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.
The pattern (Setting – Topic –) Focus. NB: The Verb always follows, which was proposed by H. Dik in order to describe AG’s left periphery, raises some issues. In particular, it presents a number of exceptions, which scholars (Matić and others) have variously attempted to resolve. In the present contribution, based on case studies drawn from Homer, the following pattern for the Homeric left periphery is proposed: (Setting – Topic – Focus). NB: Unmarked elements follow. This is not dramatically different from Dik’s pattern; rather, it is an extension of it.
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 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.