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Journal of Latin Linguistics

Ed. by Calboli, Gualtiero / Cuzzolin, Pierluigi

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What does ἐπί really mean? Contact and dimensionality of the landmark as basic semantic categories in the locative prepositional phrases with ἐπί

Helena Rodríguez Somolinos
Published Online: 2013-12-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/joll-2013-0011


The spatial relations expressed by the preposition ἐπί can be clarified attending to the dimensionality of the landmark as a basic semantic category, along with the constant notion of contact, belonging to the preposition. On the contrary, the orientation – from which the traditional explanations are derived – is important but clearly secondary. After explaining the coexistence and partial synonymy of ἐπί with dat. and gen. starting from the uses with three-dimensional landmarks, the study of the uses with two- and one-dimensional landmarks allows reformulation of the basic meaning of the preposition. In turn, this allows recognition of a system based on a very particular conceptual view about limits and ends in the different dimensions, a conceptual view in decline since Homer, although we can find other traces of it here and there, also in Latin.

Keywords: Greek prepositions; ἐπί; locative meanings; dimensionality; limits and extremes; visual conceptualization; Latin ob, ad, extremus, exter, exterior

About the article

Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterráneo y Oriente Próximo, CSIC, Madrid

Published Online: 2013-12-04

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Journal of Latin Linguistics, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 199–230, ISSN (Online) 2194-8747, ISSN (Print) 2194-8739, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/joll-2013-0011.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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