The semantics and discourse function of Latin predicative participles
In Latin there are two participle constructions, one with an implicit subject (participium coniunctum) and one with an explicit subject (ablativus absolutus), that express actions or states that can stand in a number of different discourse relations (e.g. temporal, causal, conditional, concessive, purpose, narrative progression, manner, means etc.) with the superordinate verb. The precise semantic relation between the participle and the verb is only rarely being specified by an adverb or subjunction, and it is therefore generally left to the receiver to infer which relation makes most sense in the context.
Although the use of participles to express implicit discourse relations is common in Latin, there has as of yet been done little research both on how we interpret participles and on the factors determining when discourse relations are being expressed implicitly by participles and when they are rather being expressed explicitly by other competing constructions such as adverbial clauses, prepositional phrases or main clauses with explicit discourse markers.
The main goal of this project is to explore these questions by building a richly annotated corpus (covering morphology, syntax, information structure and discourse relations) of classical Latin prose.