The present paper aims at drawing renewed attention to the relevance of evidentiality for Ancient Greek by means of a number of case studies taken from two of Plato’s works (namely the Apologia Socratis and Crito). First, I briefly identify the conceptual framework within which the main analysis of Attic evidential phenomena occurs. Then, I provide a preliminary overview of (possible) linguistic means used in marking evidentiality in Ancient Greek (formal aspect). I also explore the way in which evidential values are conveyed (semantic aspect). Certain Attic particles (e.g., ára, dḗpou), functional oppositions in complementizing patterns (e.g., hóti vs. hōs), defective verbal forms (e.g., ēmí), and “auxiliaries” (e.g., dokéō) are revealed as evidential markers or “strategies”. These are able to express inferential, presumptive, reportative, quotative, visual, and participatory evidentiality. The oblique optative is suggested to have evidential overtones as well. In summary, the paper endeavors to show the importance of “evidentiality” as an integrative conceptual frame for the descriptive analysis of certain Ancient Greek phenomena.
A Treebank-Based Study
Francesco Mambrini and Marco Passarotti
In Ancient Greek, as well as in other languages, whenever agreement is triggered by two or more coordinated phrases, two different constructions are allowed: either the agreement can be controlled by the coordinated phrase as a whole, or it can be triggered by just one of the coordinated words. In spite of the amount of information that can be read on this topic in grammars of Ancient Greek, much is still to be known even at a general descriptive level. More importantly, the data still lack a convincing explanation. In this paper, we focus on a special domain of agreement (subject and verb agreement) and on one morphological feature that is expected to covary (number). We discuss the agreement in number for conjoined phrases, by revising some of the modern hypotheses with the support of the empirical evidence that can be collected from the available syntactically annotated corpora of Ancient Greek (treebanks). Results are interpreted according to syntactic features, cognitive factors and semantic properties of the coordinated phrases.
This investigation focuses on the subtle features of the Syntax-Semantics and Syntax-Discourse Interfaces as they are manifested in the comprehension and production of typically developing children acquiring Greek as a native language. Many studies have concluded that aspectual semantics is acquired at any early age in children. The results of the present study are consistent with this observation. Moreover, it offers proof that the integration of pragmatics and compositional properties of telicity, which are necessary in order to overcome the lexical aspect of manner-of-motion verbs in non-locative contexts (due to lack of coercion, which does not occur with motion verbs), leads to processing load and results in a delay of acquisition after a child reaches 10 years old.
Loukia Taxitari, Maria Kambanaros and Kleanthes K. Grohmann
The MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) has been widely used to study children’s word production in both monolingual and bilingual contexts, in typical and atypical populations, and for the study of different aspects of language development, such as the use of mutual exclusivity. In this study, an adaptation of the CDI in Cypriot Greek is used to collect production data for post-vocabulary spurt children growing up in a bilectal community, where two different varieties of a language are used. Parents report that their children use translation equivalents for a single concept, and these increase as their total word production increases. Also girls seem to produce more translation equivalents than boys overall. This suggests that lexical development in bilectal communities might be more similar to bilingual rather than monolingual development, and that mutual exclusivity does not constrain word usage in such populations even during early word production.
Joanne Vera Stolk
Semantic analysis of the prenominal first person singular genitive pronoun (μου) in the Greek of the documentary papyri shows that the pronoun is typically found in the position between a verbal form and an alienable possessum which functions as the patient of the predicate. When the event expressed by the predicate is patient-affecting, the possessor is indirectly also affected. Hence the semantic role of this affected alienable possessor might be interpreted as a benefactive or malefactive in genitive possession constructions. By semantic extension the meaning of the genitive case in this position is extended into goal-oriented roles, such as addressee and recipient, which are commonly denoted by the dative case in Ancient Greek. The semantic similarity of the genitive and dative cases in these constructions might have provided the basis for the merger of the cases in the Greek language.