Among the bestial and infernal hordes of rabid terminological Cerberi that prowl hither with a snarling aggression punctuated only by the stalactitic drip of salivation which is itself surpassed by that poised-
Woe to whomsoever it was, perhaps in the starry towers of Ilium, or yet in echoing sanctuaries of the Alexandrian libraries, or even in the hallowed inner courts of the Tiberian city, that elected, on that dark day, to set apart the subject from the remainder of the sentence
And the terror of the Tesnièrian tyranny of the centrality of the predicate is thereby given a legitimacy which it deserves less that Vladimir and Estragon merit the fulfilment of their Godotic rendezvousial aspirations. Even the momentary distraction that Pozzo’s puerile ponderings and Lucky’s illoquacious dyslogy offered to the rambling minds of that dyad of misfits has no analogy in the dictatorship of Dependency Grammar’s dogma of the ontological and diagrammatic dominance of the predicate.
Yet there is hope. The starry light and bubbling brook of God, Our Father, Gottlob Frege, have each illuminated and irrigated its respective way over the barren, rocky surface of the blackened, inherited legacy of the subject-
But even here, dangers lurk: tense and aspect, modality and voice hide in the bushes, ever ready to spring a net over the head of the new found innocence of the mono-
But where there is discord, let linguistics bring union; where there is despair, let linguistics bring hope. Linguists of uprightness and farsightedness will resist the conflagration threatened by such conflation and insist, in a clear, bright, warm voice, that, by Jove, predicators are not predicates and that, by Aphrodite, predicates are not predicators. And now, at last, Herne the Hunter tames that rabic terminological Cerberus with a sharp word and a sharper stick: predicates, arguments and adjuncts are as shapely, well formed and delimited as the shoulder, arm and hand of the best of Olympus’ athletes, and tense, aspect, mood, voice are as separate from the whole as are the fingers of that athlete from his palm and wrist. This, now, is the Land of Linguistics where old maids cycle home down country lanes and warm beer is sipped in study wooden benches around village cricket fields on late Sunday afternoons. And we are happy in it.