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The birth of the adjective class as a problem of translation

Luca Alfieri
Published Online: 2015-04-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0007

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze the translation of grammatical terminology. One of the main differences between the Greek-Latin parts of speech theory and that of traditional later European linguistics (from Port Royal onwards) lies in the existence of the adjective as an independent word class. The paper examines the definitions of the categories of noun, verb and epithet/adjective from Dionysius Thrax through the 17th century, with the aim of showing that the birth of the adjective as an independent word class, along with the stabilization of the labels nomen substantivum and adjectivum with reference to the common noun and the adjective, hides a problem in meta-semiotic translation. Specifically, the issue concerns the translationreinterpretation of Aristotle’s metaphysics in light of Neo-platonic ontology during the Middle Ages, as well as its influence on the reinterpretation-translation of the Greek-Latin parts of speech theory between Late Antiquity and the Renaissance.

Keywords: history of linguistic thought; history of parts of speech theory; ancient grammatical theories

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About the article

Received: 2015-02-20

Accepted: 2015-02-27

Published Online: 2015-04-30


Citation Information: Open Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0007.

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© 2015 Luca Alfieri. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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