Come la linguistica teorica può contribuire a rinnovare l’insegnamento della sintassi nominale latina

Rossella Iovino (Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali Comparati, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia)


This article aims at giving a contribution to the renovation of the teaching of Latin by offering some reflections on the idea that Latin freedom of word order is only apparent and it is controlled by a syntactic structure which follows both universal principles and specific rules of Latin. Furthermore, I intend to support the validity of the comparative approach, which takes into account data of Latin, of the students’ mother tongue and of other foreign languages. In particular, I will focus on the generative theory of nominal syntax on demonstratives and adjectives simplified for teaching purposes. Indeed, the analysis of the data taken from a corpus of Latin noun phrases shows that (1) not all logically possible combinations of words are attested and (2) not all the attested orders are found with the same frequency. Thus, this approach can help students in developing their ability of reflecting explicitly on language structures and on their semantic and pragmatic interpretations.

DOI: 10.4424/lam22013-1


Latin language; Language teaching; Word order; Syntagmatic structure; Comparative approach; Formal linguistics; Neo-comparative method.

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