Left-Dislocation in Latin: Topics and Syntax in Republican Texts

Left-Dislocation in Latin: Topics and Syntax in Republican Texts

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In the construction known as left-dislocation, an element appears in a fronted position, before the clause to which it belongs, usually introducing the topic of the sentence. Based on a detailed analysis of syntax, information structure and pragmatic organization, this study explores how left-dislocation is used in republican Latin comedy, prose and inscriptions as a device to introduce topics or other pragmatically prominent elements. Taking into consideration especially relative clause syntax and constraints of each text type, Hilla Halla-aho shows that, in the context of early Latin syntax and the evolving standards of the written language, left-dislocation performs similar functions in dramatic dialogue, legal inscriptions and archaic prose.