Emerita Professor Erika Mihevc Gabrovec (1927–2017)
The diachrony of atár from Homeric Greek to Classical Attic
The Ancient Greek particle atár has been described as a connective device that encodes either an adversative or a progressive relation between sentences. The purpose of this paper is to revise the description of this particle by framing its analysis within a consistent and theoretically up-to-date model of clause linkage and discourse structure. Starting from previous findings on the function of atár in Homer, I undertake a corpus analysis of atár in Euripides and Aristophanes. This analysis reveals differences in usage at different stages of the language that have been previously neglected. Whereas in Homer, atár largely behaves as a connective and encodes a semantic relation of oppositive contrast between sentences, in later texts it rather behaves as a discourse marker and contributes to the management of both thematic continuity and interactional practices. These differences point to a specific diachronic path of grammaticalization that accounts for the changes undergone by atár.
A case study of Australian Greek
The present study is an in-depth investigation of the Greek language spoken by immigrants in Far North Queensland, Australia. The study focuses on contact-induced changes in the language, such as borrowing of lexemes and discourse patterns, and on code switching. The data analyzed derive from participant observation and some 23 hours of audio and video-recorded conversations with first- and second-generation Greek immigrants that were collected during fieldwork in 2013 in Far North Queensland. The study contributes to the investigation of the structure and use of Greek in the diaspora by integrating perspectives from contact linguistics and interactional approaches to code switching.
Evidence from elementary school pupils’ responses to mass culture texts
Dimitris Papazachariou, Anna Fterniati, Argiris Archakis and Vasia Tsami
Over the past decades, contemporary sociolinguistics has challenged the existence of fixed and rigid linguistic boundaries, thus focusing on how the speakers themselves define language varieties and how specific linguistic choices end up being perceived as language varieties. In this light, the present paper explores the influence of metapragmatic stereotypes on elementary school pupils’ attitudes towards geographical varieties. Specifically, we investigate children’s beliefs as to the acceptability of geographical varieties and their perception of the overt and covert prestige of geographical varieties and dialectal speakers. Furthermore, we explore the relationship between the children’s specific beliefs and factors such as gender, the social stratification of the school location and the pupils’ performance in language subjects. The data of the study was collected via questionnaires with closed questions. The research findings indicate that the children of our sample associate geographical varieties with rural settings and informal communicative contexts. Moreover, children recognize a lack of overt prestige in geographical variation; at the same time, they evaluate positively the social attractiveness and the personal reliability of the geographical varieties and their speakers. Our research showed that pupils’ beliefs are in line with the dominant metapragmatic stereotypes which promote language homogeneity.
Transfer of Egyptian phonological features onto Greek in Graeco-Roman Egypt
This summary presents the main findings of my Ph.D. dissertation (University of Helsinki) on the phonological transfer of Egyptian on second language Greek usage in Egypt.
The relation between modality and oblique case marking
Serena Danesi, Johnson and Jóhanna Barðdal
Modality can be expressed through a variety of different linguistic means within and across languages, of which one manifestation is through noncanonical case marking of the subject. In Ancient Greek several predicates show a systematic alternation between constructions with nominative and oblique subjects, which coincides with a difference in meaning, yielding a modal meaning in the latter case. We show how this modal meaning cannot be derived from the meaning of the individual parts of the construction, neither from the lexical material nor from the relevant grammatical elements. Instead, the data call for a constructional analysis of a modal subconstruction of the oblique subject construction, for which the modality must be attributed to the construction itself. We argue that this can be viewed through the lens of subjectification in the sense of Traugott (2003), here demonstrating that the semantic relation holding between the subject referent and the oblique case marking selected by the verb has been extended to the empathic relation holding between the speaker and his/her attitude towards the proposition uttered (Barðdal 2004). This, we believe, is how the concept of modality came to be associated with oblique case marking of subjects.
Intersubjectivity, contrast and polysemy
The paper examines the various usages of the Attic particle μήν and proposes a unified analysis of its main function. I argue that the prevalent analysis of Wakker (1997) needs some important reconsideration when instances of μήν in Platonic dialogue are concerned. First, the particle can target not only the propositional content of a discourse act, but also its illocution (felicity conditions). Second, I propose ‘countering expectations or assumptions of the addressee’ as the basic value of the particle. Functions in terms of commitment are better seen as secondary side effects. Third, I argue that differences in the origin of the countered assumptions or expectations are a natural basis for distinguishing between attitudinal μήν (extra-linguistic context and/or previous words of the addressee) and discourse connective μήν (previous words of the same speaker). It follows from my analysis that strict categorical boundaries between these usages are not to be expected.
Evidence from Tsakonian
The Tsakonian clitic system possesses a clitic auxiliary with the same syntactic and prosodic properties as the object clitic pronouns with which it may cluster preverbally or postverbally. The clitics of the two Tsakonian subdialects (Peloponnesian Tsakonian and Propontis Tsakonian) differ typologically since the latter has second position clitics but the former does not. It is shown here that Peloponnesian Tsakonian clitics do not simply constitute a mixed system in a state of transition between the inherited Medieval Greek enclitics and SMG proclitics, because of certain peculiarities they show. In particular, circumclitics and split clitics have arisen, and second position clitics are retained not as free variations but as elements whose placement depends on strict prosodic and/or syntactic conditions.