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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

Obituary

Emerita Professor Erika Mihevc Gabrovec (1927–2017)

Jerneja Kavčič

Hyoun-A Joo

Verb clusters are a linguistic phenomenon where two or more verbs align in adjacent order. This paper discusses the structure of a certain type of verb cluster, namely modal infinitivo pro participio (IPP) structures, in main clauses of a moribund heritage variety of German, Moundridge Schweitzer German (MSG), spoken in Kansas. An acceptability judgment task was conducted with twelve participants to investigate two aspects of verb clusters in MSG. The first question concerned the integration of non-verbal elements, here the direct object (DO) and the negation particle (neg), in the verbal complex. The second question investigates whether MSG modal IPPs show variability in verb order, which is an essential characteristic of this type of verb cluster in other verb-cluster languages. The results show that modal IPP constructions in MSG have a fixed 2–3 verb order but allow object scrambling to some degree. Thus, while the ordering of verbs lacks syntactic variability, flexibility and variation are attested in the placement of the non-verbal constituents within the verbal complex. This is interpreted as the retention of an archaic dialectal trait.

Brita Ramsevik Riksem

This article investigates the morphosyntax of American Norwegian noun phrases that show mixing between Norwegian and English and proposes a formal analysis of these. The data show a distinct pattern characterized by English content items occurring together with Norwegian functional material such as determiners and suffixes. In the article, it will be argued that an exoskeletal approach to grammar is ideally suited to capture this empirical pattern. This framework crucially separates the realization of functional and non-functional terminals in an abstract, syntactic structure. Insertion of functional exponents is restricted by feature matching, whereas insertion into non-functional terminals is radically less restrictive. English exponents for noun stems are thus easily inserted into open positions in the structure, whereas functional exponents are typically drawn from Norwegian, as these are better matches to feature bundles comprising definiteness, number, and gender. In addition to the typical mixing pattern, the article addresses an unexpected empirical phenomenon, the occurrence of the English plural -s, and proposes a possible analysis for this using the exoskeletal framework. The formal analysis of American Norwegian noun phrases also exemplifies how an exoskeletal approach complies with the ideal of a Null theory of language mixing.

Janne Bondi Johannessen and Ida Larsson

Previous studies on gender in Scandinavian heritage languages in America have looked at noun-phrase internal agreement. It has been shown that some heritage speakers have non-target gender agreement, but this has been interpreted in different ways by different researchers. This paper presents a study of pronominal gender in Heritage Norwegian and Swedish, using existing recordings and a small experiment that elicits pronouns. It is shown that the use of pronominal forms is largely target-like, and that the heritage speakers make gender distinctions. There is, however, some evidence of two competing systems in the data, and there is a shift towards a two-gender system, arguably due to koinéization.

Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, Höskuldur Thráinsson and Iris Edda Nowenstein

The finite verb typically occurs in second position in main clauses in Germanic languages other than English. Hence they are often referred to as ʽverb-second languagesʼ or V2-languages for short. The difference between a V2-language and a non-V2 language is shown in (i)–(ii) with Icelandic examples and English glosses (the finite verb is highlighted):

T000001
T000002

In example (i) the finite verb occurs in second position in Icelandic, immediately following the subject María in Icelandic but in the English gloss it occurs in third position, following the adverb never. In (ii) the finite verb immediately follows the fronted (topicalized) object Maríu in Icelandic but in the English gloss the finite verb again occurs in third position, this time following the subject. This article discusses the influence of intense language contact (English/Icelandic) on the two V2-order types in North American Icelandic (NAmIce), a heritage language spoken in former Icelandic conclaves in North America. We show that the subject-first V2-order is more robust in NAmIce than the topic-first V2-order and less vulnerable to English influence, although both types are affected to some extent. This is interesting for two reasons. First, it has been argued that word order is typically less prone to cross-linguistic influence than for instance morphology. Second, these results suggest that, contrary to common assumption, the two types of V2-orders discussed here may have different syntactic sources in Icelandic syntax.