Towards a Syntax-Semantics Interface for Latin

Andrew M. Devine, Laurence D. Stephens


Latin is often cited as a typical example of a free word order language. Free word order inevitably complicates the compositional semantics for any theory in which functions are lexically defined to take their arguments in a fixed order. A number of sophisticated logical mechanisms have been suggested over the years to resolve this problem, but none of them is actually compatible with the Latin data. We adjust the syntax to fit the philological evidence and use the resulting structure as the basis for a simple semantics which allows arguments to be entered into the semantic composition in the order in which they are presented by the syntax.


Latin semantics; Latin syntax; Latin pragmatics; word order

Full Text:



Baldridge, Jason. 2002. Lexically Specified Derivational Control in Combinatory Categorial Grammar. PhD dissertation. University of Edinburgh.

Basilico, David. 1998. Object Position and Predication Forms. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 16: 541-595.

Beaver, David & Condoravdi, Cleo. 2007. On the logic of verbal modification. In Aloni, Maria, Dekker, Paul & Roelofsen, Floris (eds.). Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium, 3-9. Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam.

Bowers, John. 2010. Arguments as Relations. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Casadio, Claudia. 1990. A categorial approach to Latin syntax. Papers on Grammar 3:147-174.

Casadio, Claudia & Lambek, Jim. 2005. A Computational Algebraic Approach to Latin Grammar. Research on Language and Computation 3:45-60.

Champollion, Lucas. 2015. The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 38:31-66.

Devine, Andrew M. & Stephens, Laurence D. 2006. Latin Word Order. New York: Oxford University Press.

Eckardt, Regine. 2010. A Logic for Easy Linking Semantics. In Aloni, Maria et al. (eds.). Logic, Language and Meaning. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 6042, 274-283. Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer.

Fanselow, Gisbert. 2003. Free Constituent Order: A Minimalist Interface Account. Folia Linguistica 37: 191-231.

Hoffman, Beryl. 1995. Computational Analysis of the Syntax and Interpretation of “Free” Word Order in Turkish. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Pennsylvania.

Jackendoff, Ray. 1990. Semantic Structures. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Kracht, Marcus. 1999. Case at the syntax-semantics interface. Unpublished manuscript, II. Mathematisches Institut, Berlin.

Lasnik, Howard. 2001. Subjects, Objects, and the EPP. In Davies, Williams D. & Dubinsky, Stanley (eds.). Objects and other Subjects, 103-121. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Ramchand, Gillian C. 2008. Verb Meaning and the Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Steedman, Mark. 2007. On “the Computation.” In Ramchand, Gillian C. & Charles Reiss (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces, 575-611. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2017 Andrew Devine, Lawrence Stephens