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Cristina Guardiano and Melita Stavrou

Abstract

This paper investigates aspects of adjectival modification in Romance and Greek of Southern Italy. In Italiot Greek, prenominal adjectives obey restrictions that do not exist in Standard Modern Greek, where all types of adjectives are allowed in prenominal position. As far as postnominal adjectives are concerned, in the textual tradition of Calabria Greek there is evidence of postnominal adjectives systematically articulated in definite nominal structures (henceforth DP s), in a structure similar to the so-called polydefinite construction that is typical of Standard Modern Greek (and of Greek in general since ancient times). Some residual evidence of such a construction is also found in Salento. Yet, in the varieties currently spoken in the two areas, postnominal adjectives are never articulated. The paper explores these patterns, with particular attention to the mechanisms potentially responsible for the loss of polydefiniteness.

Ezra la Roi

Abstract

This paper challenges the commonly held view that the Classical Greek potential optative has a subjective epistemic semantics, the result of a conceptual confusion of subjectivity and epistemic modality inherited from our standard grammars. I propose that this view becomes less convincing when the optative’s unique interaction with the subjective particles ἦ and ἄρα is incorporated into the analysis. Rather, the potential optative has a non-subjective epistemic semantics presenting an epistemic judgment as interpersonally accessible to the conversational participants. Frequencies of combination with ἦ and ἄρα, linguistic tests for subjectivity on the potential optative, and contrastive contextual analyses corroborate this view.

From the editors

A new year, a new issue

Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph and Anna Roussou

Francesco Mambrini

Abstract

We study the distribution of the nominal and copular construction of predicate nominals in a subset of authors from the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank (AGDT). We concentrate on the texts of the historians Herodotus, Thucydides (both 5th century BCE) and Polybius (2nd century BCE). The data comprise a sample of 440 sentences (Hdt = 175, Thuc = 91, Pol = 174). We analyze the impact of four features that have been discussed in the literature and can be observed in the annotation of AGDT: (1) order of constituents, (2) part of speech of the subjects, (3) type of clause and (4) length of the clause. Furthermore, we test how the predictive power of these factors varies in time from Herodotus and Thucydides to Polybius with the help of a logistic-regression model. The analysis shows that, contrary to a simplistic opinion, the nominal construction does not drop into irrelevance in Hellenistic Greek. Moreover, an analysis of the distributions in the authors highlights a remarkable continuity in the usage patterns. Further work is needed to improve the predictive power of our logistic-regression model and to integrate more data in view of a more comprehensive quantitative diachronic study.

Fulvio Beschi

Abstract

The pattern (Setting – Topic –) Focus. NB: The Verb always follows, which was proposed by H. Dik in order to describe AG’s left periphery, raises some issues. In particular, it presents a number of exceptions, which scholars (Matić and others) have variously attempted to resolve. In the present contribution, based on case studies drawn from Homer, the following pattern for the Homeric left periphery is proposed: (Setting – Topic – Focus). NB: Unmarked elements follow. This is not dramatically different from Dik’s pattern; rather, it is an extension of it.

Aorist voice patterns in the diachrony of Greek

The New Testament as a sample of Koine

Liana Tronci

Abstract

This paper deals with the aorist voice system in NT Greek and focuses on middle-passive markers, namely middle inflection, e.g. in the middle sigmatic aorist, and affixes -η-/-θη-, in the so-called passive aorist. The research is corpus-based and investigates the occurrences of ca. 1800 verbal items. According to the grammarians, in the NT both middle and passive aorists spread. The present study confirms this observation by providing a comprehensive account of the distribution of these forms, but also shows how they have functionally reorganised. Passive aorists spread at the expense of middle aorists in all kinds of intransitive constructions, namely passive, unaccusative, and reflexive, whereas middle aorists are either found in transitive middles, e.g. possessive, benefactive etc., or occur as deponent verbs in both transitive and intransitive clauses. The parameter transitive vs intransitive appears to be relevant for this functional reorganisation.

Conjunctive adverbs in Ancient Greek

Position and development of conjunctive functions

José Miguel Jiménez Delgado

Abstract

Conjunctive adverbs have generally been neglected in Ancient Greek grammars. In this language, textual cohesion is mostly assured by a battery of connective particles. While connective particles exhibit fixed position, conjunctive adverbs show a certain degree of positional variability. They usually take initial position, as well as medial position when preceded by a preposed constituent. Final position is very rare and most instances are due to ellipsis. This is comparable to the early phases of the development of similar adverbs in other languages.

From the editors

Some self-examination, once again

Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph and Anna Roussou