The aim of this paper is to examine contact-induced changes, visible on lexical and lexico-syntactical levels, in the set of twenty sixteenth-century petitions in Nahuatl from the region of Santiago de Guatemala. They comprise such phenomena as the creation and usage of neologisms, extentions of meaning, the adoption of loans in the morphological system of Nahuatl and the usage of calques. The material is divided in three parts. The first one focuses on specific traits of the Nahuatl language in which the Guatemalan petitions were composed, taking into account an ongoing discussion among researchers concerning the identification of this language or languages. The second part focuses on the presentation of selected lexical and lexico-syntactic changes in Nahuatl due to the influence of the Spanish language, as compared with similar contact-induced phenomena from Central Mexico and attested within the same time span. In the last part of the paper the interdependence of language contact and culture contact is discussed within the perspective of a presumed conceptual equivalency and interchangeability of the Spanish and Nahuatl terms for deer and horse, which appears in one of the studied documents.
The article explores the cognitive semantics thesis that lexical expressions function as points of access to vast repositories of schematic concepts arising from embodied experience. By comparing various forms of communication, I find that expressions in art, science, and technology display a pattern in which expressions prompting the sense of intensity, magnitude and force are often combined into products with expressions that prompt the sense of extent, multitude and displacement. This pattern seems to be largely absent from natural language. I argue that lexical items activate the same pattern, though in a less direct way.
Located in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, the area of Badoh-Pathari is home to a rock shelter with a sculpted panel depicting seven mother goddesses. A weathered inscription next to the sculptures was reported as early as 1926. The inscription is dateable to the fifth century on the basis of its palaeography and the art-historical dating of the site. Though partly effaced beyond hope of decipherment, roughly half of the text can be read with confidence, while some of the rest may be restored conjecturally, and some speculatively. The epigraph pays homage to Rudra and Skanda in addition to the Mothers themselves, and is thus a key resource concerning mātṛ worship in the Gupta period. It mentions the otherwise unknown local ruler Jayatsena of Avamukta (a region also named in the Allahabad pillar inscription), and may refer to the reign of Kumāragupta (I).
Juha Janhunen and Alexander Vovin
Cristina Guardiano and Melita Stavrou
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
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.
A new year, a new issue
Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph and Anna Roussou
A treebank-based analysis
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.