Verbs introducing direct speech in Late Latin texts

Author: Mikulová, Jana
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2015, vol. 20, iss. 2, pp. [123]-143
Extent
[123]-143
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
This paper examines means for introducing direct speech in selected Late Latin texts with a focus on verbal ones. The most frequently used verbs are dicere in finite forms, ait and the present participle dicens. The introducers inquit, ait and dicens show signs of at least incipient stages of grammaticalization. Ait is almost completely reserved for introducing direct speech, inquit was already specialized in introducing direct speech in Classical Latin. Dicens often follows another finite verb of speech in the introductory clause, which results in more or less redundant introducing construction. It seems that ait and dicens are progressive at the expense of inquit, which decreases in frequency of use in comparison to Classical Latin. The examined texts show a tendency to place introducing verbs before direct speech, which is manifested by inquit inserted into direct speech, often combined with another verb of speech placed before the direct speech. Individual texts differ in various aspects, but the correlation with the choice of introducing verbs cannot be proved unambiguously.
Document
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