PVUs.
Tom Recht, “Verb-Initial Clauses in Ancient Greek Prose: A Discourse-Pragmatic Study” (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2015, Ch.3, page 39 (pdf p.47).
PDF available from Berkeley or Stanford.
Mystifying discussion as if PVU were some sort of established entity which hasn't been proven.The status of non-verbal elements in PVUs
The inventory just given has shown that the conditions licensing inclusion of nonverbal elements in a PVU cannot be syntactic, as all kinds of syntactic material can appear in PVUs. Rather, these conditions are discourse-pragmatic. Specifically, I argue that the inclusion of non-verbal elements in a PVU is licensed by the following discourse-pragmatic criterion:This criterion holds for all PVUs in my corpus.The referents of non-verbal elements in a PVU must either (a) be
discourse-active or discourse-inferable, or (b) form part of an introduced
topic together with the verb. Stated otherwise, they must be
part of the common ground, either (a) actually, or (b) by requested