Pro Drop

Hartmut Haberland hartmut at RUC.DK
Tue Feb 10 10:20:51 UTC 2004

W. Schulze wrote:

>The semantics of linguistic terms may be subjected to diachrony,
>semantic change and borrowing just as any other ordinary language term.
>The only thing is that we always have to make clear what we mean by the
>term in an actual framework.
One should add: and occasional translation errors. I don't know if
Wolfgang meant this when he referred to the term accusative; it goes
back to Greek aitiatiké (ptósis), which really is the 'case of the
caused (object)', like in 'I am writing a letter' (the writing is the
cause of the existence of the letter), and maybe should have been
translated into Latin as causativus. The reason for this blunder is
probably that the noun aitía both can be 'cause' and 'blame, accusation'.

Similar is probably the 'passive voice'; the Greek term pathetikós
related to páthos ('what happens to a person; experience; passion,
emotion; misfortune, calamity') is probably meant to be the 'process
voice' as opposed to the 'action voice', but was associated via the
Latin verb pati (not etymologically related to páthos) 'to suffer' with
suffering (cf. German Leideform).

Very much on a sideline, I see in Liddel and Scott's Greek-English
Dictionary that both words (aitiatikós and pathetikós) also are
technical terms in astrology, meaning 'noxious', and 'inactive (sc. sign
of the Zodiac)', resp.

Hartmut Haberland

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