What would be the syntactic function of Intikas in the following sentence?

They are called Intikas in their language.

It seems to me that in this case the verb call is behaving as a copulative verb, since Intikas can be identified with the subject they and, as a consequence, work as a sort of nominative predicate. But maybe this whole analysis is just misleading.

  • "To be called (or named)" is a phrase whose meaning is expressed by a single word in some languages (heisst in German, I believe). Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 12:04
  • You haven't provided any analysis of the word Intikas in your question at all. Your question only considers the functions of call and they. Which word are you actually concerned with? (In this sentence, Intikas is a proper noun.) Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 20:16
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    @JasonBassford, I have said that in my opinion Intikas is functioning as a nominative predicate. I am concerned with the syntactic function of Intikas within the sentence.
    – Lalo
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 2:04
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    Yes, "Intikas" is predicative complement, just as it is in the active "They call them Intikas".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


BillJ left a comment expressing support for your proposed analysis of "Intikas" as a predicative complement.

I would agree.

I don't think modern linguists would use the term "nominative predicate" because the traditional, prescriptive account of English "case", according to which the subject of a finite clause is in the "nominative case" and therefore a predicate ought to also be in the nominative case, is not considered to be an accurate model of how English grammar actually works (since speakers actually say things like "It's me", where "me" is predicative, but in the form traditionally identified as the "accusative case").

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