Resultativity in Latin

This is a description of this project

The idea here was to reanalyze one of the many Latin grammatical phenomena given a fancy Greek name, prolepsis, in modern terms. Most cases of prolepsis are in Latin poetry, where an adjective describes an attribute that its noun hasn’t yet accrued. The quintessential case is “sink the sunk ships”, where “sunk” anticipated the unfortunate forthcoming event. My argument was that this isn’t nearly as odd as it looks, and actually is better translated as “sink the ships sunk”, i.e. a resultative clause like “sing yourself hoarse” or “the lake froze solid”. These turn out to be pretty interesting in their own right - studies of lexical semantics have a lot to say about their properties. For instance, you can’t laugh yourself, or talk someone, but you can laugh yourself silly and talk someone into the ground.