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Vertical scales in temporal <i>sub</i> constructions in Latin

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Abstract

Latin authors of the classical period used <i>sub </i>rarely and purposefully in a temporal construction like a polarity item with the dichotomous nouns <i>nox </i>and <i>lux</i> to convey the relative quantity of atmospheric light at dusk and dawn, implying a scale at its minimum value within an absolute frame of reference. This construction comes out of the spatial semantics of <i>sub</i> as &#8220;under&#8221; through a manipulation of metaphor, directional mappings from vertical to horizontal axes, and up/down and center/periphery image schemas. Beginning with the embodied experience of the sky as &#8220;above&#8221;, projections onto topological features such as mountains allows for negative and inceptive uses of <i>sub </i>for pragmatic scalar construal and implicature.

References

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