On Wed, 21 Jan 2009 02:36:39 -0800, Elliott Lash <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>As for the 'tríar manach do-rat' example ... the reason why I wasn't sure
this was a >nominativus pendens is that it's been my hunch (and only my
hunch) that nominativus >pendens is usually used to express
'topicalization'... stuff having to do with discourse old >information. Sort
of like an English sentence that has 'As for that guy...' 'Well, given that
>Discourse new information (or contrastive information) also known as
'focus' seems to be >commonly expressed by cleft sentences. That's why I
would have classified the 'tríar >manach...' sentence as a reduced cleft
(i.e. cleft with copula dropping) - since it's at the >beginning of the
discourse. It is presentational saying 'there were three monks'.
I know I am reviving this topic after a month of dormancy. I just noticed
the post yesterday and became a member of the list today...
Anyway, I think that the “tríar manach do-rat” example is indeed a
‘nominativus pendens’ and that the ‘nominativus pendens’ introduces topics,
as MacCoisdealbha argues in his thesis.
Topics can introduce information that is new to the discourse, as a way of
framing what will follow. Imagine we are at the breakfast table: “this man I
saw yesterday, he was clearly trying to break up with his girlfriend via
text message! What do you think about that!?!” The topic comes up out of the
blue and is not necessarily known to the hearer.
I suspect that that is the usage here in the “tríar manach do-rat” example.
One way Old Irish stories begin is with a ‘nominativus pendens’ construction:
TBF 1 Fróech mac Idaith do Chonnachtaib, mac-side do Bé Find.
“Fráich, son of Idath of the Connaught, he was the son of Bé Find.”
Three Monks Tríar manach do·rat díultad dont saegul.
“three monks, they turned their back to the world”
The fronted noun phrase serves to frame the following story.
Interestingly, pronouns (I mean the 'notae augentes' and "-side") do
sometimes resume the fronted noun in a ‘nominativus pendens’ construction.
In Würzburg, only “-side” and “són / ón” perform this resumptive function,
seen also in the “Tain bo Fraich” example above. Later (by Milan and Sg),
the ‘notae augentes’ occasionally also creep in as resumptors. The pronouns
are, however, as David Stifter mentioned, never necessary in a this
Wb 4d15 intí fora·tuit-som immurgu at·bail-side
“he upon whom it (the stone) falls, however, he dies”
Ml 45c9 flesc... 7 lorc... is samlid insin immetét leu-som int ais lósc
“a rod... and a staff... it is in this way that the cripples walk with them”
Interestingly, the ‘notae augentes’ and “-side” are absolutely barred in
cleft constructions. Thus, you can say:
in-fer-sin ad·ágathar-som día
“that man, he fears God”
But you can’t say:
(is) in-fer-sin ad·ágathar-som día
“it is that man who fears God”
This is because the ‘notae’ and “-side” are incompatible with relative verbs
with subject antecedent. Their presence can therefore be used as additional
help in determining if an example is ‘nominativus pendens’ or
(reduced-)cleft. Obviously, there is no pronoun in the “tríar manach”
example to help decide things, but it still seems to me that it is best
explained as ‘nominativus pendens’. I’d be curious to hear if there are
other thoughts on this, however.