Ancient Indo-European Languages between Linguistics and Philology

Contact, Variation, and Reconstruction


Studying the Indo-European languages means having a privileged viewpoint on diachronic language change, because of their relative wealth of documentation, which spans over more than three millennia with almost no interruption, and their cultural position that they have enjoyed in human history.
The chapters in this volume investigate case-studies in several ancient Indo-European languages (Ancient Greek, Latin, Hittite, Luwian, Sanskrit, Avestan, Old Persian, Armenian, Albanian) through the lenses of contact, variation, and reconstruction, in an interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary way. This reveals at the same time the multiplicity and the unity of our discipline(s), both by showing what kind of results the adoption of modern theories on “old” material can yield, and by underlining the centrality and complexity of the text in any research related to ancient languages.

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Michele Bianconi, DPhil (2019), University of Oxford, is Post-Doctoral researcher at the University for Foreigners of Siena, Lecturer in Classics at St Hilda’s College (University of Oxford), and Fellow of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies. His research focuses on language contact in the ancient world, in particular in the Graeco-Anatolian area, as well as Greek and Anatolian linguistics, as well as Indo-European reconstruction. He recently edited Linguistic and Cultural Interactions between Greece and Anatolia: In Search of the Golden Fleece (Brill, 2021).

Marta Capano, Ph.D. (2020), University of Naples “L’Orientale”, is Post-Doctoral researcher at Ghent University. She has been Visiting Senior Associate Member at the ASCSA and Research Assistant at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the Greek language in Sicily and Greek-Latin language contact. She has written papers and given talks on bilingualism in the ancient world, Greek phonology, Greek in southern Italy and Sicily, and Romance linguistics. She is co-editor of the volume In amicitia tua memores et grati (Pisa University Press, 2019).

Domenica Romagno, Ph.D. (2004), Sapienza University of Rome, is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pisa. Her research interests include morphosyntax/semantics interface, linguistic categorization and change, verb systems and argument coding strategies in ancient (and modern) Indo-European languages, neural correlates of word classes, language processing in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). She has recently published the article The extension of a linguistic category: middle voice in Homeric Greek between subject affectedness, reflexivity and possession ("Archivio Glottologico Italiano" 2021/1. 3-42).

Francesco Rovai, Ph.D. (2008), University of Pisa, is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the same university. His research interests include sociolinguistic variation and language change in Latin (with particular reference to phenomena of alignment variation and case syncretism), as well as aspects of multilingualism and language contact in the Ancient Mediterranean. He is currently working on the dialectics between orthography and palaeography in Republican Latin.
Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Michele Bianconi and Marta Capano

1 Divine Witnesses in Greece and Anatolia: Iliad 3.276–280 between Contact, Variation, and Reconstruction
Michele Bianconi

2 Elamite and Persian Indefinites: A Comparative View
Juan E. Briceño-Villalobos

3 Phenomena of Spirantization and Language Contact in Greek Sicilian Inscriptions. The case of ΤΡΙΑΙΝΤΑ
Marta Capano

4 Egyptian Greek: A Contact Variety
Sonja Dahlgren

5 Substrate Matters
Franco Fanciullo

6 Natural Language Use and Bilingual Interference: Verbal Complementation Patterns in Post-Classical Greek
Victoria Fendel

7 Where Does Dionysus Ὕης Come From?
Laura Massetti

8 Alignment Change and Changing Alignments: Armenian Syntax and the First ‘Death’ of Parthian
Robin Meyer

9 Rewriting the Law: Diachronic Variation and Register in Greek and Hittite Legal Language
Katharine Shields

10 Lexical Variation in Younger Avestan: The Problem of the ‘Ahuric’ and ‘Daevic’ Vocabularies Revisited
Elizabeth Tucker

11 Greek ἄγυρις ‘Gathering’ between Dialectology and Indo-European Reconstruction
Roberto Batisti

12 Here’s to a Long Life! Echoes of Indo-European Semantics in Albanian
Brian Joseph

Any reader interested in the methods of Historical Linguistics and in the Philology of the individual languages referred to in the book. Academic audience (eg. classicists, indo-europeanists, general linguists, scholars of the ancient Near and Far East, etc.), but also any potential reader with linguistic or classical training.
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