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Irene Theodoropoulou

This article focuses on the description and interpretation of the social meaning of sociolinguistic variation in Athenian suburban speech. A descriptive statistical and a Varbrul analysis of the syntactic variable Verb and presence or absence of Prepositional Phrase (V +/– PP), as it is used by native northern and western suburbanites of Athens, suggests that primarily the area (northern and western suburbia) and, to a lesser extent, the sex of the speakers are statistically significant macro social factors constraining variation. In an effort to tease out the social meaning of the variation, a further analysis of some micro factors within each area, including the group of speakers, the topic, and the stance towards the rivalry between the aforementioned suburban areas, suggests that variation in both areas is interactionally constrained, but in the northern area it tends to be more friendship group-constrained, while in the western area it is more education-constrained. In light of these findings, the sociolinguistic implications of the study translate into the analytical need to account for the relationship between interactional and social factors in the description of variable grammars.

Maria Christodoulidou

This study investigates how different linguistic audiences influence the speech styles of Cypriot Greeks who are bilinguals in Cypriot and Standard Modern Greek. Drawing upon the theoretical framework of language style as audience design (Bell 1984), this paper investigates style shifting of select phonological variables—from Cypriot Greek towards Standard Modern Greek—in the interactions of Cypriots with three types of audiences, composed of respectively: 1. Cypriot addressees and Greek auditors; 2. Greek and Cypriot addressees; and 3. Greek addressees and Cypriot auditors. The variables investigated are (k), (x), (t), (p). Apart from the specific results for each of the variables, this research demonstrates that the subjects under investigation shift their speech to imitate the speech of their addressees, whereas auditors have an inferior effect on style shifting. Specifically, the results of this study show greater style-shifting in conversations with an audience of Greek addressees rather than auditors.

Yoryia Agouraki

The paper aims to describe (a) the distribution, (b) the semantic interpretation and (c) the semantic and syntactic derivation of verb-initial versus subject-initial clauses in Greek. Concerning (a), it is argued that the verb-initial and the subject-initial word orders are in complementary distribution. A particular numeration can be assembled in only one way, i.e. as a verb-initial or as a subject-initial word order. The properties of the numeration that play a role in determining the word order for that numeration include the syntactic type of the predicate, the presence or not of non-arguments, the presence or not of sentential operators, and the mode of presenting information. Concerning (b), it is proposed that the semantic interpretation of verb-initial versus subject-initial clauses can be described as a clause-type distinction between eventuality existentials versus predication clauses. Concerning (c), it is proposed that this clause-type distinction has to do with how the subject and the predicate are put together semantically/syntactically. Namely, it is proposed that in eventuality existentials (the entity denoted by) the subject saturates/is selected by (the property denoted by) the predicate, while in predication clauses it is (the property denoted by) the predicate that saturates/is ‘selected’ by (the second-order property denoted by) the subject. For the proposed analysis to be right, (a) the clause-type distinction between eventuality existentials and predication clauses, (b) the complementary distribution of the two clause types and (c) the semantic/syntactic derivation for the two clause types must be part of UG. What cannot be part of UG is the syntactic manifestation of this semantic distinction across languages.

Evi Sifaki

This paper looks into the VOS order in Greek and its focusing patterns. Evidence from main and embedded VOS reveals that embedded VOS is more restricted in its focusing possibilities. If the focus effects of main and embedded VOS differ, then we cannot advocate fixed Focus Projections in the syntactic architecture like the cartographic approaches do. Chomsky (2007; 2008) divides features in two types; the probe-agreement ones which trigger obligatory movement and the E(dge) F(eature) which facilitates movement and yields information structure effects at the Interface. In effect, Greek VOS is viewed as the result of a single derivation in which movement is induced for the satisfaction of an EF. The focus effects that are present in VOS are not assigned in Syntax, but at the Interface. The claim here is that Syntax is ‘blind’ to information structure properties. Yet, in order to explain how one single derivation maps out to two distinct focusing possibilities, we employ the notions of accessibility and saliency, as these are discussed in Slioussar (2007) and developed in Kechagias (2010). Roughly, accessibility corresponds to topics and saliency to foci. In Greek VOS, saliency tends to mark constituents to the right of the verb (i.e. object, or manner adverb).

Michalis Georgiafentis and Chryssoula Lascaratou

The present paper aims at further investigating the relative degree of flexibility of constituent order in Greek, which has been classified as a free word order language (Tzartzanos 1946, 1963; Greenberg 1963; Philippaki-Warburton 1982, 1985, 1987; Lascaratou 1984, 1989, 1994, among others). In this study we present additional evidence in support of the view expressed in Lascaratou (1989, 1994, 1999) that, though very flexible, Greek word order is not completely free, but rather it is the result of tension between competing forces determining linear arrangements. Focusing on the analysis of various VP structures drawn from the Hellenic National Corpus (HNC)™, we observe that no single (syntactic and/or lexical/semantic) factor appears to override the others in a salient manner, the relative strength of each individual factor not always being clearly and reliably measurable. In particular, it seems that constituent length does not constitute a more important factor than the syntactic and/or lexical/semantic relations holding between elements in the Greek VP. What is more, with respect to the concept of “adjacency” put forward by Hawkins (2001, 2004) to interpret the preference for certain linearization patterns vs. others, we propose that constituent length essentially operates in a substantially different way and direction than syntactic and/or lexical/semantic dependency relations. More specifically, while—for parsing efficiency—constituent length may often be responsible for the postposition of heavy constituents thus resulting in the disruption of adjacency by separating elements which “belong together”, syntactic and/or lexical/semantic relations, on the other hand, intrinsically motivate the adjacency of elements which “belong together”, thus resisting any rearrangement that would bring them apart.

Michalis Georgiafentis and Chryssoula Lascaratou

Rutger J. Allan


In Ancient Greek complex sentences consisting of a main and complement clause, constituents which semantically and syntactically belong to the complement clause can be placed in a position preceding or interrupting the main clause. This phenomenon is referred to as clause or sentence intertwining. This paper examines the pragmatic factors involved in the preposing of contituents in sentences containing an in initival complement clause. It will be argued that the specific pragmatic function of the preposed constituents is Theme (left dislocation), new/contrastive topic or narrow focus. Preposing can be analyzed as a device to pragmatically highlight the involved constituents. The paper also addresses the position of new, contrastive and given topics and of adverbs and clauses with Setting function.

Edited by Gaberell Drachman, Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph and Anna Roussou