As we approach the 20th year of publication for Journal of Greek Linguistics—just one year to go to that milestone—we bring to you, our readers, in this issue three articles with contents that for us are not at all atypical: two articles on Ancient Greek and one on Modern Greek, in this case all focusing, as it happens, on matters of syntax and/or semantics.
The one on Modern Greek, “Adjective-Noun combinations in Romance and Greek of Southern Italy. Polydefiniteness revisited” by Cristina Guardiano and Melita Stavrou, takes a very detailed look at the phenomenon of polydefiniteness in nominal syntax and semantics in Greek in general, including Standard Modern Greek, but in particular in the Modern Greek dialects of Southern Italy, with an eye to whether they have been affected by contact with Romance varieties.
The two other articles are on Ancient Greek but employ very modern methodology. Francesco Mambrini’s “Nominal vs copular clauses in a diachronic corpus of Ancient Greek historians. A treebank-based analysis” shows the value of using treebanks. Treebanks are a computational tool that has only recently become available for Ancient Greek. By encoding the syntactic structure of texts in a corpus, they facilitate quantitative investigations of syntax and expose the source data in a way that make corpus studies of syntax more replicable and empirically more solid. Ezra la Roi, in his “Epistemic Modality, Particles and the Potential Optative in Classical Greek” applies the analytic framework of Functional Grammar (Dik 1997) and Functional Discourse Grammar (Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008) to the long-standing problem of the semantics of the optative mood in Ancient Greek.
Together, these three papers show the value of fine-grained syntactic and semantic analysis, whether using new tools or new frameworks, as a way of advancing our understanding of the Greek language, ancient or modern, standard or dialectal. They constitute a fine beginning to the new year for the journal.
Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph, and Anna Roussou
31 May 2019