The Ancient Greek sentence left periphery

A study on Homer

in Journal of Greek Linguistics

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

1 Introduction

1.1 Dik’s pattern

In recent years, studies on Ancient Greek (henceforth AG) word order have been strongly influenced by the analysis of Helma Dik (see Dik 1995, based on a Herodotean corpus, and Dik 2007, based on a tragedic corpus).1 Grounding her description mostly in pragmatics,2 Dik proposed the following pattern3 for the AG clause:4

(1) (Setting – Topic –) Focus – Verb – Remainder.

Topic and Focus are pragmatically marked constituents. The Topic is an element that is usually provided in the discourse and that “the speaker regards as an appropriate foundation for constructing a message” (Dik 2007: 31). The Focus is an element that is usually new and that presents “the most salient piece of information in a clause” (Dik 2007: 32), e.g.

(2)

Θρηίκων

δὲ

ἔθνος

μέγιστόν

ἐστι

μετά

γε

Ἰνδοὺς

πάντων

ἀνθρώπων

Thracian:gen.pl

ptc

nation:nom.n

big:sup.nom.n

be:prs.3sg

next.to

ptc

Indian:acc.pl

all:gen.pl

man:gen.pl

‘The Thracians are the biggest nation in the world, next to the Indians’ (Her. 5.3.1; cf. Dik 1995: 237–238).

Dik (1995: 238) comments thus: “In this first paragraph of the descriptive excursus on Thrace, the overall subject (Θρηίκων δὲ ἔθνος) gets pride of place. Thrace has been mentioned earlier; in the previous clauses we have learnt that Megabazus has orders to subdue it […] The prominent position of Thrace […] marks the Topic shift. The first point Herodotus makes about Thrace is that it certainly merits our attention: μέγιστόν ἐστι (Focus)”.

The Setting constituents are “adverbial phrases at the opening of clauses” that “tend to be part of the spatial or temporal (or causal) organization of the text” (Dik 2007: 36),5 e.g.

(3)

ἐντεῦθεν

ἐξελαύνει

σταθμοὺς

τρεῖς

παρασάγγας

εἴκοσιν

εἰς

Κελαινάς,

τῆς

Φρυγίας

πόλιν

οἰκουμένην,

μεγάλην

καὶ

εὐδαίμονα.

ἐνταῦθα

Κύρῳ

βασίλεια

ἦν

from.there

march:prs.3sg

stage:acc.pl

three

parasang:acc.pl

twenty

to

Celaenae:acc.pl

art.gen.f

Phrygia:gen.f

city:acc.f

inhabit:ptcp.prs.pass.acc.f

large:acc.f

and

prosperous:acc.f

there

Cyrus:dat

palace:nom.pl.n

be:impf.3sg

‘From there he marched three stages, twenty parasangs, to Celaenae, an inhabited city of Phrygia, large and prosperous. There Cyrus had a palace …’ (Xen. An. 1.2.7; cf. Dik 2007: 37)

ἐντεῦθεν and ἐνταῦθα are Setting constituents.

The Verb follows the Focus6 and divides the pragmatically marked information from the rest of the clause (Remainder). Cf. (2) above: after the verb ἐστι, “a slight mitigation (μετά γε Ἰνδοὺς) and a gratuitous addition (πάντων ἀνθρώπων) follow” (Dik 1995: 238).

In this analysis, three points should be noted.

First, the AG sentence features a division into two major parts: a left part, in which the constituents are ordered according to their pragmatic connotations (henceforth “left periphery,” as it is usually called by syntacticians);7 and a right part, in which the order of the constituents is free—with the exception of post-verbal placement.8

Second, the pattern for the AG left periphery, including the important specification regarding Verb placement (henceforth “Dik’s pattern” or “model” for the AG left periphery),9 is the following:

(4) (Setting – Topic –) Focus. NB: The Verb always follows.

Third, about this pattern, (4), two remarks should be made:

  • If the AG Verb always immediately follows the marked elements of the sentence, then everything in AG that is to the left of the Verb must belong to the left periphery. In other words, the AG left periphery coincides with everything that is on the left side of the Verb.
  • In AG sentences, while the Setting and Topic are optional, the Focus is mandatory. Consequently, AG sentences begin with marked elements in every case, and there cannot be sentences without pragmatic constituents.

The rest of this study focuses on the AG left periphery. Further analysis of this part of the sentence is conducted, and a (slight) modification to pattern 4 and points a and b above is suggested.

1.2 Uncertainties and problems

Dik herself was aware that the pattern she proposed explains the word order well overall, but it does not apply to all of the AG sentences. She provided an (unsystematic) account of the “uncertainties and … problems” of her theory in various passages of her two books, particularly the chapters in which some “running” passages of Herodotus10 and Sophocles11 are analyzed.12 The main exceptions to the proposed pattern can be classified in two major groups: unmarked preverbal constituents and marked postverbal constituents.

I focus here on the first group because the second group is not relevant to the left periphery of the sentence. This first group generally includes constituents that for particular reasons cannot be considered either the Focus (e.g. because they are given or not important) or the Topic (e.g. because they follow the Focus). In order to be consistent with her theory, Dik considers such preverbal constituents to be only apparently unmarked and explains their position by referring to syntactic devices, such as complex foci and extended Topic units. The following examples of these unmarked elements are provided (Dik’s pragmatic description is given for each example; the examples are divided into two categories according to the position of the Unmarked element):

a) Topic – Unmarked Element – Focus – Verb (i.e. preverbal unmarked elements between Topic and Focus).13

(5)

νόμοισι

δὲ

οὗτοι

παραπλησίοισι

πάντες

χρέωνται

κατὰ

πάντα

usage:dat.pl

ptc

these:nom.pl

resembling:dat.pl

all:nom.pl

use:prs.mp.3pl

in

all:nom.pl.n

‘All these Thracians are alike in their usages’ (Her. 5.3.5; cf. Dik 1995: 238–239)

Topic=νόμοισι, Focus=παραπλησίοισι πάντες, Unmarked Element=οὗτοι (Subject). Dik (1995: 239) surmises “that παραπλησίοισι πάντες can be interpreted as having complex Focus, but that apparently leaves us with two Topics … οὗτοι could be described as a necessary addition, which, however, is not allowed to take first position in the clause.”

(6)

ἐμοὶ

δὲ

σύ,

ξένε, /

τἀληθὲς

εἰπέ

1sg.dat

ptc

2sg.nom

stranger:voc

the.truth:acc.n

tell:imp.prs.2sg

‘But do you, stranger, tell me the truth!’ (Soph, El. 678–679; cf. Dik 2007: 243)

Topic=ἐμοὶ, Focus=τἀληθὲς, Unmarked Element=σύ (Subject). Dik (2007: 243) remarks on this passage thus: “It seems clear that ἐμοὶ is Topic and τἀληθὲς Focus, but what are we to make of the σύ in between? I am tempted to classify it as Focus, but in any case, the vocative and the line break that intervene between σύ and τἀληθὲς allow for prominence for both those elements”.

(7)

τὸν

μὲν

γενόμενον

περιιζόμενοι

οἱ

προσήκοντες

ὀλοφύρονται

art.acc

ptc

be.born:ptcp.aor.acc

sit.round:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

art.nom.pl

kinsfolk:nom.pl

lament:prs.3pl

‘When a child is born, the kinsfolk sit round and lament’ (Her. 5.4.3; cf. Dik 1995: 240)

Topic=τὸν μὲν γενόμενον (περιιζόμενοι?), Focus=ὀλοφύρονται, Unmarked Element=οἱ προσήκοντες (Subject). Notice that here the verb has a pragmatic function. As Dik (1995: 239) observes, “τὸν μὲν γενόμενον is the Topic … the unexpected ὀλοφύρονται is the Focus of the clause, which in a Topic – Focus – Remaining Elements clause pattern seems to me to tip the scale toward construing τὸν γενόμενον with περιιζόμενοι”. Nothing is said about the intervening οἱ προσήκοντες.

b) (Topic –) Focus – Unmarked Element – Verb (i.e. preverbal unmarked elements between Focus and Verb).

(8)

Μόρῳ

δ’

ὁποίῳ

κεῖνος

ὤλετ’

death:dat

ptc

what:dat

dem.nom

destroy:aor.pass.3sg

‘But by what death that man perished’ (Soph, O.C. 1656; cf. Dik 2007: 64)

Topic=Μόρῳ, Focus=ὁποίῳ, Verb=ὤλετ’, Unmarked Element= κεῖνος (Subject). Dik (2007: 64) comments thus: “The beginning of the ὤλετo clause is easy enough to make sense of. Μόρῳ ‘death’ introduces the Topic of the question, ὁποίῳ the Focus: ‘As to his death, how exactly he died, …’ … But what are we to make of κεῖνος?” Dik suggests considering it a Focus: “Obviously, there cannot be a question as to who died. It is necessary, however, to indicate a shift of subject from Theseus to Oedipus in this clause …”

(9)

σοὶ

μόνῃ

πατὴρ /

τέθνηκεν;

2sg.dat

only:dat.f

father:nom

die:prf.3sg

‘Are you the only one that has lost a father?’ (Soph, El. 289–290; cf. Dik 2007: 63)

Topic=/, Focus=σοὶ μόνῃ, Verb=τέθνηκεν, Unmarked Element=πατὴρ (Subject). Dik (2007: 63) suggests to consider πατὴρ a Focus: “I assume that we here have one of the rare instances where not one but two constituents have Focus, both σοὶ μόνῃ and πατὴρ: are you the only one who’s lost a father?”

Whether or not the pragmatic interpretations of these cases are correct, Dik claims that they are not statistically relevant. At the close of her analysis of Herodotean “running discourse”, she states that “Despite the uncertainties and remaining problems, on balance the outcome is certainly favourable for a pragmatic approach” (Dik 1995: 256–257).14

1.3 Matić’s pattern

After the publication of Dik (1995), some scholars attempted to improve her model in order to better address the issues that remained unresolved. Most notably, Matić (2003: 579) proposed “some corrections to the pattern” in order “to explain the syntactic and pragmatic nature of sentences that do not allow for an analysis within the framework of the P1-PO-V-X pattern”. While working on his corpus (the second book of Xenophon’s Anabasis), he observed that Dik’s model could only explain 49 % of the cases (2003: 578). Thus, he introduced new pragmatic categories (2003: 580–615), such as the Continuous Topic (ConTop),15 which allowed him to explain most of the uncertainties in Dik’s pattern. For example, in (5) above, “The ConTop expression “they”, οὗτοι, is placed after the contrastive Topic expression νόμοισι … when a ConTop expression is placed preverbally, it is frequently not directly after the FSTop expression, but rather within this expression, which in this way becomes a discontinuous phrase (νόμοισι … παραπλησίοισι)” (2003: 598).16

With this refinement of the model, Matić (2003: 615) could “account for the overwhelming majority of the attested AG sentences” (more than 90 % of the cases in his corpus). Still, he acknowledged that some material (9 %) remained “which is not, or only with unsurmountable difficulties, to be housed either in the sentence pattern based exclusively on preverbal slots, or in its somewhat more flexible variant proposed in Section 2” (2003: 579): postverbal narrow Foci and preverbal narrow Foci separated from the verb (2003: 615–625).17 For example, in (8) above, ὁποίῳ can be interpreted as a preverbal narrow Focus separated from the verb ὤλετ’ by an expression (κεῖνος) that resembles a continuous Topic (this example is not quoted by Matić, but is similar to others presented in Matić 2003: 622, e.g. Xen. An. 2.1.10).18

In conclusion, Matić was not able to provide an univocal pragmatic explanation that is valid for all Greek examples and was compelled to posit two concurrent word order systems, so that “one has to put up with some free variation, meaning that the choice of the word order system used in a sentence is not to be predicted from its pragmatic, semantic or syntactic properties” (2003: 624).19

1.4 A new proposal

In this study, an even more general pattern for the AG left periphery is proposed to explain the exceptions pointed out in both § 1.2 and § 1.3.

The starting point for the AG left periphery (pattern 4, § 1.1) is Dik’s pattern, which is presented again here:

(10) (Setting – Topic –) Focus. NB: The Verb always follows.

The presence of preverbal unmarked elements between the Focus and the Verb (the case [Topic –] Focus – Unmarked Element – Verb; see § 1.2, b) could be better explained by substituting the specification “The Verb always follows” with “Unmarked elements follow,” so that among the Unmarked elements, the Verb does not necessarily occupy the initial position. This is the modified version of the pattern:

(11) (Setting – Topic –) Focus. NB: Unmarked elements follows.

And this is an example of a sentence in which the Verb is not the first Unmarked element:

(12)

Μόρῳ

δ’

ὁποίῳ

κεῖνος

ὤλετ’

death:dat

ptc

what:dat

dem.nom

destroy:aor.pass.3sg

‘But by what death that man perished’ (Soph., O.C. 1656; = 8) Topic = Μόρῳ, Focus = ὁποίῳ, Unmarked elements = κεῖνος ὤλετ’

Moreover, the presence of Unmarked elements between the Topic and the Focus (the case Topic – Unmarked Element – Focus – Verb; cf. § 1.2, a) suggests that the Focus should also be considered an optional element,20 as follows:

(13) (Setting – Topic – Focus). NB: Unmarked elements follow.

The following is an example of sentence in which there is no Focus:21

(14)

ἐμοὶ

δὲ

σύ,

ξένε, /

τἀληθὲς

εἰπέ

1sg.dat

ptc

2sg.nom

stranger:voc

the.truth:acc.n

tell:imp.prs.2sg

‘But do you, stranger, tell me the truth!’ (Soph, El. 678–679; = 6)

Topic=ἐμοὶ, Unmarked Elements=σύ, ξένε, τἀληθὲς εἰπέ22

Pattern 13 is the final pattern for the AG left periphery, with which I propose to substitute Dik’s pattern (4).23 Its main characteristics (to be contrasted with § 1.1, points a and b) are the following:

  • After the last marked element,24 the Unmarked elements, and not necessarily the Verb, begin. Consequently, in AG not necessarily everything that is to the left of the Verb belongs to the left periphery. In other words, the AG left periphery does not necessarily coincide with everything that is to the left of the Verb.
  • The Setting constituents and the Topic are optional as well as the Focus. Consequently, AG sentences begin with marked elements (Focus included) only when the context requires them, and there can be sentences without pragmatic constituents.25

Pattern 13 presupposes the following sentence structure (which is slightly different from the one proposed by Dik in pattern 1):

(15) (Setting – Topic – Focus –) Unmarked elements.

On this basis, I provide an explanation for the other examples of the § 1.2 as well:

(16)

νόμοισι

δὲ

οὗτοι

παραπλησίοισι

πάντες

χρέωνται

κατὰ

πάντα

usage:dat.pl

ptc

these:nom.pl

resembling:dat.pl

all:nom.pl

use:prs.mp.3pl

in

all:nom.pl.n

‘All these Thracians are alike in their usages’ (Her. 5.3.5; = 5)

Topic=νόμοισι, Unmarked Elements=οὗτοι παραπλησίοισι πάντες χρέωνται κατὰ πάντα

(17)

τὸν

μὲν

γενόμενον

περιιζόμενοι

οἱ

προσήκοντες

ὀλοφύρονται

art.acc

ptc

be.born:ptcp.aor.acc

sit.round:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

art.nom.pl

kinsfolk:nom.pl

lament:prs.3pl

‘When a child is born, the kinsfolk sit round and lament’ (Her. 5.4.3; = 7)

Topic (or Setting)=τὸν μὲν γενόμενον περιιζόμενοι, Unmarked Elements=οἱ προσήκοντες ὀλοφύρονται

(18)

σοὶ

μόνῃ

πατὴρ /

τέθνηκεν;

2sg.dat

only:dat.f

father:nom

die:prf.3sg

‘Are you the only one that has lost a father?’ (Soph, El. 289–290; = 9)

Focus= σοὶ μόνῃ, Unmarked Elements=πατὴρ τέθνηκεν

1.5 Some further remarks

Aside from the differences pointed out in the preceding section, the left periphery model proposed in this study (13) must not be considered to be radically in contrast with Dik’s model (4) but rather as an extension of it. In fact, most AG sentences26 have quite a simple structure, with usually no more than two constituents to the left of the Verb. The structure of (the first part of) these clauses is often Topic – Focus – Verb, which is consistent with both patterns 4 and 13; cf. e.g. § 1.1, ex. 2. Since pattern 4 explains the vast majority of AG sentences (with no more than two constituents to the left of the Verb), it is understandable that Dik’s model could have been identified as a general pattern, that is, one that is valid for all Greek sentences.

On the other hand, the analysis of AG sentences with a more complex structure and at least three constituents to the left of the Verb (a case that is less frequent but not impossible to find) shows that Topic – Focus – Verb – Remainder is not the most general possible pattern. If the three preverbal constituents are not Setting, Topic, and Focus, Dik’s model does not apply to describe these types of sentences unless devices such as complex foci and extended Topic units are adopted (in other words, if it is assumed that there is more than one Topic or Focus).27

The remainder of this study reveals the outcomes of research that was conducted regarding sentences with at least three constituents to the left of the Verb, in order to investigate whether or not this type of sentence can follow pattern 13.

2 Material and method

2.1 The corpus

The research was conducted based on a specific corpus: the poems of Homer.28 Given ther peculiar history, these works are particularly suitable for linguistic and syntactic analysis, because they reflect “to a large extent modes of pre-literary oral communication” (Viti 2008: 206), in which the communicative and the pragmatic purposes prevail over the literary and artistic aims.29 Moreover, it is now commonly acknowledged that the poetic nature of the Iliad and the Odyssey should not be regarded as a crucial drawback for word order reliability: a number of studies (e.g. Dik 2007) have recently been conducted on the basis of the assumption that “word order is part of the ‘common core’ of the language, that part of the grammar that is shared by all registers of the language”; consequently, that “the rules of word order” are not “rendered invalid when one stops ‘speaking prose’ ”.30 These considerations explain the increasing interest of scholars in analyzing these poems31 in order to gain an overall understanding not only of Homeric word order but also of AG word order.32

Furthermore, a powerful tool is available for all scholars studying the poems of Homer: the Ancient Greek and Latin Dependency Treebank (AGLDT). AGLDT is a database of Classical texts promoted by the Perseus Project where the morphological, syntactic, and lexical information for each sentence has been explicitly encoded,33 that consequently allows scholars to perform complex linguistic searches. Once completed, it will include all classical texts, but at the present time34 it is limited to (among AG authors) the entirety of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, all of the works of Hesiod and Aeschylus, five tragedies of Sophocles, and some other single works (or parts of them).

2.2 The choice of examples

2.2.1 The method of Dik (1995)

As Dik stated in the methodological introduction to her book on Herodotus (Dik 1995: 3–17), the main factors that are considered responsible for the AG constituent order include euphony, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. To “identify the contribution of pragmatics to constituent order,” she asserted that it is necessary to “isolate it from other possible factors” (1995: 15) Regarding euphony, this can be accomplished by studying authors ad hoc, who neither “favored certain rhythms over others” nor avoided hiatus (1995: 4).35 As for semantics, selecting sentences based on their verb may turn this variable into a constant (1995: 15):36 “This lexical selection ensures reasonable semantic similarity and allows for better comparison between states of affairs described and evaluation of the informational status of participants in those states of affairs”.37 The same selection may also be useful for syntax.38

2.2.2 The method of this research work

This research conformed to the method described above.39 Resolutions to complications related to euphony and semantics were sought by working only on Homer (selected for the reasons stated at § 2.1) and by restricting the corpus to sentences with the same verbs: ἕπομαι, ἄγω, and δίδωμι.40 Complications related to syntax were treated together with pragmatics (see § 2.2.3).41

2.2.3 Syntax and pragmatics

More specifically, after a choice of a euphonic and semantic nature (see § 2.2.2), the study involved two steps. First, cases with the features noted in § 1.5 (“sentences with at least three different constituents to the left of the Verb”) were isolated from the corpus based on syntactic categories (“syntactic analysis,” mainly with the help of the AGLTD. Next, the possible pragmatic connotations of these examples were analyzed (“pragmatic analysis”).

For further information on syntactic analysis, see § 2.3.2; on pragmatic analysis, see § 2.3.3. Here, some clarification is provided about the expression “sentences with at least three constituents to the left of the Verb”.

First, about the word “sentences”: AG sentences consist of basic units called “cola”, which can be distinguished by the position of ἄν, enclitics following Wackernagel’s Law (unemphatic personal pronouns, some conjunctions, etc.), etc.42 Occasionally, sentences and “cola” correspond, but sometimes a sentence can be constituted by more than one “colon”, as in the following example:

(19)

ὣς

Δαναοὶ

εἷος

μὲν

ὁμιλαδὸν

αἰὲν

ἕποντο

so

Danaan:nom.pl

for a time

ptc

in throngs

ever

follow:impf.3pl

‘Even so the Danaans for a time ever followed on in throngs’ (Il. 15.277)

In this verse, there is only one sentence, but two cola, which are distinguished by the postpositive word μὲν in the second position: ὣς Δαναοὶ ‖ εἷος μὲν, etc.

In consideration of this distinction, pattern 13 (see § 1.4) applies to “cola” rather than “sentences”; and in the definition “sentences with at least three constituents to the left of the Verb,” the word “sentence” should be interpreted as “colon”.

Second, about the word “constituents”: the focus of the research was only on the constituents in which the position is actually under discussion. Consequently, the following constituents, which appear in the first or the second position, were not considered:

  • “Postpositive words” (according to the definition of Dover 1960: 12 ff.). Their collocation is described by Wackernagel’s Law, which requires them to occur in the second position of the sentence. The main words are:
    • Enclitic personal pronouns (μου, σου, οὑ …).
    • Enclitic indefinite pronouns and adverbs (τις, ποτε …).
    • The oblique cases of αὐτός in the anaphoric sense.
    • Enclitic particles (γε, τε, νυν, τοι, πω, ῥα, περ, θην).
    • Some non-enclitic particles (ἄρα, αὖ, γάρ, δαί, δέ, δή, δῆτα, μέν, μήν, οὖν).
    • ἄν (and its synonyms κε, κα).
  • “Complementizers,”43 which regularly occur in first position of the sentence:44
    • Coordinative conjunctions, such as ἀλλά, καί, etc.
    • Subordinative conjunctions, such as ὅτι, ὡς, ἐπεί, etc.
    • Relative pronouns and adverbs.

2.2.4 More than pragmatics

This research conformed to the method of Dik (1995) as stated in § 2.2.2, and did not exclusively rely on a pragmatic analysis of the constituents, as the works on AG word order that were published after Dik (1995) usually have done (e.g. Dik 2007 and Matić 2003). Rather, as seen above, other levels of linguistic description (euphonic, semantic, and syntactic) were also considered and used as starting points. This seemed more appropriate to the specific nature of the research for both theoretical and practical reasons:

  • Theoretically: The study was explicitly focused on doubtful cases from a pragmatic point of view (i.e., as stated in § 1.5, sentences with at least three constituents before the Verb); therefore, the pragmatic description could not be the starting point; rather, it had to be the end.
  • Practically (particularly related to the syntactic level): The AGLDT provides syntactic45 and not (to date) pragmatic information for the sentence constituents.46

On the other hand, the pragmatics constituted the endpoint and the aim of the research. Therefore, after being analyzed from a syntactic point of view,47 each sentence was analyzed from a pragmatic point of view as well.

2.3 The analysis of examples

2.3.1 Introduction

As stated in § 2.2.3, after a choice of a euphonic and semantic nature, the research work involved two steps. First, “sentences with at least three constituents to the left of the Verb” were isolated from the corpus based on syntactic categories (“syntactic analysis”). Second, the possible pragmatic connotations of these examples were analyzed (“pragmatic analysis”). Here, some more information about the syntactic analysis (cf. § 2.3.2) and the pragmatic analysis (cf. § 2.3.3) is provided.

2.3.2 Syntactic analysis

The syntactic analysis was based on a few fundamental categories. A detailed description of these categories is provided in the AGLDT:48

  • SBJ (Subject)Subjects […] come in a variety of parts of speech and phrases, including:
    • Nominative nouns
    • Accusative nouns
    • Genitive nouns
    • Infinitive verbs
    • Relative Pronouns
    Bamman & Crane 2008: 5–8
  • OBJ (Object)Likewise, objects are also dependent on their verb, and come in as large a variety of phrase types as subjects, including:
    • Accusative nouns
    • Accusative + infinitive constructions
    • Relative clauses
    • Subordinate clauses
    • Infinitive verbs
    • Complements
    Our notion of object … includes a wider range of phrases than traditional direct objects … The following English examples all have one argument that is typically considered the direct object [and] would generally appear in the accusative case in Greek or Latin … However, they also each contain one phrase that completes the action of the verb (with wine, onto his right hand and out of pork) that should be [considered] OBJ as well: They sprinkled the lamp with wine; He threw the ring onto his right hand; The cook fashioned birds and fish out of pork …. [The main difference between Objects and Adverbials is that] Objects are obligatory arguments of verbs, while adverbials are always optional.
    • Indirect objects
    • Passive agents.49
    Bamman & Crane 2008: 8–14
  • ADV (Adverbial):Similarly, adverbials further specify the circumstances under which a verb, adjective or adverb takes place. These include:
    • adverbs
    • prepositional phrases
    • nouns in oblique cases
    • participles
    • subordinate clauses.50
    Bamman & Crane 2008: 19–21

Further distinguishing syntactic categories by types (that is, subcategories) was also considered in the analysis. For example:

(20)

τὼ

μὲν

ἄρ

ἡβήσαντε

μελαινάων

ἐπὶ

νηῶν /

Ἴλιον

εἰς

εὔπωλον

ἅμ’

Ἀργείοισιν

ἑπέσθην

dem.nom.du

ptc

ptc

reach.manhood:ptcp.aor.nom.du

black:gen.pl.f

on

ship:gen.pl.f

Ilios:acc

to

famed.for.its.horses:acc

together

Argive:dat.pl

follow:ind.impf.3du

‘Now when the twain had reached manhood, they followed with the Argives on the black ships to Ilios famed for its horses’ (Il. 5, 550–551)

τὼ μὲν=SBJ, ἡβήσαντε, μελαινάων ἐπὶ νηῶν=ADVs, Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον, ἅμ’ Ἀργείοισιν=OBJs

In this sentence, there are two types of ADVs (ἡβήσαντε=Temporal / μελαινάων ἐπὶ νηῶν = Instrumental) and two types of OBJs (Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον = Place / ἅμ’ Ἀργείοισιν = Person [or better Group]).

As far as the analysis itself is concerned, it took into account sentences with at least three constituents to the left of the Verb (§ 2.2.3). More precisely, the research was limited to sentences with at least three different constituents to the left of the Verb—that is, at least three preverbal constituents belonging to different syntactic categories or types.51 Consequently, the following cases were taken into account:

1) Sentences with at least three constituents, of which one was a SBJ, one was an ADV, and one was an OBJ;52 e.g.

(21)

οἶσθ’

ὡς

πρεσβυτέροισιν

Ἐρινύες

αἰὲν

ἕπονται

know:prf.2sg

how

elder.born:dat.pl

Erinys:nom.pl.f

ever

follow:prs.3pl

‘Thou knowest how the Erinyes ever follow to aid the elder-born’ (Il. 15, 204)

πρεσβυτέροισιν=OBJ, Ἐρινύες=SBJ, αἰὲν=ADV (Temporal)

2) Sentences with at least three constituents, of which one was a SBJ or an ADV, and the other two were OBJs of different type; e.g.53

(22)

εἴ

τινας

ἀντιθέων

ἑτάρων

ἴδες,

οἵ

τοι

ἅμ’

αὐτῷ/

Ἴλιον

εἰς

ἅμ’

ἕποντο

whether

indf.acc.pl

godlike:gen.pl

comrade:gen.pl

see:aor.2sg

rel.nom.pl

2sg.dat

together

self:dat

Ilios:acc.

to

together

follow:impf.3pl

‘Whether thou sawest any of thy godlike comrades, who went to Ilios together with thee’ (Od. 11, 371–372)

ἅμ ᾽αὐτῷ=OBJ (Person), Ἴλιον εἰς=OBJ (Place), ἅμ’=ADV (Modal)

3) Sentences with at least three constituents, of which one was a SBJ or an OBJ, and the other two were ADVs of different types. For the sake of simplification, among ADVs, only the difference Modal/Non-modal was taken into account (where Non-modal = everything that is not modal: Temporal, Local …)—that is, two (or more) ADVs of distinct types were usually considered as belonging to the same type, with one exception: when one was Modal and the other Non-modal;54 e.g.55

(23)

τοῦ

γὰρ

φίλος

υἱὸς

ἐπελθὼν /

αἴθρῳ

καὶ

καμάτῳ

δεδμημένον

ἦγεν

ἐς

οἶκον

3sg.gen

for

his.dear:nom

son:nom

come.upon:ptcp.prs.nom

cold:dat

and

weariness:dat

overcome:ptcp.prf.pass.acc.

lead:impf.3sg

to

palace:acc

‘For his dear son came upon me, overcome as I was with cold and weariness … and led me … to … palace’ (Od. 14, 317–318)

τοῦ γὰρ φίλος υἱὸς=SUBJ, ἐπελθὼν=ADV (Temporal), αἴθρῳ καὶ καμάτῳ δεδμημένον=ADV (“overcome as I was with cold and weariness”, Modal)

4) Sentences with at least two constituents that were SBJs, ADVs, or OBJs, of which one was discontinuous, or split up into two parts (i.e. “hyperbaton”; in fact, according to the most comprehensive analysis on this subject, Devine & Stephens 2000, the two parts of the discontinuous constituent are in two different syntactic positions);56 e.g.

(24)

κεχαρισμένα

δ’

αἰεὶ /

δῶρα

θεοῖσι

δίδωσι

τοὶ

οὐρανὸν

εὐρὺν

ἔχουσιν

acceptable:acc.pl.n

ptc

ever

gift:acc.pl.n

god:dat.pl

give:prs.3sg

rel.nom.pl

heaven:acc

broad:acc

have:prs.3pl

‘He ever giveth acceptable gifts to the gods that hold broad heaven’ (Il. 20, 298–299)

κεχαρισμένα=OBJ[first part of the constituent], αἰεὶ=ADV (Temporal), δῶρα=OBJ[second part of the constituent]57

2.3.3 Pragmatic analysis

The pragmatic analysis was based on the categories of Setting, Topic, and Focus (see § 1.1).58

As far as the analysis itself is concerned, it aimed to study the possible pragmatic connotations of the constituents of the sentences that had been isolated in the syntactic analysis; e.g.

(25)

οἶσθ’

ὡς

πρεσβυτέροισιν

Ἐρινύες

αἰὲν

ἕπονται

know:prf.2sg

how

elder.born:dat.pl

Erinys:nom.pl.f

ever

follow:prs.3pl

‘Thou knowest how the Erinyes ever follow to aid the elder-born’ (Il. 15, 204)

πρεσβυτέροισιν refers to Zeus, the Topic of the discourse, already quoted in v. 202. For a complete analysis of the passage, see Kirk (1985–1993) ad loc. (vol. IV, p. 248) → πρεσβυτέροισιν=Top, Ἐρινύες=SBJ, αἰὲν=ADV (Temporal).

3 Results

3.1 Introduction

In this section, the outcomes of the research are given, with a focus on three particularly significant case studies: sentences where the Verb is ἕπομαι, ἄγω, and δίδωμι (see § 2.2.2).

For the first case (ἕπομαι), a complete report is provided, as follows. First, the most typical situation is presented: a sentence with at least three constituents, where one is a SBJ, one is an ADV, and one is an OBJ (cf. § 2.3.2, 1). Next, particular cases are taken into account: examples with at least three constituents, where one is a SBJ or an ADV, and the other two are OBJs of different types (cf. § 2.3.2, 2); examples with at least three constituents, where one is a SBJ or an OBJ, and the other two are ADVs of different types (cf. § 2.3.2, 3); examples with at least two constituents that are SBJs, ADVs, or OBJs, where one is discontinuous, or split up into two parts (i.e. hyperbaton) (cf. § 2.3.2, 4). Finally, the interpretation of the examples is summarized in a “synoptic table”.

For the other two cases studies (ἄγω and δίδωμι) the synoptic tables are given only for the sake of brevity.

3.2 ἕπομαι

3.2.1 Introduction

The first case study involves the verb ἕπομαι, which is always used in the meaning of “to be or come after, follow” (see Liddell & Scott 1940, s.v.). It accepts two Objects (in the broad sense specified in § 2.3.2, b): a person or thing that is followed, usually expressed with (ἅμα +) dat.; and a place toward which movement is directed, usually expressed with local expressions (εἰς + acc., etc.).

3.2.2 Sentences with at least three constituents, where one is a SBJ, one is an ADV, and one is an OBJ

3.2.2.1 SBJ – ADV – OBJ order

This is the most frequent case. All of the examples appear to be pragmatically very similar: the Subject is usually a given element, while the new information is expressed by the Verb and its Object. Adverbials are temporal or instrumental and not modal (for an exception and explanation, see ex. 29). For example:

(26)

οἳ

δὲ

διαστάντες

σφέας αὐτοὺς

ἀρτύναντες /

πένταχα

κοσμηθέντες

ἅμ’

ἡγεμόνεσσιν

ἕποντο

dem.nom.pl

ptc

set.apart:ptcp.aor.nom.pl

refl.3pl.acc.pl

array:ptcp.aor.nom.pl

in.five.companies

order:ptcp.aor.pass.nom.pl

together

leader:dat.pl

follow:impf.3pl

‘But the men divided and arrayed themselves, and marshalled in five companies they followed after the leaders’ (Il. 12, 86–87)

οἳ=SBJ, διαστάντες, σφέας αὐτοὺς ἀρτύναντες, πένταχα κοσμηθέντες=ADVs (Temporals), ἅμ’ ἡγεμόνεσσιν =OBJ

This situation cannot be explained according to Dik’s model of Topic – Focus – etc.; its frequency induces the assumption (rather than a different pragmatic model as Topic – Unmarked element(s) – Focus) that in this case, no word is singled out for special treatment with respect to the order, and that this word order is unmarked.59

Listed here are the other examples of this case:

(27)

αὐτοὶ

δὲ

πρυλέες

σὺν

τεύχεσι

θωρηχθέντες /

Ἕκτορι

πάντες

ἑπώμεθ’

ἀολλέες

self:nom.pl

ptc

foot-soldier:nom.pl

with

armour:dat.pl.n

arm:ptcp.aor.pass.nom.pl

Hector:dat.

all:nom.pl

follow:sbjv.prs.1pl

in.throng:nom.pl

‘But let us on foot, arrayed in our armour, follow all in one throng after Hector’ (Il. 12, 77–78)

αὐτοὶ=SBJ, σὺν τεύχεσι θωρηχθέντες=ADV (Temporal), Ἕκτορι=OBJ

(28)

τὼ

μὲν

ἄρ’

ἡβήσαντε

μελαινάων

ἐπὶ

νηῶν /

Ἴλιον

εἰς

εὔπωλον

ἅμ’

Ἀργείοισιν

ἑπέσθην

dem.nom.du

ptc

ptc

reach.manhood:ptcp.aor.nom.du

black:gen.pl.f

on

ship:gen.pl.f

Ilios:acc

to

famed.for.its.horses:acc

together

Argive:dat.pl

follow:ind.impf.3du

‘Now when the twain had reached manhood, they followed with the Argives on the black ships to Ilios famed for its horses’ (Il. 5, 550–551)

τὼ μὲν=SBJ, ἡβήσαντε, μελαινάων ἐπὶ νηῶν=ADVs (Temporal / Instrumental), Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον, ἅμ’ Ἀργείοισιν=OBJs

(29)

ὣς

Τρῶες

πρὸ

μὲν

ἄλλοι

ἀρηρότες,

αὐτὰρ

ἐπ’

ἄλλοι, /

χαλκῷ

μαρμαίροντες

ἅμ’

ἡγεμόνεσσιν

ἕποντο

so

Trojan:nom.pl

before

ptc

others:nom.pl

join.together:ptcp.prf.nom.pl

ptc

after

others:nom.pl

bronze:dat

flash:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

together

leader:dat.pl

follow:impf.3pl

‘Even so the Trojans, in close array, some in the van and after them others, flashing with bronze, followed with their leaders’ (Il. 13, 800–801)

Τρῶες=SBJ, πρὸ μὲν ἄλλοι ἀρηρότες, αὐτὰρ ἐπ’ ἄλλοι, χαλκῷ μαρμαίροντες =ADVs (Temporal / Modal), ἅμ’ ἡγεμόνεσσιν =OBJ

In this example, the modal ADV precedes the OBJ, which is unusual. This order could be explained by placing emphasis on the beginning of the verse, cf. n. 30.

(30)

ἀλλ’

οὗτος

μὲν

νῦν

σοὶ

ἅμ’

ἕψεται,

ὄφρα

κεν

εὕδῃ/

σοῖσιν

ἐνὶ

μεγάροισιν

but

dem.nom

ptc

now

2sg.dat

together

follow:fut.3sg

that

ptc

sleep:sbjv.prs.3sg

poss:2sg.dat

in

hall:dat.pl

‘But while he shall now follow with thee, that he may sleep in thy halls’ (Od. 3, 359–360)

οὗτος=SBJ, νῦν=ADV (Temporal), σοὶ=OBJ

3.2.2.2 SBJ – OBJ – ADV order

There are two instances of this type of sentence. As in the previous case, the constituents appear to be unmarked (SBJ – ADV – OBJ order); however, Adverbials are modal:

(31)

Τρῶες

δὲ

φλογὶ

ἶσοι

ἀολλέες

ἠὲ

θυέλλῃ/

Ἕκτορι

Πριαμίδῃ

ἄμοτον

μεμαῶτες

ἕποντο

Trojans:nom.pl

ptc

flame:dat

equal:nom.pl

in.throng:nom.pl

or

hurricane:dat.f

Hector:dat

son.of.Priam:dat

incessantly

strive:ptcp.prf.nom.pl

follow:impf.3pl

‘But the Trojans, all in one body, like flame or tempest-blast were following furiously after Hector, son of Priam’ (Il. 13, 39–40)

Τρῶες=SBJ, Ἕκτορι Πριαμίδῃ=OBJ, ἄμοτον μεμαῶτες=ADV (Modal)

(32)

ἀλλ’

οὗτος

μὲν

νῦν

σοὶ

ἅμ’

ἕψεται,

ὄφρα

κεν

εὕδῃ/

σοῖσιν

ἐνὶ

μεγάροισιν

but

dem.nom

ptc

now

2sg.dat

together

follow:fut.3sg

that

ptc

sleep:sbjv.prs.3sg

poss:2sg.dat

in

hall:dat.pl

‘But while he shall now follow with thee, that he may sleep in thy halls’ (Od. 3, 359–360)

οὗτος=SBJ, σοὶ=OBJ, ἅμ’=ADV (Modal)

Notice that νῦν precedes the Object, which is typical of temporal adverbs.

3.2.2.3 ADV – SBJ – OBJ order

No instances.

3.2.2.4 ADV – OBJ – SBJ order

There is only one instance. The Adverbials could be classified as Setting, and the Object is pragmatically marked:

(33)

ὣς

τότ’

ἔπειτ’

Αἴαντα

μέγαν

Τελαμώνιον

υἱὸν /

Τρῶες

ὑπέρθυμοι

πολυηγερέες

τ’

ἐπίκουροι /

νύσσοντες

ξυστοῖσι

μέσον

σάκος

αἰὲν

ἕποντο

so

then

then

Aias:acc.

great:acc.

of.Telamon:acc.

son:acc.

Trojans:nom.pl

high.spirited:nom.pl

numerously.assembled:nom.pl

ptc

ally:nom.pl

smite:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

spear:dat.pl.n

middle:acc.n.

shield:acc.n.

ever

follow:impf.3pl

‘Even so then did the Trojans, high of heart, and their allies, gathered from many lands, smite great Aias, son of Telamon, with spears full upon his shield, and ever press upon him’ (Il. 11, 563–565)

ὣς τότ’ ἔπειτ’=ADVs (Modal / Temporal / Temporal), Αἴαντα μέγαν Τελαμώνιον υἱὸν=OBJ, Τρῶες ὑπέρθυμοι πολυηγερέες τ’ ἐπίκουροι=SBJ

The adverbs at the beginning, ὣς, which connect this clause as a whole with the preceding sentence, and τότ’ and ἔπειτ’, which are temporal, can easily be interpreted to be “Setting.” The Object (we may consider that Αἴαντα μέγαν Τελαμώνιον υἱὸν is logically governed by ἕποντο, even if it is formally governed by νύσσοντες from a grammatical point of view) is clearly pragmatically marked: Topic (Aiax has explicitly been mentioned in v. 556, and the simile of vv. 558–562 refers to him) or perhaps better Focus (as the way in which Ajax is referred to seems to show: not with the simple anaphoric ὁ[τὸν in this case], but with an heavy name with epithets).

3.2.2.5 OBJ – SBJ – ADV order

There are two instances in which the Object is pragmatically marked. The rest of the sentence appears to be unmarked. Adverbials are both Modals and Non-modals:

(34)

ὣς

τότ’

ἔπειτ’

Αἴαντα

μέγαν

Τελαμώνιον

υἱὸν /

Τρῶες

ὑπέρθυμοι

πολυηγερέες

τ’

ἐπίκουροι /

νύσσοντες

ξυστοῖσι

μέσον

σάκος

αἰὲν

ἕποντο

so

then

then

Aias:acc.

great:acc.

of.Telamon:acc.

son:acc.

Trojans:nom.pl

high.spirited:nom.pl

numerously.assembled:nom.pl

ptc

ally:nom.pl

smite:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

spear:dat.pl.n

middle:acc.n.

shield:acc.n.

ever

follow:impf.3pl

‘Even so then did the Trojans, high of heart, and their allies, gathered from many lands, smite great Aias, son of Telamon, with spears full upon his shield, and ever press upon him’ (Il. 11, 563–565)

Αἴαντα μέγαν Τελαμώνιον υἱὸν=OBJ, Τρῶες ὑπέρθυμοι πολυηγερέες τ’ ἐπίκουροι=SBJ, νύσσοντες ξυστοῖσι μέσον σάκος, αἰὲν=ADVs (Temporal, Modal)

Αἴαντα μέγαν Τελαμώνιον υἱὸν is Topic or Focus, cf. 33.

(35)

οἶσθ’

ὡς

πρεσβυτέροισιν

Ἐρινύες

αἰὲν

ἕπονται

know:prf.2sg

how

elder.born:dat.pl

Erinys:nom.pl.f

ever

follow:prs.3pl

‘Thou knowest how the Erinyes ever follow to aid the elder-born’ (Il. 15, 204)

πρεσβυτέροισιν=OBJ, Ἐρινύες=SBJ, αἰὲν=ADV (Temporal)

πρεσβυτέροισιν here refers to Zeus, the Topic of the discourse, already quoted in v. 202. For a complete analysis of the passage, see Kirk (1985–1993) ad loc. (vol. IV, 248).

3.2.2.6 OBJ – ADV – SBJ order

No instances.

3.2.3 Particular cases

3.2.3.1 At least three constituents, where one is a SBJ or an ADV, and the other two are OBJs of different types

In the examples of § 3.2.2.1–6, there is one instance of this case, in which the place precedes the person:

(36)

τὼ

μὲν

ἄρ’

ἡβήσαντε

μελαινάων

ἐπὶ

νηῶν /

Ἴλιον

εἰς

εὔπωλον

ἅμ’

Ἀργείοισιν

ἑπέσθην

dem.nom.du

ptc

ptc

reach.manhood:ptcp.aor.nom.du

black:gen.pl.f

on

ship:gen.pl.f

Ilios:acc

to

famed.for.its.horses:acc

together

Argive:dat.pl

follow:ind.impf.3du

‘Now when the twain had reached manhood, they followed with the Argives on the black ships to Ilios famed for its horses’ (Il. 5, 550–551)

Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον=OBJ (Place), ἅμ’ Ἀργείοισιν=OBJ (Person)

When considering cases where there are only three constituents, where one is a SBJ or an ADV, and the other two are OBJs of different types, there are two additional examples in which the person precedes the place:

(37)

ῥά

κε

νῦν

πάλιν

αὖτις

ἅμ’

ἡμῖν

οἴκαδ’

ἕποιο

ptc

ptc

ptc

now

again

anew

together

1pl.dat

to.home

follow:opt.prs.2sg

‘Wouldest thou then return again with us to thy home …?’ (Od. 15, 432–433)

νῦν, πάλιν, αὖτις=ADVs (Temporals), ἅμ’ ἡμῖν=OBJ (Person), οἴκαδ’=OBJ (Place)

(38)

εἴ

τινας

ἀντιθέων

ἑτάρων

ἴδες,

οἵ

τοι

ἅμ’

αὐτῷ/

Ἴλιον

εἰς

ἅμ’

ἕποντο

whether

indf.acc.pl

godlike:gen.pl

comrade:gen.pl

see:aor.2sg

rel.nom.pl

2sg.dat

together

self:dat

Ilios:acc.

to

together

follow:impf.3pl

‘Whether thou sawest any of thy godlike comrades, who went to Ilios together with thee’ (Od. 11, 371–372)

ἅμ᾽αὐτῷ=OBJ (Person), Ἴλιον εἰς=OBJ (Place), ἅμ’=ADV (Modal)

Ex. 36 and 38 appear to be pragmatically marked (cf. the anastrophe Ἴλιον εἰς at the beginning of the verse).60

3.2.3.2 At least three constituents, where one is a SBJ or an OBJ, and the other two are ADVs of different types

In the examples of § 3.2.2.1–6 there are two instances of this case, in which the Non-modal precedes the Modal:

(39)

ὣς

Τρῶες

πρὸ

μὲν

ἄλλοι

ἀρηρότες,

αὐτὰρ

ἐπ’

ἄλλοι, /

χαλκῷ

μαρμαίροντες

ἅμ’

ἡγεμόνεσσιν

ἕποντο

so

Trojan:nom.pl

before

ptc

others:nom.pl

join.together:ptcp.prf.nom.pl

ptc

after

others:nom.pl

bronze:dat

flash:ptcp.prs.nom.pl

together

leader:dat.pl

follow:impf.3pl

‘Even so the Trojans, in close array, some in the van and after them others, flashing with bronze, followed with their leaders’ (Il. 13, 800–801)

πρὸ μὲν ἄλλοι ἀρηρότες, αὐτὰρ ἐπ’ ἄλλοι=ADV (Temporals), χαλκῷ μαρμαίροντες=ADV (Modal)

(40)

ἀλλ’

οὗτος

μὲν

νῦν

σοὶ

ἅμ’

ἕψεται,

ὄφρα

κεν

εὕδῃ /

σοῖσιν

ἐνὶ

μεγάροισιν

but

dem.nom

ptc

now

2sg.dat

together

follow:fut.3sg

that

ptc

sleep:sbjv.prs.3sg

poss:2sg.dat

in

hall:dat.pl

‘But while he shall now follow with thee, that he may sleep in thy halls’ (Od. 3, 359–60)

νῦν=ADV (Temporal), ἅμ’=ADV (Modal)

There are no examples where there are only three constituents, of which one is a SBJ or an OBJ, and the other two are ADVs of different types.

The two instances above confirm what is previously stated in relation to the two patterns SBJ – ADV – OBJ (§ 3.2.2.1) and SBJ – OBJ – ADV (§ 3.2.2.2).

3.2.3.3 At least two constituents that are SBJs, ADVs, or OBJs, where one is discontinuous, or split up into two parts (i.e. hyperbaton)

No instances.

3.2.4 Synoptic table

The interpretation of the examples of this section (§ 3.2.2.1–6-§ 3.2.3.1–3) is summarized in Tab. 1. Each constituent is marked based on a syntactic point of view (SBJ, ADV …) unless it has a pragmatic function (Setting, Topic …). There is no distinction between elements (Adverbials, Topics …) of the same type (e.g. in the case of three temporal adverbs only ADV [Non-modal] is written). There is no distinction between different types of Objects. An asterisk marks exceptions.

Table 1

ἕπομαι

Ex.

Interpretation

26 (Il. 12, 86–87)

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

27 (Il. 12, 77–78)

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

28=36 (Il. 5, 550–551)

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

29=39 (Il. 13, 800–801)

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – ADV (Modal) – OBJ*

30=32=40 (Od. 3, 359–360)

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ – ADV (Modal)

31 (Il. 13, 39–40)

SBJ – OBJ – ADV (Modal)

33=34 (Il. 11, 563–565)

Setting – Topic or Focus – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – ADV (Modal)

35 (Il. 15, 204)

Topic – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal)

37 (Od. 15, 432–433)

ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

38 (Od. 11, 371–372)

OBJ – ADV (Modal)

3.3 ἄγω, δίδωμι

The other two case studies (ἄγω and δίδωμι) have been analyzed in the same way as ἕπομαι. As stated in § 3.1, for the sake of brevity, only the synoptic tables are provided (Tab. 2, Tab. 3).

Table 2

ἄγω

Ex.

Interpretation

Od. 3, 423–424

Topic – Focus – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 14, 91

SBJ – OBJ – ADV (Modal)

Il. 23, 85–86

Setting – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 7, 311–312

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 4, 19

Setting – Topic – SBJ

Od. 16, 272

Topic – Focus – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal)

Il. 11, 663–664

Topic – SBJ – ADV

Il. 2, 653–654

SBJ – OBJ

Od. 11, 322–324

SBJ – OBJ

Il. 9, 71–72

SBJ – OBJ

Od. 20, 277–278

SBJ – OBJ

Il. 24, 336–337

OBJ – ADV (Modal)

Il. 23, 300

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 7, 334–335

Topic – Focus – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 14, 317–318

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – ADV (Modal)

Il. 13, 571–572

Setting – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal)

Table 3

δίδωμι

Ex.

Interpretation

Il. 5, 396–397

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 23, 650

Topic – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Od. 17, 455

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Od. 17, 566–567

SBJ – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Od. 4, 236–237

Focus – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 22, 403–404

Setting – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 15, 719–720

Setting – Topic – Focus – OBJ

Il. 16, 799–800

Setting – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 19, 264

Setting – Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 5, 351

Setting – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 18, 190–191

Setting – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 8, 167–168

Setting – Focus – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 5, 1–2

Setting – Focus – SBJ

Il. 22, 379

Topic – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal)

Od. 9, 550–551

Topic – Focus – SBJ – ADV (Non-modal)

Od. 15, 449

Topic – SBJ – ADV (Modal)

Il. 12, 437

SBJ – OBJ

Il. 20, 298–299

Focus – OBJ

Il. 22, 258–259

ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 18, 84

Topic – Focus – SBJ

Il. 16, 624–625

Setting – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 17, 389–390

SBJ – OBJ

Od. 7, 166

Topic – Focus – SBJ

Il. 1, 178

SBJ – OBJ

Od. 24, 219

ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 17, 127

Topic – Focus – OBJ

Il. 18, 431

Focus – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 18, 545–546

Topic – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 9, 260–261

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 15, 455

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 21, 34

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Od. 19, 196–197

Topic – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Od. 8, 410–411

Topic – SBJ – OBJ

Il. 9, 519

Setting – ADV (Non-modal) – OBJ

Il. 8, 142–143

Setting – Focus – ADV (Non-modal)

Il. 7, 299

Focus – OBJ

Od. 15, 125

Focus – OBJ

Il. 23, 551

Topic – ADV (Non-modal)

4 Conclusion

4.1 The left periphery

Data from the preceding synoptic tables are consistent with the following sentence patterns:61

(41) [from ἕπομαι] (Setting – Topic – SBJ – ADV [Non-modal] – OBJ – ADV [Modal])

(42) [from ἄγω] (Setting – Topic – Focus – SBJ – ADV [Non-modal] – OBJ – ADV [Modal])

(43) [from δίδωμι] (Setting – Topic – Focus – SBJ – ADV [Non-modal] – OBJ – ADV [Modal])

These three patterns can each be considered particular examples of the following, more general model:

(44) (Setting – Topic – Focus – SBJ – ADV [Non-modal] – OBJ – ADV [Modal])

The structure of the left periphery which results from this model is analogous with the one described in pattern 13 (cf. § 1.4), which I present again here:

(45) (Setting – Topic – Focus). NB: Unmarked elements follow.

The two main characteristics (cf. § 1.4) are also comparable, as shown here:

  • After the final marked element, the Verb does not necessarily follow.
  • Not only are the Setting constituents and the Topic optional, but the Focus is also optional.

Consequently, the analysis of the examples confirms the suitability of the new model for the AG left periphery suggested in § 1.4. It is worth repeating that this analysis, and particularly pattern 13 (=45), is not dramatically different from Dik’s pattern, but, rather, can be considered an extension of it. As noted in § 1.5, most of AG sentences (or cola)62 have a quite simple structure, and there are usually no more than two constituents to the left of the Verb. Therefore, their structure will often be Topic – Focus – Verb, which is consistent with both Dik’s model and the model proposed in this study.

Finally, a note about the range of conclusions given in this contribution must be added. The starting point for this study was a general (that is, valid in general for AG) theory, which I proposed to demonstrate based on examples drawn from just one author: Homer. In § 2.1, I assumed the validity of this method, showing that Homeric poems are more significant for linguistic and syntactic analysis than many other AG works. On the other hand, it is also true that further research into a more extensive corpus is needed to confirm the hypothesis behind this assumption. Consequently, at the present time, it would be prudent to consider the conclusions drawn here (and particularly the material in the preceding section) to be relevant to Homeric Greek at least, if not to AG in general.

Appendix

1 An observation on the right part of the sentence

As a corollary of what is stated in § 4.1 above, it may be useful to add an observation that goes beyond the limits of this contribution (i.e. beyond the AG “left periphery”)—albeit pointing out that it is only a suggestion, which would need to be confirmed via further research. The general model 44 seems to indicate that the order of constituents of the right part of the sentence, far from being free (as stated in § 1.1), instead depends on syntax—as represented in the following pattern (“right part of the sentence pattern”):

(46) SBJ – ADV [Non-modal] – OBJ – ADV [Modal]

If this is true, in the AG sentence, non-pragmatic constituents are also ordered, i.e. an unmarked word order exists.63 Only in particular cases are such non-pragmatic constituents preceded by marked constituents (displaced in the left periphery), although they do not necessarily need to be—which is exactly what happens in many other Indo-European languages, ancient and modern.64

The fact that the AG sentence constituents present themselves in an unmarked word order of a syntactic kind has already been proposed by some scholars: see, among others, Kühner & Gerth (1898–1904, 595 ff.), according to whom the AG unmarked order is οἱ Ἕλληνες ταύτῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐν Μαραθῶνι τοὺς Πέρσας καλῶς ἐνίκησαν, with the subject in the first position, followed by time and place expressions and the direct object; Friedrich (1975), according to whom the Homeric unmarked word order is SOV/SVO; etc. Nevertheless, at the present time, the existence of such an unmarked word order is usually denied, mainly because of its many exceptions. On the other hand, exceptions should not be taken to imply that a rule does not exist; they can be explained based on the important role played by pragmatics in AG.

2 Pragmatics and syntax

This suggestion, if confirmed, would offer the opportunity to reply to an objection that may be raised to the model proposed in this contribution (13=45). It might seem that this model, by increasing the number and range of unmarked elements and, consequently, restricting the role of pragmatics in AG sentences, has less explanatory power than Dik’s model. On the other hand, what is observed in § 1 of this Appendix opens the way to another possible explanation—even if only tentative at this stage. In other words, the connection between the explanatory power of a word-order theory and the number and range of marked or unmarked elements is justified only if word order is explained on an exclusively pragmatic basis. If one postulates an interaction between pragmatics and syntax, things change.

3 Open questions

On the other hand, the suggestion proposed in § 1 of this Appendix also raises some questions, particularly about the relationships that occur between pragmatics and syntax and the way in which two such factors “work together”. Here, I restrict myself to saying that the co-occurrence of pragmatics and syntax in determining word order has been theoretically very well explained by a linguistic theory that “makes possible a very transparent approach to the interface between syntax and semantics – pragmatics” like the cartographic approach to sentence structure.65 I will not add anything more on this point since this more general explanatory aspect—like the description of the right part of the sentence—goes beyond the scope of this contribution. As already stated in § 1.4, this contribution aims to provide a “pattern”—that is, a description—“for the AG left periphery”, and so has two limitations: the descriptive aspect (more than explanatory) and the focus on a single part of the sentence. What is new in this contribution is pattern 13 (=45); for a theoretical explanation or a wider description (i.e. of the whole sentence), further studies are required.66

Acknowledgments

This article continues and perfects my studies on Ancient Greek word order (particularly my doctoral thesis, published as Beschi 2012) focusing on a single aspect: the left part of the sentence. I am grateful to professors P. Benincà (Padua) and D.J. Mastronarde (Berkeley) for encouraging me to study this topic and giving me suggestions both for the thesis and for this article. I am also grateful to the anonymous Journal of Greek Linguistics reviewers for their helpful comments.

1Mainly Sophoclean. An up-to-date account of AG word order studies can be found in Mastronarde (2013) and Celano (2014).
2More precisely on discourse analysis, “which can be considered a subfield of pragmatics” (Dik 2007: 4 n. 5). Following Dik’s proposal, a number of scholars have studied AG word order from a pragmatic point of view, e.g. Bakker (2009), on the nominal phrase.
3Which “looks much like De Groot’s 1981 proposal for Hungarian” (Dik 1995: 12).
4Cf. Dik (2007), which perfects the pattern in Dik (1995). Optional elements are placed between parentheses.
5The concept of Setting as related to information on the “scene” can be extended to sentences and meanings other than temporal and local, e.g. conditional; cf. among others Haegeman (2000): 143 ff., Benincà & Poletto (2004): 66–67, etc.
6Unless it is itself “the Topic or (more likely) the Focus of the clause” (Dik 2007: 38).
7However, Dik herself never speaks about “left periphery.”
8According to Dik (1995: 93), an AG unmarked word order does not exist: since the “difference in pragmatic function assignment can account for different orderings,” it is unnecessary to “describe one pattern as the preferred or unmarked pattern”.
9The expression “Dik’s pattern” is intended to emphasize the close relationship between the pattern (4) and Dik’s analysis.
105.3–5.10 and 7.27–29, 38–39; cf. Dik 1995: 237–257.
11El. 516–527, 23–37, 660–680, 1171–1226; cf. Dik 2007: 225–248.
12See also Dik (2007): 60–65, from which some of these examples are drawn.
13In general, Unmarked elements preceding the Topic can easily be interpreted to be Setting constituents.
14Dik does not provide numbers or percentages. According to Matić, Dik’s pattern can only explain 49 % of the cases (cf. § 1.3).
15“Not all Topic expressions … get assigned to this [i.e. left-peripheral] position, but only some of them … The preverbal Topic position is a structural position for referential Topic expressions denoting frame-Setting Topics … More precisely, it is used for contrastive Topics, Topics active in the same spatio-temporal frame or appearing in interaction, reintroduced or newly introduced Topics, etc. … Non-clitic Topic expressions that do not set new referential frames, i.e. continuous Topic expressions, are, with certain well-defined exceptions, placed immediately after the verb” (Matić 2003: 588 ff. passim).
16Similarly, the other two examples of preverbal unmarked elements between Topic and Focus provided in § 1.2 (Matić does not explicitly take them into account) can be explained: the intervening subjects σύ in (6) and οἱ προσήκοντες in (7) can be interpreted as ConTops (appearing directly after FSTop expressions; cf. Matić 2003: 599 ii.).
17“Narrow Focus expressions can be separated from the verb by clitics, negation, non-verbal parts of idioms, verb support constructions, etc. All these cases are accountable for in terms of the model proposed in Section 2. When the Focus expression is separated from the verb by a Topical expression, FSTop or ConTop, an explanation in terms of this model seems implausible” (Matić 2003: 624).
18The other example of preverbal unmarked elements between Focus and Verb included in § 1.2 (9) can be explained in the same way: the intervening subjects πατὴρ can be interpreted to be the Topical element between Focus and Verb.
19A recent refinement of the theory of Dik and Matić, Celano (2013), comes to the same conclusions.
20This obviously does not mean that there can be sentences in AG without any new or salient element, but rather there can be sentences in AG where such newness or saliency does not influence word order. For more information, cf. n. 25.
21See n. 20: not without a new or salient element, but without a new or salient element singled out for a special position in the linear order of the clause.
22In cases like this, note that the pragmatic interpretation of the constituents following the first Unmarked element is different than before (cf. 6). More precisely, constituents following the first Unmarked element are also considered unmarked. In the specific case, τἀληθὲς, following the unmarked σύ, is considered unmarked (very likely a “focal element”: on the distinction between focal element and Focus, cf. n. 25).
23As is explained in more detail later (b), in this model, Pragmatics plays an important but not exclusive role: parentheses show that there can be sentences without pragmatic constituents. On the other hand, the discussion summarized in § 1.2-§ 1.3 shows the limits of an exclusively pragmatic explanation of AG word order.
24If there is one; as I stated in (b), there can be sentences without pragmatically marked constituents.
25The general presupposition of my proposal is the distinction, introduced by Dik & Hengeveld (1997: 312–313), between “informational status” and “pragmatic function”. The “informational status” is mainly related to the concepts of Topicality and Focality: “Topicality concerns the status of those entities ‘about’ which information is to be provided or requested in the discourse … Focality attaches to those pieces of information which are the most important or salient”. The “pragmatic function” is related to the concepts of Topic and Focus: “certain topical elements are singled out for special treatment in the expression of the clause”, particularly “a special position in the linear order of the clause”. “Such elements will receive the pragmatic function of Topic … Likewise, if such special treatment is given to focal elements, these will be assigned the pragmatic function of Focus”. The informational status characterizes every constituent of the sentence, while the pragmatic function only characterizes some of them.As for the AG sentence, the assignment of a pragmatic function to some of its constituents, while compulsory according to the studies previously discussed, is optional according to the proposal raised here. Therefore, in AG, there can be “sentences without pragmatic constituents”, that is, sentences whose elements, despite having an informational status, are not assigned a specific pragmatic function. More generally, in this article, when the expressions “pragmatic” (or similar: “pragmatically”) and “marked” appear, what is meant is “with a pragmatic function,” and when the expressions “not pragmatic” (or similar) and “unmarked” appear, what is meant is “without pragmatic function”.
26Or more appropriately “cola”; see § 2.2.3.
27For its complexity, this explanation seemed “inadequate” to some scholars (cf. e.g. Matić 2003: 578).
28The reference editions for AG text are Allen (1931) and Allen (1917–1919). The commentaries used are Kirk (1985–1993) for Iliad and Heubeck & Hoekstra (1989) and Heubeck, West & Hainsworth (1990) for Odyssey. The translations quoted in this article belong to Murray (Murray 1919; Murray 1924) and Butler (Butler 1898; Butler 1900).
29As Edwards (2002: 11) notes, based on the important studies of Bakker, particularly Bakker (1990), in the grammatical/linguistic structure of Homeric poems, “not just […] the poet’s following of tradition and routine, but […] the result of his desire to communicate orally with his audience in the most effective way possible” should be recognized.
30Quotations are drawn from Dik (2007) (p. 3, text and n. 3). This is especially true in the case of the meter, about which Dik’s (2007) approach (specifically related to the meter of tragedy) seems particularly acceptable: “The fact that dramatic dialogue is metrical has prompted scholars to approach questions of word order and ‘emphasis’ in terms of metrical structure … If a word is considered emphatic, this is taken to be a consequence of its position in the trimeter line, rather than of its position in the clause (which may or may not coincide with the line)” (2007: 3). According to Dik (2007: 3), this assumption is incorrect: “the clause and not the line should be the unit of analysis”. Nevertheless, she admits that some metrical aspects may also affect AG word order, particularly the emphasis on the beginning of the verse: “In poetry, the line boundary adds an extra opportunity for marking constituents as salient, and an author … to dole out the privilege of initial position … can place one constituent … in line-initial position” (2007: 13; see also pp. 168–224 for a detailed analysis).
31See particularly the previously quoted works of Edwards (2002) and Bakker (since Bakker 1990) and a number of recent studies of Bertrand (e.g. Bertrand 2014).
32See e.g. the previously quoted Viti (2008) based on Homeric and Herodotean data.
33More information on the project and further bibliography is available at https://perseusdl.github.io/treebank_data/.
34August 2017. More specifically, the research was conducted using AGLDT 1 (with Annis interface) and its guidelines (Bamman & Crane, 2008). Currently, a more recent version of AGDT is available (AGDT2), with up-to-date guidelines (https://github.com/PerseusDL/treebank_data/tree/master/AGDT2/guidelines).
35This is the case of the earliest prose authors, particularly of Herodotus, whom she studied.
36More precisely, Dik (1995) selected sentences based on their main-clause predicate for the reasons stated on p. 16. For a similar approach, cf. Panhuis (1982).
37More specifically, she analyzed sentences with the following predicates: στρατεύομαι (Dik 1995: ch. 4), ἄρχω / βασιλεύω (ch. 5), and λέγω (and similar verbs, ch. 6).
38Notably, the examples presented by Dik (in the chapters quoted in n. 37) are characterized by not only the same predicate but also the same arguments (for example, in the case of στρατεύομαι, “the subject and an ἐπί-phrase designating the object of the expedition undertaken”, 1995: 53). Therefore, these examples are analogous not only from a semantic point of view (because the context is the same) but also from the syntactic point of view (because they show the same syntactic constituents, as in the example above [subject, object, and verb]).
39With few differences, cf. n. 41.
40Dik (1995) also based her investigation on three case studies (see n. 37).
41Differently from Dik (1995, 2007), the syntactic analysis was not limited to the arguments of the predicates considered (cf. n. 38); rather, it was more general. On the reasons for this choice, see § 2.2.4.
42More information in Fraenkel (1964a), Fraenkel (1964b), Fraenkel (1965), Stinton (1977), and very recently, Scheppers (2011). Following Fraenkel’s proposal, Wackernagel’s Law is usually applied to cola rather than to sentences (cf. Dik 1995: 36 n. 67).
43Only partially corresponding to Dover’s “prepositive words” (Dover 1960: 13 ff.).
44Not all Complementizers occur in the first position of the sentence. Others, such as γάρ, occur in second position as stated by point a (among “Postpositive words”).
45For information on the AGLDT, cf. Bamman & Crane (2008).
46Moreover, the syntactic analysis allowed me to formulate a hypothesis regarding the order of the pragmatically unmarked constituents (to be confirmed via further research; cf. the Appendix).
47“Syntactic analysis”: as stated above, carried out after a choice of a euphonic and semantic nature.
48Cf. Bamman & Crane (2008). AGLDT’s description is “predominantly informed by two sources: the dependency grammar used by the Prague Dependency Treebank […] (itself based on Sgall et al. […]), and the Latin grammar of Pinkster […]” (Bamman & Crane 2008: 3). The two quoted books are Sgall, Hajićová & Panevová (1986) and Pinkster (1990).
49I abridged the note on complements with respect to the original. The words between the square brackets are mine.
50Subjects, Objects, and Adverbials (and Verbs, which obviously are not taken into account because the constituents that precede them are the focus of the study) are not the only syntactic categories of a clause. For example, in the sentence:

εἰ

δή

τοι

νέῳ

ὧδε

θεοὶ

πομπῆες

ἕπονται

if

verily

2sg.dat

young:dat

so

god:nom.pl

guide:nom.pl

follow:prs.3pl

‘If verily when thou art so young the gods follow thee to be thy guides’ (Od. 3, 376)In addition to some of the previous categories, there is a Complementizer (εἰ) and two Predicatives (νέῳ and πομπῆες). In this research, neither Complementizers nor Predicatives were taken into account. Complementizers were not considered because their position is usually not under discussion (as stated in § 2.2.3, they are fixed in the first or the second position). The complex issues related to Predicatives are deferred to subsequent research.
51Two (or more) constituents belonging to the same category or type (that is, coordinated constituents) were considered as only one.To this general rule, the following exceptions were made.
  1. Constituents not taken into account, even if belonging to different syntactic categories or types:
    • ADVs, unless one was Modal and the other Non-modal (cf. below, point 3).
  2. Constituents taken into account, even if belonging to the same syntactic categories or types:
    • Non-contiguous constituents (cf. below, n. 53, 55).
52In the practical work of analysis, the examples were grouped according to the syntactic order of their three preverbal constituents (sentences beginning with SBJ – ADV – OBJ, sentences beginning with SBJ – OBJ – ADV, etc.: six possibilities). In the case of sentences with more than three constituents preceding the Verb (typically four, as in SBJ – ADV1-OBJ-ADV2—notice that in this case, since there are only three syntactic categories that are taken into account in this contribution [SUBJ, OBJ, ADV], at least one category must appear twice), the two constituents belonging to the same category were analyzed separately (in the preceding example, SBJ – ADV1 – OBJ and SBJ – OBJ – ADV2) and then the two different analyses were compared. The same method of analysis was used in points 2, 3, and 4 below.
53Two coordinate OBJs were taken into account only when they were non-contiguous; see n. 51.
54The behavior of Modal ADVs actually seems to be different from the behavior of all other ADVs. See also Kühner & Gerth 1898–1904: 595 ff. (more information is available in the Appendix.
55Two coordinate ADVs, or two ADVs that were both Modal or Non-modal, were taken into account only when they were non-contiguous, cf. n. 51.
56Devine & Stephens (2000) (and cf. also Devine & Stephens 1994 and Devine & Stephens 2006) distinguishes between two main types of hyperbaton (with adjectives):
  • Y1 hyperbaton (adjective in the first position, e.g. πολλὰ κατέλιπε χρήματα) in which the adjective is in Focus (cf. 45 ff.) and
  • Y2 hyperbaton (noun in first position, e.g. χρήματα κατέλιπε πολλά) in which the noun is the Topic or Focus (cf. 88 ff.).
Nonhead X hyperbata (e.g. πολλὰ ὁ ἄνθρωπος χρήματα κατέλιπε but also χρήματα ὁ ἄνθρωπος πολλὰ κατέλιπε) can be explained by postulating a double Focus (in the example above on πολλά and ὁ ἄνθρωπος, and other explanations are possible; cf. 121 ff.). Hyperbata with genitives and other kinds of hyperbata (cf. 106 ff.) are different.
57A case in which the same word is split up in two parts (e.g. OBJ[first part of the same word] - SBJ - OBJ[second part of the same word]: tmesis) is similar; however, in my examples, this case happens only with Verbs (Verb[first part of the same word] - X - Verb[second part of the same word]), which, as stated in n. 50, were not taken into account:

ἐκ

χροὸς

ἕλκε

δόρυ,

προτὶ

δὲ

φρένες

αὐτῷ

ἕποντο

from

body:gen

draw: impf.3sg

spear:acc.n

along.with

ptc

diaphragm.nom.pl.f

dem.dat.n

follow:impf.3pl

‘(Patroklos) drew the spear from his body, whereon his diaphragm came out along with it’ (Il. 16, 504)

πολλῇσίν

μ᾽

ἄτῃσι

παρὲκ

νόον

ἤγαγεν

Ἕκτωρ

many:dat.pl.f

1sg.dat

infatuate.hope:dat.pl.f

astray

mind:acc

lead:aor.3sg

Hector:nom

‘With many infatuate hopes did Hector lead my wits astray’ (Il. 10, 391)

πρὸς

οἶκον

Πηλῆος:

ἐγὼ

δ᾽

ἐπὶ

μείλια

δώσω

to

house:acc

Peleus:gen

1sg.nom

ptc

furthermore

gift.acc.pl.n

give:fut.1sg

‘to the house of Peleus … and I will furthermore give a dower’ (Il. 9, 147)

κλῦτε,

φίλαι:

πέρι

γάρ

μοι

Ὀλύμπιος

ἄλγε᾽

ἔδωκεν

hear:imp.aor.2pl

friend:voc.pl.f

above

ptc

1sg.dat

Olympian:nom

pain:acc.pl.n

give:aor.3sg

‘Hear me, my friends, for to me the Olympian has given sorrow above (all the women)’ (Od. 4, 722)
58A rather frequent kind of Topic is called “in List” (see Benincà & Poletto 2004: 67 ff.): “let us examine the case of the contrast within a given set, namely the case in which two elements belonging to the same list of already known items are contrasted. We call this particular interpretation ‘List Interpretation’ (LI). In order to be clear, we add a context to our examples:Context: a farm producing a set of goods that are known to the people involved in the conversation.
(47)

a.

La frutta

la

regaliamo,

la verdura

la

vendiamo

the fruit

it

give for free,

the vegetables

it

sell

‘We give fruit for free, while we sell the vegetables’Here the two elements la frutta and la verdura are singled out from a list and attributed different predicates”.
59All of the elements of the sentence are given or new, but only some of them are singled out for special treatment with respect to form, order, and prosodic properties and consequently receive a “pragmatic function” (for more information on this, see n. 25).
60Particularly in ex. 36, the OBJ (Place) exceptionally precedes the OBJ (Person). An explanation could be the emphasis at the beginning of the verse (cf. n. 30).
61As stated in n. 4, optional elements are placed between parentheses: (…).
62See § 2.2.3 above.
63As stated above, all the constituents in a sentence are characterized by an informational status and only some of them by a pragmatic function (n. 25). Non-pragmatic or unmarked constituents are those which, despite having an informational status, are not assigned a particular pragmatic function (n. 25). Non-pragmatic or unmarked order is an order that does not depend on the assignment of pragmatic functions. For example, in English and Italian, the order SBJ – PRED – OBJ, where “the unmarked sentence presents an overlapping of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features of subject-theme-given at the beginning, predicate-theme-new at the end” (Benincà, 1988: 130; the translation is mine. The given/new distinction partially corresponds to the Topicality/Focality distinction; see Dik & Hengeveld, 1997: 312).
64E.g. in English, the difference between the unmarked expression “you should give your book to Paul” and the Topicalized “your book, you should give to Paul (not to Bill)”. The left periphery is only active in the second case. For a detailed analysis of the problem with a number of examples from Romance languages in particular, see Rizzi (1997) (from which I obtained the English examples of this note) and Benincà & Poletto (2004). It should be noted also that similarities between AG and “other Indo-European languages, ancient and modern” seem more natural than similarities between AG and Hungarian (cf. n. 3).
65For an introduction to the cartographic approach, see Cinque & Rizzi (2010) (from which the preceding quotation is drawn, p. 63) and related bibliography (particularly, Cinque 1999). For cross-linguistic studies about the left periphery of the sentence in a cartographic perspective, see in particular Rizzi (1997), Benincà (2001), Benincà & Poletto (2004), and Benincà & Munaro (2011). The pattern of the left periphery proposed by Benincà & Poletto (2004)

[Hang. Topic [Scene Sett.

[Left disl. [List interpr.

[[contr. cp1 adv/obj, [contr.cp2 circ.adv. [Inform. cp]]]

frame

theme

focus

 

is very similar to the pattern proposed for AG in this contribution: the three major fields, Frame, Theme, and Focus are analogous to Setting, Topic, and Focus. For studies of parts of the AG left periphery in a cartographic perspective, cf. in particular Dal Lago (2009) and Vai (2009).
66While based on a different corpus (Herodotus) and devoted to a different subject (the position of clitics), Goldstein’s recent work (2016) addresses a number of issues in common with this contribution. Since his work was published after the first version of this article, Goldstein’s conclusions are not systematically taken into account here (please see the direct reading of the text; this is particularly useful in terms of the treatment of clitics, at pp. 44–118). However, we must note that Goldstein (2016) also stresses the limits of an analysis of AG word order uniquely based on pragmatics (see pp. 35–38; p. 290, where he states at the end of his investigation that “syntactic structure plays a far greater role than that previous work acknowledges”).

References

  • Allen Thomas W. 1917–1919. Homeri Odyssea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Allen Thomas W. 1931. Homeri Ilias. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Bakker Egbert J. 1990. Homeric discourse and enjambement: A cognitive approach. Transactions of the American Philological Association 120: 1–21.

  • Bakker Stephanie. 2009. The noun phrase in ancient Greek: a functional analysis of the order and articulation of NP constituents in Herodotus. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

  • Bamman David & Gregory Crane. 2008. Guidelines for the syntactic annotation of the Ancient Greek dependency treebank. Medford: Tufts Digital Library.

  • Benincà Paola. 1988. L’ordine degli elementi della frase e le costruzioni marcate. In Lorenzo Renzi (ed.) Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione. Vol. 1. Bologna: Il Mulino. 115–195.

  • Benincà Paola. 2001. The position of Topic and Focus in the left periphery. In Guglielmo Cinque & Giampaolo Salvi (eds.) Current Studies in Italian Syntax. Essays offered to Lorenzo Renzi. Amsterdam: Elsevier-North Holland. 39–64.

  • Benincà Paola & Cecilia Poletto. 2004. Topic Focus and V2: defining the CP sublayers. In Luigi Rizzi (ed.) The Structure of CP and IP. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures. Vol. 2. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. 52–76.

  • Benincà Paola & Nicola Munaro. 2011. Mapping the left periphery. The cartography of syntactic structures. Vol. 5. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Bertrand Nicolas. 2014. On tmesis word order and noun incorporation in Homeric Greek. In Annamaria Bartolotta (ed.) The Greek verb: Morphology syntax and semantics. Proceedings of the 8th International meeting on Greek linguistics (Agrigento 01–03 october 2009) 11–30. Louvain-La-Neuve: Peeters.

  • Beschi Fulvio. 2012. Ordine delle parole e struttura sintattica in greco antico: uno studio cartografico alla luce di Thuc. VII 1–10. Padova: Unipress.

  • Butler Samuel (transl.). 1898. The Iliad of Homer. London/New York: Longmans Green.

  • Butler Samuel (transl.). 1900: Homer. The Odyssey. London: Fifield.

  • Celano Giuseppe G.A. 2013. Argument-focus and predicate-focus structure in Ancient Greek: word order and phonology. Studies in Language 37(2): 241–266.

  • Celano Giuseppe G.A. 2014. Word Order. In Georgios K. Giannakis Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek language and linguistics Brill Online http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-ancient-greek-language-and-linguistics/word-order-EAGLLCOM_00000378.

  • Cinque Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Cinque Guglielmo & Luigi Rizzi. 2010. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures. In Bernd Heine Heiko Narrog (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis 51–65. Oxford: Oxford Unversity Press.

  • Dal Lago Nicoletta. 2009. Fenomeni di prolessi (pro)nominale e struttura della periferia sinistra nel greco di Senofonte PhD Dissertation Università di Padova.

  • De Groot Casper. 1981. Sentence intertwining in Hungarian. In A. Machtelt Bolkestein (ed.) Predication and expression in Functional grammar 41–62. London: Academic Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens. 1994. The prosody of Greek speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens. 2000. Discontinuous syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens 2006. Latin word order. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Dik Helma. 1995. Word order in ancient Greek: A pragmatic account of word order variation in Herodotus. Amsterdam: Gieben.

  • Dik Helma. 2007. Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Dik Simon C. & Kees Hengeveld. 1997. The theory of functional grammar: Part I: The structure of the clause. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Dover Kenneth J. 1960. Greek word order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Edwards Mark W. 2002. Sound sense and rhythm: Listening to Greek and Latin poetry. Princton: Princeton University Press.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1964a. Kolon und Satz I. In Eduard Fraenkel Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie. Vol. 1 73–92. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1964b. Kolon und Satz II. In Eduard Fraenkel Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie. Vol. 1 93–130. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1965. Noch einmal Kolon und Satz. Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

  • Friedrich Paul. 1975. Proto-Indo-European syntax (Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph 1). Butte MT: Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.

  • Goldstein David. 2016. Classical Greek syntax: Wackernagel’s Law in Herodotus. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

  • Haegeman Liliane. 2000. Inversion non-adjacent-inversion and adjuncts in CP. Transactions of the Philological Society 98. 121–160.

  • Heubeck Alfred & Arie Hoekstra. 1989. Odyssey: 9–16 Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Heubeck Alfred Stephanie West & John B. Hainsworth. 1990. Odyssey: 1–8 Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kirk Geoffrey S. 1985–1993. The Iliad: A Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kühner Raphael & Bernhard Gerth. 1898–1904. Ausführliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache. II: Satzlehre. Hannover/Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung.

  • Liddell Henry G. & Robert Scott. 1940. A Greek – English lexicon. Ninth edition revised and augmented throughout. Oxford: Clarendon.

  • Mastronarde Donald J. 2013. Word order in Ancient Greek (especially Attic Prose). Tutorial (http://atticgreek.org/downloads/WordOrder.pdf) created by Donald J. Mastronarde as complementary content for use with Donald J. Mastronarde Introduction to Attic Greek Second Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Matić Dejan. 2003. Topic Focus and discourse structure. Ancient Greek word order. Studies in Language 27: 573–633.

  • Murray Augustus T. (transl.). 1919. Homer. The Odyssey. London/New York: Heinemann/Putnam.

  • Murray Augustus T. (transl.). 1924. Homer. The Iliad. London/New York: Heinemann/Putnam.

  • Panhuis Dirk. 1982. The communicative perspective in the sentence. A study of Latin word order. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Pinkster Harm. 1990. Latin syntax and semantics. London: Routledge.

  • Rizzi Luigi. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In Liliane Haegeman (ed.) Elements of grammar: handbook of generative syntax 281–337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Scheppers Frank. 2011. The colon hypothesis: Word order discourse segmentation and discourse coherence in Ancient Greek. Brussels: VUB Press.

  • Sgall Petr Eva Hajićová & Jarmila Panevová. 1986. The meaning of the sentence in its semantic and pragmatic aspects. Dordrecht: Reidel.

  • Stinton Tom C.W. 1977. Pause and period in the lyrics of Greek tragedy. Classical Quarterly 27: 27–66.

  • Vai Massimo. 2009. Annotazioni sulla periferia sinistra nel greco omerico. Atti del Sodalizio glottologico milanese III. 53–68.

  • Viti Carlotta. 2008. Genitive word order in Ancient Greek: A functional analysis of word order freedom in the noun phrase. Glotta 84: 203–238.

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Sections
References
  • Allen Thomas W. 1917–1919. Homeri Odyssea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Allen Thomas W. 1931. Homeri Ilias. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Bakker Egbert J. 1990. Homeric discourse and enjambement: A cognitive approach. Transactions of the American Philological Association 120: 1–21.

  • Bakker Stephanie. 2009. The noun phrase in ancient Greek: a functional analysis of the order and articulation of NP constituents in Herodotus. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

  • Bamman David & Gregory Crane. 2008. Guidelines for the syntactic annotation of the Ancient Greek dependency treebank. Medford: Tufts Digital Library.

  • Benincà Paola. 1988. L’ordine degli elementi della frase e le costruzioni marcate. In Lorenzo Renzi (ed.) Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione. Vol. 1. Bologna: Il Mulino. 115–195.

  • Benincà Paola. 2001. The position of Topic and Focus in the left periphery. In Guglielmo Cinque & Giampaolo Salvi (eds.) Current Studies in Italian Syntax. Essays offered to Lorenzo Renzi. Amsterdam: Elsevier-North Holland. 39–64.

  • Benincà Paola & Cecilia Poletto. 2004. Topic Focus and V2: defining the CP sublayers. In Luigi Rizzi (ed.) The Structure of CP and IP. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures. Vol. 2. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. 52–76.

  • Benincà Paola & Nicola Munaro. 2011. Mapping the left periphery. The cartography of syntactic structures. Vol. 5. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Bertrand Nicolas. 2014. On tmesis word order and noun incorporation in Homeric Greek. In Annamaria Bartolotta (ed.) The Greek verb: Morphology syntax and semantics. Proceedings of the 8th International meeting on Greek linguistics (Agrigento 01–03 october 2009) 11–30. Louvain-La-Neuve: Peeters.

  • Beschi Fulvio. 2012. Ordine delle parole e struttura sintattica in greco antico: uno studio cartografico alla luce di Thuc. VII 1–10. Padova: Unipress.

  • Butler Samuel (transl.). 1898. The Iliad of Homer. London/New York: Longmans Green.

  • Butler Samuel (transl.). 1900: Homer. The Odyssey. London: Fifield.

  • Celano Giuseppe G.A. 2013. Argument-focus and predicate-focus structure in Ancient Greek: word order and phonology. Studies in Language 37(2): 241–266.

  • Celano Giuseppe G.A. 2014. Word Order. In Georgios K. Giannakis Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek language and linguistics Brill Online http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-ancient-greek-language-and-linguistics/word-order-EAGLLCOM_00000378.

  • Cinque Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Cinque Guglielmo & Luigi Rizzi. 2010. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures. In Bernd Heine Heiko Narrog (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis 51–65. Oxford: Oxford Unversity Press.

  • Dal Lago Nicoletta. 2009. Fenomeni di prolessi (pro)nominale e struttura della periferia sinistra nel greco di Senofonte PhD Dissertation Università di Padova.

  • De Groot Casper. 1981. Sentence intertwining in Hungarian. In A. Machtelt Bolkestein (ed.) Predication and expression in Functional grammar 41–62. London: Academic Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens. 1994. The prosody of Greek speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens. 2000. Discontinuous syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Devine Andrew M. & Laurence D. Stephens 2006. Latin word order. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Dik Helma. 1995. Word order in ancient Greek: A pragmatic account of word order variation in Herodotus. Amsterdam: Gieben.

  • Dik Helma. 2007. Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Dik Simon C. & Kees Hengeveld. 1997. The theory of functional grammar: Part I: The structure of the clause. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Dover Kenneth J. 1960. Greek word order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Edwards Mark W. 2002. Sound sense and rhythm: Listening to Greek and Latin poetry. Princton: Princeton University Press.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1964a. Kolon und Satz I. In Eduard Fraenkel Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie. Vol. 1 73–92. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1964b. Kolon und Satz II. In Eduard Fraenkel Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie. Vol. 1 93–130. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.

  • Fraenkel Eduard. 1965. Noch einmal Kolon und Satz. Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

  • Friedrich Paul. 1975. Proto-Indo-European syntax (Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph 1). Butte MT: Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.

  • Goldstein David. 2016. Classical Greek syntax: Wackernagel’s Law in Herodotus. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

  • Haegeman Liliane. 2000. Inversion non-adjacent-inversion and adjuncts in CP. Transactions of the Philological Society 98. 121–160.

  • Heubeck Alfred & Arie Hoekstra. 1989. Odyssey: 9–16 Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Heubeck Alfred Stephanie West & John B. Hainsworth. 1990. Odyssey: 1–8 Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kirk Geoffrey S. 1985–1993. The Iliad: A Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kühner Raphael & Bernhard Gerth. 1898–1904. Ausführliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache. II: Satzlehre. Hannover/Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung.

  • Liddell Henry G. & Robert Scott. 1940. A Greek – English lexicon. Ninth edition revised and augmented throughout. Oxford: Clarendon.

  • Mastronarde Donald J. 2013. Word order in Ancient Greek (especially Attic Prose). Tutorial (http://atticgreek.org/downloads/WordOrder.pdf) created by Donald J. Mastronarde as complementary content for use with Donald J. Mastronarde Introduction to Attic Greek Second Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Matić Dejan. 2003. Topic Focus and discourse structure. Ancient Greek word order. Studies in Language 27: 573–633.

  • Murray Augustus T. (transl.). 1919. Homer. The Odyssey. London/New York: Heinemann/Putnam.

  • Murray Augustus T. (transl.). 1924. Homer. The Iliad. London/New York: Heinemann/Putnam.

  • Panhuis Dirk. 1982. The communicative perspective in the sentence. A study of Latin word order. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Pinkster Harm. 1990. Latin syntax and semantics. London: Routledge.

  • Rizzi Luigi. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In Liliane Haegeman (ed.) Elements of grammar: handbook of generative syntax 281–337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Scheppers Frank. 2011. The colon hypothesis: Word order discourse segmentation and discourse coherence in Ancient Greek. Brussels: VUB Press.

  • Sgall Petr Eva Hajićová & Jarmila Panevová. 1986. The meaning of the sentence in its semantic and pragmatic aspects. Dordrecht: Reidel.

  • Stinton Tom C.W. 1977. Pause and period in the lyrics of Greek tragedy. Classical Quarterly 27: 27–66.

  • Vai Massimo. 2009. Annotazioni sulla periferia sinistra nel greco omerico. Atti del Sodalizio glottologico milanese III. 53–68.

  • Viti Carlotta. 2008. Genitive word order in Ancient Greek: A functional analysis of word order freedom in the noun phrase. Glotta 84: 203–238.

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