mit und wervandtes

claude-hagege claude-hagege at WANADOO.FR
Mon Dec 21 15:15:19 UTC 2009


Dear all, 

    Although the discussion on Wolfgang's comment about mit has already been summarized twice, I'd like to adduce some observations. Unlike some of the participants in this forum, I 'd suggest mit and the corresponding tools in this use are indeed topic markers rather than adpositions (cf., if I may, Section 2.4.2.5, on this very matter, in Adpositions, to be published by Oxford University Press in the beginning of 2010). Let us look again at some of the examples mentioned:
 Job. 12:2 אָמְנָם כִּי אַתֶּם־עָם וְעִמָּכֶם תָּמוּת חָכְמָה׃
> LXX: εἶτα ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἄνθρωποι ἦ μεθ' ὑμῶν τελευτήσει σοφία
> Vulgate: ergo vos estis soli homines et vobiscum morietur sapientia
> Luther: Ja, ihr seid die Leute, mit euch wird die Weisheit sterben!
> King James: No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.

What do we notice? In none of the examples given so far does the word equivalent to mit have a comitative meaning. Furthermore, 'imakhem, μεθ' ὑμῶν , vobiscum, mit euch all follow a coordinator-marked or a pause-marked (comma in the written form) part of the sentence. Similarly, v ego lice, avec, con, etc. are either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence where they appear. These are characteristics of topic-markers. True, problems are raised by such word-orders as that found in Uns verliess mit Paul ein guter Freund, or Icelandic Við höfum með Evu misst sanna vinkonu, in both of which the position of the mit-/ með -marked NP is not, it seems, that of a topic. But should'nt we stop shying away from intonation studies? It is worth examining carefully, with informants, whether the NP introduced by mit or með  in these examples has the same intonational contour as ordinary adverbial complements, like comitative ones? Thus, as a (provisory) conclusion, I would say that we should test the hypothesis that mit and corresponding words in the other languages mentioned are topic-markers. 


Best 

 Claude
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