The Aeolic Dialects of Ancient Greek

A Study in Historical Dialectology and Linguistic Classification


The Aeolic dialects of Ancient Greek (Lesbian, Thessalian, and Boeotian) are characterised by a small bundle of commonly shared innovations, yet at the same time they exhibit remarkable linguistic diversity. While traditionally classified together in modern scholarship since the nineteenth century, in recent decades doubt has been cast on whether they form a coherent dialectal subgroup of Ancient Greek. In this monograph Matthew Scarborough outlines the history of problem of Aeolic classification from antiquity to the present day, collects and analyses the primary evidence for the linguistic innovations that unite and divide the group, and contributes an innovative new statistical methodology for evaluating highly contested genetic subgroupings in dialectology, ultimately arguing in support of the traditional classification.

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Matthew Scarborough, Ph.D. (2017), University of Cambridge, is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the linguistic prehistory of Greek with special emphasis on the comparative study of the Ancient Greek dialects, Indo-European etymology and lexicography, and linguistic phylogenetics.
List of Figures
List of Tables
Abbreviation of Corpora and Reference Works
Grammatical and Linguistic Abbreviations
Epigraphic and Papyrological Abbreviations
Note on the Accentuation of Dialect Forms
A Note on the Transcription of Ancient and Modern Greek Proper Names

1 The Problem of Aeolic in Ancient Greek Dialectology
 1 Introduction
 2 The Notion of Aeolic in Antiquity
 3 19th Century Debates: Ahrens, Meister, and Hoffmann
 4 Twentieth Century Developments
 5 The Twenty-First Century: Problems and Methods, Old and New
 6 Resolving the Impasse: The Aims and Structure of This Work

2 Methodological Preliminaries
 1 Introduction
 2 Methodological Considerations in the Selection of Isoglosses
 3 Sources and Methodological Issues
 4 The Data Collection for This Study
 5 Concluding Remarks

3 The Core Aeolic Isoglosses
 1 Introduction
 2 The Position of Mycenaean in Classification and Relative Chronology
 3 Some Preliminary Assumptions: Exclusion of Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Greek Synapomorphic Characters
 4 Common Innovations from Proto-Greek
 5 Conclusions

4 The Peripheral Aeolic Isoglosses
 1 Introduction
 2 Isoglosses Shared by Two of Three Dialects
 3 Isoglosses Shared with Neighbouring Dialects
 4 Conclusions

5 A Probability-Based Clade Test for Aeolic
 1 Introduction
 2 The Probabilistic Method
 3 Evaluation: Application of the Clade Test to the Aeolic Data
 4 Discussion of Results and Some Relative Chronologies
 5 Conclusions

Concluding Remarks

Appendix 1: Catalogue of Epigraphic References
Appendix 2: Aeolic Dialectal Isogloss Tables
Classical Philologists, Dialectologists, Historical Linguists, Specialists in Greek Epigraphy, Historians of Classical Greece, Aegean Prehistorians, Specialists in the linguistic history of Greek, Indo-European Historical and Comparative Linguists (Subject Areas: Classical Greek and Roman Studies, Historical Linguistics)
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