The Semantic Functions of Oblique Speech
Veni, vidi, vici. We know quite well to what these words, addressed by Caesar to the Roman Senate, referred: to the events which occurred when the Roman troops came face to face with the army of the king of Pontus. To what, however, does the statement made by a student during his Latin class refer if that student says that ‘Caesar said that he came, saw and conquered’ ? Does it refer to the same events to which Caesar’s words refer, and if it does, what does it say about those events ? Does it say that they were the subject matter of the report made by Caesar to the Senate ? Or is it a statement not about military events, but about linguistic events, namely the pithy formulation coined by the conqueror? Or is it a statement about Caesar’s state of mind at the time when he was making it ? When we refer to his words by using their English-language version we do not reproduce the sounds which were then heard in the Senate chamber; we merely reproduce the speaker’s thought, and hence his state of mind.
KeywordsSemantic Category Quotation Mark Semantic Function Exact Reproduction Conjunctive State
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