Case variation in Gothic absolute constructions

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The choice of case in Gothic absolute constructions is not random, but systematic. Its determining factors are the semantic relationship between the matrix clause and the absolute construction, the tense/aspect of its participle, and the thematic role of its subject. The nominative absolute has main clause semantics, while absolutes in the oblique cases have subordinate clause semantics. The bare dative is the default for absolute constructions in Gothic, while secondary meanings such as durativity or iterativity are linked with other cases. Additionally, the preposition <i>at </i>can be used with either the dative or the accusative as a temporal marker or a focussing device.


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