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On the distribution of subject infinitives in Latin and Homeric Greek

Claudia Fabrizio

Abstract


The paper explores the distribution of infinitives in subject function in Latin and Homeric Greek. As a matter of fact, in these languagues a nominal infinitive can appear in in subject function if the finite verb of the clause belongs to a restricted set of intransitive predicates, all taking non-agentive subjects, thus pointing to an Aktionsart-based distribution.  Some features of Latin and Homeric Greek infinitives are also discussed as further evidence for their status of non-canonical subjects. Their distribution is compared with that of suffixed action nouns, which denote abstract notions but may play the role of agentive subjects. The analysis allows to conclude that infinitives are non-agentive verbal nouns functioning as non-canonical subjects.


Keywords


Latin, Homeric Greek, infinitives, semantic alignment, Aktionsart, non-canonical subjects.

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