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"The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, including notably Latin."

That is supposed to mean: The Italic languages include Latin.

I suppose that sentence is wrong, because the relative phrase is a participle phrase that could be replaced with a which phrase and I learned not to use a comma there. In contrast, I'd always add it before the non-restrictive relative clause (I mean the which clause).

Am I right? I tried reading the wiki article on relative clauses, but that was too much for me.

2

The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, including notably Latin.

The comma is needed to mark the following clause as a supplement rather than a modifier. The same would be true if the clause were cast as wh- relative.

If the comma were not present the clause would be understood as a modifier syntactically restricting the sense of the Italic languages to [the Italic languages which include Latin], implying that Proto-Italic is not the ancestor of other Italic languages which do not include Latin. Of course this is not the case: Proto-Italic is hypothesized to be the ancestor of all Italic languages. That the Italic languages notably include Latin is an additional remark, unrelated to the assertion in the main clause.

  • Indeed, I assumed that comma was supposed to mark a non-restrictive clause. However, I doubt anyone would really understand it that way ... because of the aspect of the inclusive aspect of the inclusion. – Hector von Mar 21 '17 at 4:45
  • The proper relative clauses could be "which include" or "which includes". I think the comma wrongly signals the latter form, because then it applies to the whole main clause and therefore the subject. – Hector von Mar 21 '17 at 4:47
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The sentence is fine as written. The only suggestion I'd add is to add commas around "notably" since it's "extraneous* to the sentence.

The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, including, notably, Latin.

Parentheses would also work, or just rewrite the sentence to remove "including", since it's implied by "notably":

The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, notably Latin.

  • I too thought notably was wrong there. I thought switching it would work without comma, "notably including Latin", see spotlight-online.de/language/basics/adverbs-and-word-order ... Parans would not work in a formal style. That doesn't answer the question, though. I'll add a link to show that the comma is wrong. Please also add a link to substantiate your argument. – Hector von Mar 20 '17 at 23:40
  • I would reword the sentence, too, but I am trying to prove somebody wrong first. – Hector von Mar 20 '17 at 23:43
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"The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, including notably Latin."

Alternative:

"The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages, most notably: Latin.

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