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Le prédicat

Comment sortir de la Tour de Babel ?
Michel Maillard
p. 23-44


Synonymic utterances such as Ce gâteau est délicieux and Délicieux, ce gâteau, are difficult to analyse in terms of « subject » and « predicate ». Using this as a starting point, our paper aims at reminding the reader of some crucial turning points in the history of those two notions. We start by looking at the basic meaning of the Greek terms hypokeímenon and katêgórêma, their specific usage in Aristotle’s Categories on Interpretation, their latin translation in Boetii Commentarii, their reinvestment in Port-Royal Grammar. Finally, we place emphasis on the conceptual shift introduced by J. W. Meiner (1781) and his followers, who regard the predicate as the central element of the sentence, governing « arguments » amongst which the subject is to be found. The didactic dilemma seems to be the following : either we are forced to choose between these incompatible views on predication, or we give up the idea of the predicate as a syntactic notion.

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Bibliographical reference

Michel Maillard, « Le prédicat », Lidil, 37 | 2008, 23-44.

Electronic reference

Michel Maillard, « Le prédicat », Lidil [Online], 37 | 2008, Online since 01 September 2009, connection on 10 April 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Michel Maillard

Professeur émérite de l’université Stendhal

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© Lidil

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