Greek χρόνος and its origin: An old etymological puzzle in Indo-European perspective

Ghent University

The Ancient Greek word for time, χρόνος, is qualified by all etymological dictionaries as etymologically unclear (Chantraine 1968: 1277f.; Beekes 2010: 1651f.). None of the proposed connections (such as the comparison χρόνος ~ χόρτος ‘enclosure, court’, supposedly derived from Proto-Indo-European *ǵher- ‘seize, grasp’; thus, χρόνος ‘time’ is explained as ‘seizer; encompassing time-limit’) appears plausible (see Beekes 2010, ibid.; LIV 177).

            I argue that this word can be satisfactorily explained on account of comparison with two other words in -όνο-ς, θρ-όνο-ς ‘seat, chair’ and κλ-όνο-ς ‘excitement, throng’ (thus, for instance, Porzig 1942: 346). Assuming that all these words contain the rare nominal suffix ‑όνο- (accordingly, θρ‑όνο-ς is analyzed as a derivative of *θερ- < PIE *dher- ‘fix, hold’ etc.), χρόνος can further be explained as a derivative of the verbal root contained in the present χρῑ́ω ‘(be)smear, anoint’. This verb, which has no plausible etymology (Beekes (2010: 1651): “a convincing outer-Greek connection does not exist”), can readily be compared with Vedic ghr̥-, pres. jíghar- with very similar meaning, ‘(be)sprinkle, drip’, and likewise etymologically unclear (Mayrhofer 1986-1996: 512f.; LIV 197). The Proto-Indo-European etymon that can underlie both Greek and Old Indo-Aryan formations is reconstructable as *g(w)her-, and χρῑ́ω can be analyzed as a -e/o-present of this root, directly comparable to Vedic ghriyate ‘drips’ (attested in the Yajurveda; see Kulikov 2012: 86-88). The nominal χρόνος can accordingly be explained as a nominal derivative of the root χρ-, thus meaning ‘(be)smearing, anointing’.

            The origin of the meaning ‘time’ can be accounted for in the context of the common Indo-European metaphorical representation of time either as a wheel (cf. Ved. kālá- ‘time’, probably a derivative of the root *kwel(H)- ‘move (around)’, the same root underlies Gr. κύκλος, Ved. cakrá- ‘wheel’, etc.; Old Church Slavonic vrěmę ‘time’ < *ert-men- ‘turning’), or as river, flow which anoints immovable objects. Cf. the description of Time, deified as a primordial god, in one of the earliest cosmological texts of the Indo-European tradition, the Kālasūkta (Hymn to Time) of the Atharvaveda (c. 1000 BCE), in verse 19.53.2 in the Śaunakīya recension = 11.8.2 in the Paippalāda): sá imā́ víśvā bhúvanāniy +añján ' kāláḥ sá īyate prathamó nú deváḥ ‘anointing (i.e. flowing around) all these beings, it, that Time, speeds, the primordial god.’ A continuation of the metaphor of a substance flowing around all beings and objects occurs in AV-Śaun. 19.53.4 = AV-Paipp. 11.8.4: sá evá +sán bhúvanāni páriy ait ‘verily, it (= Time), being like that (?), went around beings’.

The image of a river of time flowing around the world is not uncommon in Greek mythology, cf. Oceanus (Ὠκεανός), an enormous river encircling the world, described by Homer as ἀψόρροος ‘flowing back into itself, circular’; and the river of oblivion Lethe (Λήθη).

            Accordingly, χρόνος (originally meaning ‘anointing, flowing around’ or the like) can be explained as the stream or river of Time flowing around all beings and objects and thus receives a plausible Indo-European etymology.


Beekes, Robert. 2010. Etymological dictionary of Greek. With the assistance of Lucien van Beek (Leiden Indo-European etymological dictionary series 10). Leiden: Brill.

Chantraine, Pierre. 1968 Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque: Histoire des mots. Paris: Klincksieck.

Kulikov, Leonid. 2012. The Vedic -ya-presents: Passives and intransitivity in Old Indo-Aryan (Leiden Studies in Indo-European; 19). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

LIV = Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben. Die Wurzeln und ihre Primärstammbildungen. Unter Leitung von Helmut Rix und der Mitarbeit vieler anderen bearbeitet von Martin Kümmel, Thomas Zehnder, …. 2., erw. und verb. Aufl., bearbeitet von Martin Kümmel und Helmut Rix. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2001.

Mayrhofer, Manfred. 1986-1996. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen. Bd. I-II. Heidelberg: Winter.

Porzig, Walter. 1942. Die Namen für Satzinhalte im Griechischen und im Indogermanischen. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Greek calques and loanwords in Classical Armenian

University of Cologne, Germany

Despite recent interest in language contact and bi- or multilingualism in ancient societies (cf. e.g. Adams 2003, Adams et al. 2005, Biville 2008, Tribulato 2012), Graeco-Armenian language contact has largely remained out of focus. Beside Greek inscriptions in the area of ancient Armenia (cf. Mahé 1994/1996), direct and indirect loanwords in Armenian provide evidence for contact between these two languages (cf. Brockelmann 1893, Hübschmann 1897: 322-391, Thumb 1900, Olsen 1999: 921-930). The paper will discuss the influence of Greek on Classical Armenian on the lexical and phrasemic level outside the works of the socalled “hellenizing school” of translations of Classical Greek grammar (Dionysios Thrax), philosophy (Aristotle, Porphyrios etc.) and patristics (treated in Muradyan 2012): A number of direct Greek loanwords betray various diachronic stages (and maybe diatopic differences) of Greek phonology, e.g. akowmit < ἀκοίμητος with /i/ ~ η, but kêt with /e/ ~ κῆτος, while others entered Armenian via Iranian (Parthian) mediation, e.g. drak‘mê taken directly from Greek δραχμή vs. dram < from Manichaean Middle Persian drahm (cf. Benveniste 1964, Bolognesi 1960, 1966). Vice versa, Greek probably served as an intermediate donor language for Latin words like Caesar (Arm. kaysr), scutella (skutł, cf. Gk. σκουτέλλιον [PLond. 2.191.10, ii A.D.]) and candela (Arm. kantʻeł, cf. κανδήλη [Ath.]). The study of Greek and Latin loan-words in Armenian may shed light on the internal variation and development of these two languages. Beside loanwords, it was especially in the ecclesiastic language that calques were formed in Armenian, e.g. vičak ‘inheritance, share’ and ‘clergyʼ after the model of Greek κλῆρος ‘inheritance, share; priest/clergyʼ, but cf. also an-as-own ‘animal’, derived from as-em ‘say, speak’, i.e. ‘not speaking’, which may be built after Greek ἄλογον ‘animal (*not-speaking/without reason)’ (cf. τὰ ἄλογα ‘animals’ Democr. 164), usually ‘horse’ in later Greek. Similar to the phonological features, the semantics of loanwords may be useful in narrowing down the diachrony of semantic change in the donor language. Finally, the paper will look at possible evidence for Greek influence on Armenian beyond the lexical level, especially in terms of morphosyntax and phraseology (cf. e.g. Topchyan 1999 on possible Greek syntactic features in Movsês Xorenacʻi).


Adams, James N. (2003). Bilingualism and the Latin Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Adams, James N., Mark Janse, and Simon Swain. (2005). Bilingualism in Ancient Society. Language Contact and the Written Word. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Benveniste, Émile. (1964). “Éléments parthes en Arménien.” REArm, 1, 1-39.

Biville, Frédérique, ed. (2008). Bilinguisme Gréco-Latin et Épigraphie. Lyon: Université Lumière Lyon 2. Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée.

Bolognesi, Giancarlo. (1960). Le fonti dialettali degli imprestiti iranici in armeno. Milano: Vita e pensiero.

Bolognesi, Giancarlo. (1966). “La tradizione culturale Armena nelle sue relazioni col mondo Persiano e col mondo Greco-Romano.” In La Persia e il mondo greco-romano (pp. 567-603). Roma: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Brockelmann, Carl. 1893. ‘Die griechischen Fremdwörter im Armenischen’. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 47: 1–42.

Hübschmann, Heinrich. (1897). Armenische Etymologie. 4., unveränd. Nachdr. Hildesheim 1992. Leipzig: Olms.

Mahé, Jean-Pierre. (1994). “Moïse de Khorène et les inscriptions grecques d'Armawir.” Topoi : Orient-Occident, 4, 567-586.

Mahé, Jean.-Pierre. (1996). “Le site arménien d'Armawir: d'Ourartou à l'époque hellénistique.” Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 140(4), 1279-1314.

Muradyan, Gohar. (2012). Grecisms in ancient Armenian. Leuven: Peeters.

Olsen, Birgit Anette. (1999). The noun in Biblical Armenian : origin and word formation ; with special emphasis on the Indo-European heritage. Berlin ; New York: De Gruyter.

Thumb, Albert. (1900). “Die griechischen Lehnwörter im Armenischen. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Κοινή und des Mittelgriechischen.”, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 9(2), 388-452.

Topchyan, Aram. (2001). “Les hellénismes dans l’Histoire de Moise de Khorène”. In Slovo Vol. 26-27. Actes du Sixième Colloque international de Linguistique arménienne. INALCO - Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres - 5-9 juillet 1999, ed. by Anaid Donabédian and Agnès Ouzounian, 73–82. Paris.

Tribulato, Olga, ed. (2012). Language and Linguistic Contact in Ancient Sicily. Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The Variation of Classical Greek Wishes: a Functional Discourse Grammar and Common Ground Approach

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Realizable Classical Greek wishes (optative mood) display important yet unexplained variation with several particles. On the one hand, they combine with ἦ and ἄρα which specify a subjective semantics. On the other hand, they can but need not be marked by εἴθε and εἰ γάρ in contrast to obligatorily marked unrealizable (‘counterfactual’) wishes (secondary indicative). To explain this variation, I introduce a layered approach with Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG, Hengeveld and Mackenzie 2008,) and subsequently relate the cupitive optative’s values to Common Ground knowledge (cf. Allan and Van Gils forthc). I believe that examining this variation will significantly improve our understanding of wish illocutions.

            The cupitive optative, as I argue, has a semantic value and a pragmatic illocutionary value. Realizable wishes are usually characterized as a weaker form of the imperative and in all its values as deontic (Crespo 1992, 282 and Crespo et al. 2003, 293-297), even though deontic is primarily a semantic label. I will suggest that wishes are better interpreted as semantically epistemic, because they express an epistemically realizable state of affairs (Schwyzer and Debrunner 1950, 321 and Revuelta Puigdollers 2005). Using FDG I will distinguish an epistemic semantic core for the cupitive optative, which, unlike a deontic approach, can explain its occurrence with the particles ἦ and ἄρα. These particles modify or, in FDG terms, scope over the optative’s epistemic value.

            The alleged ‘deontic’ value of realizable wishes results from the affinity of their illocutionary value with both expressive and directive speech acts (Risselada 1993, 37-45 and Denizot 2011, 93). Their main illocutionary value is expressive to the degree that realizable wishes express the speaker’s psychological commitment to the occurrence of a realizable state of affairs. Thus, they only have an implicit directive side-effect in that addressees may interpret wishes as a directive if the utterer has some type of power over them. This description better explains the pragmatic functions of wishes and their frequent co-occurrence with expressive discourse acts such as νὴ Δία.

Although Schwyzer and Debrunner 1950, 321 claim that the cupitive optative only rarely occurs without εἴθε and εἰ γάρ, the cupitive optative with εἴθ(ε) actually occurs 5 times less often than the cupitive optative on its own in Aristophanes and Euripides and εἰ γάρ even 10 times less often. I will argue that εἴθ(ε) codes a contextually necessary pragmatic value: the speaker’s current psychological commitment to the wish. That commitment has not been sufficiently established in the interlocutors’ Common Ground, which contains ‘the sum of [interlocutors’] mutual, common, or joint knowledge, beliefs, and suppositions’ (Clark 1996, 96). Speakers use the optative without εἴθε (and possibly εἰ γάρ) when their interlocutor(s) can be assumed to know their psychological commitment. They add εἴθε (or possibly εἰ γάρ) when their current psychological commitment cannot be assumed to be known, for example when the speaker changed his mind or the addressee was absent when the speaker expressed his psychological commitment.

Allan, R.J. 2015. Classifying the Ancient Greek Particles. Particle Meaning, Diachrony and the Layered Structure of Discourse.

Allan, R.J. and L.W. Van Gils. Forthc. Adversative Particles in Greek and Latin: A Comparison.

Clark, H. 1996. Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crespo, E., L. Conti and H. Maquieira. 2003. Syntaxis del Griego Clásico. Madrid: Gredos.

Crespo, E. 1992. Syntaxis y Semántica de las Formas Modales en Griego Clásico, Revista Española de Lingüística 22/2, 277-307.

Denizot, C. 2011. Donner des Ordres en Grec Ancien. Rouen, Publications des universités de Rouen et du Havre.

Hengeveld, K. & J.L. Mackenzie. 2008. Functional Discourse Grammar. A typologically based theory of language structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Revuelta Puigdollers, A. 2005. Modo y Modalidad en Griego Antiguo. La Negacion. In M. Dolores Jiménez López (ed.) Sintaxis Griega, 1-27.

Risselada, R. 1993. Imperatives and Other Directive Expressions in Latin: a study in the Pragmatics of a Dead Language. Amsterdam: Gieben.

Schwyzer, Ed. & A. Debrunner. 1950. Griechische Grammatik. 2. Band, Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.

Degrés et nuances de l'acquiescement dans les dialogues de Platon


Frédéric Lambert

CLLE ERSSàB, UMR 5263 CNRS, Univ. Bordeaux Montaigne, F-33607 Pessac, France


Dans le domaine des contacts de langues, il y a très peu de chance que l'anglais parlé aux Etats-Unis ait influencé la langue grecque de l'époque classique. Si l'étymologie de l'expression OK, apparue semble-t-il vers 1839-1840, comme abréviation de "Oll Korrect", déformation graphique de "all right", est exacte1, elle rend absolument impossible un emprunt par l'un quelconque des dialectes du grec ancien. Mais deux points méritent d'attirer notre attention. Le premier c'est la généralisation de l'emprunt de cette expression à un très grand nombre de langues modernes, surtout après la seconde guerre mondiale. Cela suggère que OK joue un rôle essentiel dans l'échange linguistique et que ce rôle est difficilement comblé par les ressources propres des différentes langues. Le second point consiste dans le fait (qui peut être une explication du premier) que OK renvoie à une grande variété d'expression de l'accord, au sens pragmatique d'un des buts poursuivis par toute conversation humaine. A défaut de s'interroger sur la présence de OK dans les textes grecs de l'Antiquité, on peut donc étudier les différents procédés qui lui correspondent.

            De ce point de vue, certains dialogues de Platon constituent un corpus particulièrement pertinent car les locuteurs qui mènent la discussion, comme le Socrate du Gorgias, non seulement requièrent, et parfois avec insistance, l'accord de l'interlocuteur, mais ils l'obtiennent le plus souvent (même si parfois c'est au prix d'une certaine résistance). Je n'ai pas l'impression que cette exigence d'accord et son corollaire, c'est-à-dire un certain confinement du rôle de l'interlocuteur à exprimer, d'une façon qui peut paraître monotone et artificielle, son accord, ait beaucoup attiré l'œil des commentateurs ni des études linguistiques2. Or les formulations de l'accord sont moins monotones qu'il ne semble, surtout du fait qu'elles varient en degré, depuis un apparent assentiment total (ναί, πάνυ γε, par exemple), jusqu'au constat de l'apparence (φαίνεται), ou le refus de s'engager (ἔστω). Il est notable que la vigilance des traducteurs s'est parfois laissée prendre par l'apparente monotonie de ces accords répétitifs et qu'ils ne rendent pas toujours toutes les nuances de ces "accords" qui n'en sont pas toujours. Ce n'est d'ailleurs pas parce que l'interlocuteur de Socrate ou d'un autre meneur de jeu exprime son accord total qu'il n'y a pas à l'occasion une position d'attente: l'accord consiste alors à une forme de trêve invitant l'auteur du raisonnement principal à poursuivre. Cette étonnante ambigüité de l'accord et la diversité des nuances à la fois sémantique et pragmatique qui le caractérise se retrouve en fait dans les usages de la simple expression OK. En ce sens, s'interroger sur cette diversité est une question de linguistique générale. Notre étude s'appuiera principalement sur les dialogues les plus "dialogués" de l'œuvre de Platon et notre objectif consistera à établir une typologie des expressions de l'accord, tant sur le plan des formes employées que sur celui des valeurs à la fois sémantiques et pragmatiques (en contexte).



Brémond, Capucine  (2004)  "La petite marque bon, l'indice d'un accord en cours de négociation",  Travaux de linguistique (Gent), 48, 14 p, 7-19

Condon Sherri L. (2001) "Discourse ok revisited: Default organization in verbal interaction", Journal of Pragmatics 33, 491-513

Cossutta, F. et Narcy, M. (2001), La forme dialogue chez Platon, Evolution et réceptions, Grenoble, Jérôme Millon

Gill, Christopher (2002), "Dialectic and the Dialogue Form", in Annas Julia and Rowe Christopher, New Perspectives on Plato, Modern and Ancient, Center for Hellenic Studies Trusteees  for Harvard University, 145-171, Cambridge, Harvard University Press

Sicking, CMJ (1997), "Particles in questions in Plato", in Rijksbaron Albert, New approaches to Greek particles, Gieben, Amsterdam 157-174

Thomsen C. (2002), « Oui : il y a oui et oui – marqueurs de la syntaxe conversationnelle », in Andersen, Hanne Leth & Nølke, Henning (éds), Macro-syntaxe et macro-sémantique. Actes du colloque international d’Århus, 17-19 mai 2001, Berne, Peter Lang, pp. 189-206.

Wakker, G. (1997), "Emphasis and affirmation", in Rijksbaron Albert, New approaches to Greek particles, Gieben, Amsterdam 209-231

1Cf. le DHLF d'A. Rey, article O.K.

2C'est ainsi que Sicking (1997) étudie les particules dans les questions chez Platon sans s'intéresser aux "plates" réponses.

Oblique optative and inferential evidentiality in Homer

University of Murcia

The oblique optative is a modal use that resists a simple explanation, since the only clear rule is that it is the formal sing that the cause depends on a past tense main verb (Goodwin 1889: 5; Rijksbaron 2006: 53), although this rule has some exceptions. This has also been defined as a “chameleon” mode, since it is devoid of the modality expressed by other uses of the optative, so it would be a use almost entirely “démodalisé” (Duhoux 2000: 231). Willmott (2007:163) considers the optative as an “intrinsically timeless” mode, allowing it to be used in a variety of contexts. Chantraine (1963: 223) points out that this optative expresses “plus ou moins vaguement un procès qui peut se réaliser ou que l’on souhaite”, with which we would be before a syncretic use of the two realizations of the state of affairs presented by the optative as desirable and possible. Moreover, the use of oblique optative in classical era is broader than in Homer, so this leads us to think of a process of grammaticalization, with the loss of the referential use of the optative, that would have a grammatical function in certain contexts.

In this paper we focus on the study of a series of texts of the Homeric corpus in which, following Van der Auwera & Plungian (1998: 85), it is possible to propose for these oblique optatives the overlap between the epistemic necessity modality, since the optative would present an assertion based on the non-absolute certainty of what is said, and the inferential evidentiality, since what is indicated is based on the speaker’s evaluation of previous information. Consequently, the oblique optative would not be a mere substitute for other modal uses or a mere mark of subordination, at least in Homer, but rather it would be used as a mark of inferential evidentiality. We consider to what extent it is possible to speak of a consecutio modorum in regard to the use of the oblique optative in Homer.

Chantraine 1963 = P. Chantraine, Grammaire homérique. Tome II. Syntaxe, Paris 1963.

Duhoux 2000 = Y. Duhoux, Le verbe grec ancien. Éléments de morphologie et de syntaxe historiques, Louvain-la-Neuve 2000.

Goodwin 1889 = W. W. Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of Greek Verb, London 1889.

Rijksbaron 2006 = A. Rijksbaron, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek. An Introduction, Chicago & London 2006.

Van der Auwera & Plungian 1998 = J. Van der Auwera & Vl. Plungian, “Modality's semantic map”, Linguistic Typology 2, 1998, 79-124.

Willmott 2007= J. Willmott, The Moods of Homeric Greek, Cambridge 2007.

Competing verb stems as variables: the case of the perfect stem of γίγνομαι in Attic Greek.

Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge

In Classical Attic, we witness the competition between two stems of the perfect of the verb γίγνομαι: γεγον-, inherited from the Indo-European, and a more recently developed γεγενη-.The co-existence of these two stems in our texts has not yet been systematically documented or studied. Both stems are vibrant in Aristophanes, but γεγον- is hugely dominant by the time of Menander. The choice of stems not only in comedy, but in oratory, history and tragedy seems chaotic. Yet, for all its presence in many Attic texts of the fifth and fourth centuries, γεγενη- fails to replace the older stem in the longer term; it is a change in process that seems not to complete. Can we make sense of these data? When and why is one stem chosen over the other? These questions may open up more knowledge about Attic texts, their authors and the dialect more generally.

For the first time in this paper, I use statistical and corpus-based methods to answer these questions and combine both the epigraphic and the literary evidence.
Gathering statistical data on each stem’s usage in a variety of Attic authors and corpora, I attempt to discern the semantic and syntactic motivations in stem choice. Marrying this statistical analysis to close reading and variational analysis of particular passages which may be stylistically or pragmatically marked (following the methodology of Willi (2003)), I discuss the social identity which was attached to use of one stem or the other. I attempt to answer the question not only of what the rules were for ‘Classical Attic Greek’ but what the patterns of usage of these stems were in different genres and registers and what this reflects about the usage in speech of the period. I proceed then to analyse the diachronic change in stem-usage, revealing a marked contrast between the late fifth and late fourth centuries BC.

            I argue that the finiteness of the verb form is key to understanding the patterns we see in different texts, but also that the relationship in stem-usage between different genres changes, with similarities between oratory and comedy in the fifth and early fourth centuries, and stark divergences by the end of the fourth.

By combining statistical study of corpora with close reading and existing research on the style and sociolinguistics of these texts, I present an overall micro-history of this feature, charting its place in the sociolinguistic landscape over this period of Attic. I argue further that by extending such a quantitative-based methodology to other linguistic phenomena, we may be able to combine these various micro-histories into a more thorough understand`ing of the processes of linguistic change in Classical Attic and perhaps more generally. It will, too, provide us with greater insight into in the broader sociolinguistic landscape of Classical Attic and into the choices individual authors made in our texts, even in prose whose linguistic features remain under-studied. It is an exciting opportunity for scholars of Ancient Greek.


Willi, A. (2003). The languages of Aristophanes : aspects of linguistic variation in Classical Attic Greek. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Expressions of commitment in Greek aggressive magic: a case of transfer of formulae?

Università degli Studi di Firenze

Texts of aggressive magic – i.e. defixiones or curse tablets, intended to influence the actions or the welfare of persons or animals (see Faraone 1991), and prayers for justice (see Versnel 1991), a request of revenge for a manifested guilt – provide a means of binding enemies. These texts are present all over the ancient world and belong to various linguistic traditions – Greek, Latin but also Oscan, Etruscan. The most ancient texts in Greek have been found in Greece or in Greek colonies, mostly in Sicily, and can be dated to the 5th cent. BC.; the most ancient in Latin to the 2nd cent. BC.

Defixiones can consist of names only or – as with prayers for justice – of more complex formulae; the most common cursing verb in Greek texts is καταδῶ, with reference to the sympathetic association between physical and linguistic phases of the rite; other verbs belong to different types of association, as καταγράφω, ἀνιερόω, κατατίθημι, παραδίδωμι, etc.: they “shift responsibility for the binding to the divine sphere” (Faraone 1991: 5) by registering the victims before the god(s) (καταγράφω), dedicating (ἀνιερόω) or committing them to the deities (κατατίθημι, παραδίδωμι). The idea of commitment is also expressed in Latin ((de)mando, (com)mando, delego, trado) especially in prayers for justice, where an individual who suffered an injustice and had turned to the authorities in vain, consigns to the god(s) the person believed to be guilty.

A survey of DT and DTA, together with a survey of other epigraphic texts (Jordan 1985a, 1985b, 2000; Lazzarini 1994; SEG XXX among others), has shown that verbs of commitment are employed in Greek with a lower frequency than in Italic languages – the other verbs of judicial prayers being ἀνιερόω, ἀνατίθημι, ἀνιαρίζω etc. – and that they are used both in prayers of justice and in defixiones.

Our research has shown that the use of these verbs in Greek texts increases starting from the 3rd cent. AD. The documentation suggests that this increase could be due to the model provided by the Latin textuality, where these verbs have a certain frequency. Moreover, we can propose as working hypothesis an Oscan origin of the use of commitment verbs in texts of aggressive magic: the idea of commitment (manafum) is attested in a very early text (dated 4th cent. BC), that could also be interpreted as a prayer for justice. This is in accord with Poccetti (1993), who believes that aggressive magic texts have been inherited by Latin from Oscan, since Latin magic lexicon is traditionally connected to orality (incantare, carmen). Thus, it can be argued that verbs meaning ‘to commit’ in defixiones/prayers for justice would have been “transferred” from Oscan to Latin tradition. With the progressive growth of the Roman empire, their use would have increased in Greek texts too.

Selected references

Adams G.W. 2006. The Social and Cultural Implications of Curse Tablets [Defixiones] in Britain and on the Continent, Studia Humaniora Tartuensia, 7A, no. 5, pp.1-15 [ (accessed January 2018)].

Adams J.N. 2003. Bilingualism and the Latin Language, Cambridge, CUP.

D’Amore L. 1997. Breve nota ad una defixio greca da Locri Epizefiri, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 117, pp. 95-98.

DT = Audollent A. 1904. Defixionum Tabellae, Luteciae Parisiorum.

DTA = Wünsch R. 1897. Defixionum Tabellas in Attica regione repertas (IG III 3), Berlin.

Faraone C. 1991. The agonistic context of Early Greek binding spells, in C. Faraone - D. Obbink (eds.), Magika Hierà: Ancient Greek magic and religion, New York – London, OUP, pp. 3-32.

Jordan D. 1985a. A survey of Greek defixiones not included in the Special Corpora, Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies, 26, 2, pp. 151-197.

Jordan D. 1985b. Defixiones from a Well near the Southwest Corner of the Athenian Agora, Hesperia, 54, 3, pp. 205-255.

Jordan D. 2000. New Greek curse tablets, Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies, 41, pp. 5-46.

Lazzarini M.L. 1994. Una nuova defixio greca da Tiriolo, Annali dell’Istituto Orientale di Napoli. Sezione filologico-letteraria, 16, pp. 163-169.

Murano F. 2010. Verbi e formule di defissione nelle laminette di maledizione osche, Quaderni del Dipartimento di Linguistica – Università di Firenze, 20, pp. 51-76.

Poccetti P. 1993. Aspetti e problemi della diffusione del latino in area italica, in Campanile E. (ed.), Caratteri e diffusione del latino in età arcaica, Pisa, Giardini, pp. 73-96.

Poccetti, P. 1998. L’iscrizione osca su lamina plumbea Ve 6: maledizione o preghiera di giustizia? Contributo alla definizione del culto del Fondo Patturelli a Capua”, in I culti della Campania antica. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi in ricordo di Nazarena Valenza Mele, Roma, Bretschneider, pp. 175-184.

Poccetti, P. 2005 [2008]. La maledizione delle attività di parola nei testi magici greci e latini, AION Ling., 27, pp. 339-382.

SEG = Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Volume XXX (1980). Edited by H.W. Pleket and R.S. Stroud, Leiden, Brill.

Versnel H. 1991. Beyond Cursing: The Appeal to Justice in Judicial Prayers, in C. Faraone - D. Obbink (eds.), Magika Hierà: Ancient Greek magic and religion, New York – London, OUP, pp. 60-106.

Spoken Greek in the minutes of the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD)

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon include lengthy minutes, in which hundreds of clerics and several officials of the Imperial administration of Constantinople speak in Greek. These minutes are presented as the verbatim records of conciliar debates: therefore, they are supposed to record the very words used by all attendees at the council. This provides us with unparalleled evidence for the Greek spoken by educated men in the fifth century, and quite possibly in all of antiquity.

            The accuracy of the records is crucial to establish the reliability of the Acts as evidence for spoken Greek. We do not know all the details of the minute-taking process at Chalcedon. However, by looking at internal hints and at other conciliar Acts in which the minute-taking is described, we can get a good approximation of how records were produced at this Council. An interesting parallel can be found in the minutes of modern deliberative gatherings, where we have a chance to check the accuracy of the minutes against the videos of the debates. If we look at the transcripts of the UK House of Commons, for example, we realize that contemporary stenographers normalize irregular phonology as well as morphology, suppress some typical features of unplanned spoken language (e.g. repetitions and interjections) and fix anacoloutha and broken syntax; sometimes they also make minor alterations to the lexicon. Everything else is recorded faithfully: so these texts are by and large accurate, if polished, records of the syntax and lexicon of unplanned spoken language at the House of Commons.

            It is exactly syntax and lexicon that I am going to look at in the minutes of the Council of Chalcedon. The linguistic features I have chosen to examine come from the framework of the study of spontaneous spoken language: this has shown that in spontaneous spoken languages sentences are shorter, there is less grammatical subordination and the range of vocabulary is less than in written language. In order to appreciate the features of spoken Greek at the Council of Chalcedon, therefore, I have chosen to consider the statements of the six clerics who delivered both oral and written statements: by comparing their spoken and written production it is possible to work out the differences between the spoken and written language of each of these attendees, and to draw general conclusions. All the samples considered confirm the findings of research on spontaneous spoken language. Modern research has also shown that some constructions occur in spontaneous spoken language but not in written language, and vice-versa. In this respect, I have considered the use of participial constructions as opposed to finite subordinates: I have found that in oral statements fewer participles are used than in written statements. In oral statements we can also find constructions and idioms that are peculiar to individual speakers and are not used in their written texts.


Millar, F. A Greek Roman Empire. Power and Belief under Theodosius II (408/450) (Berkeley and London 2006).

Miller, J. and Weinert, R. Spontaneous Spoken Language. Syntax and Discourse (Oxford 1997).

Price, R. ‘Truth, Omission, and Fiction in the Acts of Chalcedon’, in R. Price and M. Whitby (eds.), Chalcedon in Context. Church Councils 400-700 (Liverpool 2009), 92-106.

Price, R. and Gaddis, M., The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, 3 vols. (Liverpool 2005).

Schwartz, E. Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum. Tomus II: Concilium Universale Chalcedonense, 4 vols. (Berlin and Leipzig 1933-1937).

Vatri, A. Orality and Performance in Classical Attic Prose: A Linguistic Approach (Oxford 2017).

Discourse markers and text type: γάρ in narrative vs. γάρ in argument.

University of Seville

The paper presents part of a larger study where specific uses of discourse markers are investigated in the different text or sequence types in which they operate. Discourse markers are linguistic expressions that speakers use to represent their own discourse as it unfolds. The structure of discourse, boundaries between its segments, the stance of the speaker, instructions to interlocutors are typical referents of discourse marking expressions. Particles are a nuclear subclass among discourse markers.

Traditional works (Denniston 1950) on the particle γάρ have identified an adverbial asseverative or emphatic force and at least two connective functions, namely a causal and an explanatory one. That some of these uses are linked to specific contexts has also been observed and the relation between some uses and the type of speech act where the particle acts is fairly well established. Thus, for instance the assertive or emphatic value is shown to appear in clauses expressing a question, an order, a wish or an oath. There has been, though, one might argue, too much interest in defining relations between sentences, while the functions with reference to larger discourse units has been neglected.

In more recent times and within a theoretical frame of Discourse Analysis based on hierarchical structure and relations of dependency, some authors have explained γάρ as a particle introducing subsidiary information (Van Ophuijsen and Sicking 1993), as a push particle (Slings 1997), or a backgrounding device (Luraghi 2011)-, while others, within a less ‘vertical’ perspective, have posed a central value as introducing unframed discourse (de Kreij 2016), or as a marker of discourse discontinuity (Bonifazzi 2016), even embedded narratives, as part of its explanatory use (de Jong 1997).

The author focuses here on the ‘subordinating’ function of γάρ. An analysis of the particle use in argumentative vs. narrative sequences shows that the backgrounding function does exist, but is quite more frequent in narrative texts. Leaving aside other aspects of narrativity, such as voice, stance and focalization, what makes a text narrative is the relation of a series of events in the temporal sequence in which they happened. The construction with γάρ typically introduces subsidiary material to that macrostructure. It may be essential to the understanding of the story or plot, by it is secondary from a macrostructural perspective. Argument, on the other hand, is characterised as such by the presence of two acts, one act expressing an opinion and a second act either justifying or challenging that opinion (Van Eemeren & Grootendorst 1984; Hietanen 2007). There, the function of γάρ introducing a justifying act is anything but subsidiary. If the γάρ segment were ommitted, the argumentative sequence would fade away.

A fine-grained description of the distribution of the uses of γάρ is drawn from a corpus study of instances found in the text of Thucydides. It partly builds on Drummen 2016, but aims at offering a finer-grained account, since it classifies different uses of the particle and refers to text types, not merely to the dialogue / monologue distinction.


Bonifazzi, A. 2016. Volume IV. Particle Use in Herodotus and Thucydides. In Bonifazi et al. 2016.

Bonifazi, A., A. Drummen y M. de Kreij. 2016. Particles in Ancient Greek Discourse: Five Volumes Exploring Particle Use across Genres. Hellenic Studies Series 74. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

de Jong, I.J.F. 1997. “Gar Introducing Embedded Narratives.” In A Rijksbaron (ed.) New Approaches to Greek Particles. Proceedings of the Colloquium Held in Amsterdam, January 4-6, 1996, to Honour C.J. Ruijgh on the Occasion of His Retirement, Amsterdam, 175–85.

de Kreij, M. 2016. Volume II. Particle Use in Homer and Pindar. In Bonifazzi et al. 2016.

Denniston, J.D. 19502. The Greek Particles. Oxford.

Drummen, A. 2016. Volume III. Particle Use in Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. In Bonifazzi et al. 2016.

Hietanen, M. 2007. Paul’s Argumentation in Galatians. A Pragma-Dialectical Analysis. London.

Luraghi, S. - G. Celano. 2012. “Connectives and Discourse Structure: Between Foreground and Background.” Presentation at the Conference “Discourse Markers in Corpus Languages,” Vitoria-Gasteiz, 28–30 de Noviembre.

Van Eemeren, F.H - Grootendorst, R. 1983. Speech Acts in Argumentative Discussions. A Theoretical Model for the Analysis of Discussions Directed towards Solving Conflicts of Opinion. Dordrecht.

van Ophuijsen, J. M., and C. M. J. Sicking. 1993. Two Studies in Attic Particle Usage: Lysias and Plato. Leiden.

Reduplicated and Non-reduplicated Imperatives:

κλύθι and κλύτε vs κέκλυθι and κέκλυτε

University of Palermo

The most ancient forms of the Greek verb κλύω (< IE *ḱlewe/o-) “hear, perceive, give ear to, attend to, comply with, obey, be called or spoken of” are

  • the thematic aorist indicative ἔκλυον (with the non-augmented κλύον corresponding to OI aorist injunctive śruvam), attested in the Homeric poems;
  • the athematic aorist imperative forms κλῦθι and κλῦτε utilized by Homer, Pindar, and the tragedians (both κλῦθι and κλῦτε always occur at the beginning of the hexameter in the Homeric poems instead of κλύθι and κλύτε, and are therefore said to exhibit metrical lengthening; moreover, κλύθι corresponds to the OI imperative form śrudhi);
  • the reduplicated athematic imperative forms κέκλυθι and κέκλυτε employed by Homer and Apollonius Rhodius, and regarded by Chantraine (1999: 540-541) as innovation;
  • the participle κλύμενος used by Antimachus Colophonius and Theocritus.

In view of the time allowed for presentation, my paper will focus on the use of the double couple of imperatives, the non-reduplicated and the reduplicated, in the Homeric poems. Their distribution in the Iliad and the Odyssey is shown in table 1.











Both couples of imperatives might seem interchangeable at first sight. This is not the case, however. Close analysis of the various passages has in fact allowed me to appreciate a subtle difference between them. When compared with κλῦθι and κλῦτε, the reduplicated forms κέκλυθι and κέκλυτε actually convey a particular nuance of meaning, which can be related to an implication of intensity somehow. A fair inference is that this notable difference in meaning arises from the presence vs the absence of reduplication. This presumption made me devote the last part of my presentation to the morphological process of verbal reduplication in general and to the reduplicated aorists in particular.


The literature on the subject is very extensive and consequently the following list must not be regarded as complete.

BERTINETTO Pier Marco & LENCI Alessandro, 2012, “Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity”, in BINNICK Robert I. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 852-880.

 BOLINGER Dwight, 1972, Degree Words, The Hague: Mouton.

 BYBEE Joan, PERKINS Revere & PAGLIUCA William, 1994, The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 CABREDO-HOFHERR Patricia & LACA Brenda (eds), 2012, Verbal Plurality and Distributivity, Berlin: de Gruyter.

 CHANTRAINE Pierre, 1927, Histoire du parfait grec, Paris: Champion.

 CHANTRAINE Pierre, 1968-1980, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots, Paris: Klincksieck. 

 CUSIC David D., 1981, Verbal Plurality and Aspect. PhD thesis, Stanford University.

 DI GIOVINE Paolo, 2010, “Declino di una categoria flessionale: l’intensivo in greco antico”, in PUTZU Ignazio et al. (eds), La morfologia del greco tra tipologia e diacronia. Atti del VII Incontro internazionale di linguistica greca, Milano: Franco Angeli, 189-203.

 DI GIOVINE Paolo, 1990, Studio sul perfetto indoeuropeo, vol. 1, Roma. DI GIOVINE Paolo, 1996, Studio sul perfetto indoeuropeo, vol. 2, Roma.

 DRESSLER Wolfgang, 1968, Studien zur verbalen Pluralität: Iterativum, Distributivum, Durativum, Intensivum in der allgemeinen Grammatik, im Lateinischen und Hethithischen, Wien.

 DRINKA Bridget, 2003, “The development of the perfect in Indo-European. Stratigraphic evidence of prehistoric areal influence”, in ANDERSEN Henning (ed.), Language Contacts in Prehistory: Studies in Stratigraphy, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 77-105.

 GERÖ Eva-Carin & VON STECHOW Arnim, 2003, “Tense in time: the Greek Perfect”, in ECKARD Regine, von HEUSINGER Klaus & SCHWARZE Christoph (eds), Words in Time, Diachronic Semantics from Different Points of View, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 251-294.

 HASPELMATH Martin, 1992, “From resultative to perfect in Ancient Greek”, in ITURRIOZ LEZA José Luis (ed.), Nuevos estudios sobre construcciones resultativas, special issue of Función, 11-12: 187-224.

 HAUG Dag, 2004, “Aristotle’s kinesis/energeia-test and the semantics of the Greek perfect”, Linguistics, 42(2), 387-418.

 HURCH Bernhard (ed.), 2005, Studies on Reduplication, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.

 JESPERSEN Otto, [1924] 2007, The Philosophy of Grammar, London/New York: Routledge.

 KUČERA Henry, 1981, “Aspect, markedness and t0”, in TEDESCHI Philip J. & ZAENEN Annie E. (eds), Tense and Aspect (Syntax and Semantics 14), New York: Academic Press, 177–189.

MAGNI Elisabetta, 2010, “L’evoluzione semantico-funzionale dell’elemento -θ- nella morfologia verbale del greco”, in PUTZU Ignazio et al. (eds), La morfologia del greco tra tipologia e diacronia. Atti del VII Incontro internazionale di linguistica greca, Milano: Franco Angeli, 266-285.

 MAGNI Elisabetta, 2017, “Pluractionality and perfect in Homeric Greek”, in LOGOZZO Felicia & POCCETTI Paolo (eds), Ancient Greek Linguistics. New Approaches, Insights, Perspectives, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.

 MORAVCSICK Edith A., 1978, “Reduplicative Constructions”, in GREENBERG Joseph H. (ed.), Universals of Human Language, vol. 3. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 297-334.

 NEDJALKOV Vladimir P. & JAXONTOV Sergej Je., 1988, “The typology of resultative constructions”, in NEDJALKOV Vladimir P. (ed.), Typology of Resultative Constructions, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 3-62.

 NEWMAN Paul, 2013, Nominal and Verbal Plurality in Chadic, Dordrecht: Foris.

 RUBINO Carl, 2013, “Reduplication”, in DRYER Matthew S. & HASPELMATH Martin (eds), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online, Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (

 RUIPÉREZ Martín S., 1954, Estructura del sistema de aspectos y tiempos del verbo griego antiguo: análisis funcional sincrónico, Salamanca: Colegio Trilingüe de la Universidad.

 SAPIR Edward, 1921, Language. An Introduction to the Study of Speech, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

 SCHAEFER Christiane, 1994, Das Intensivum im Vedischen, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

 SCHWYZER Eduard & DEBRUNNER Albert, 1950, Griechische Grammatik. Bd. 2. Syntax und syntaktische Stilistik, München: Beck.

SCHWYZER Eduard, 1939, Griechische Grammatik. Bd. 1. Allgemeiner Teil, Lautlehre, Wortbildung, Flexion, München: Beck.

 SHLUINSKY Andrey, 2009, “Individual-level meanings in the semantic domain of pluractionality”, in EPPS Patience & ARKHIPOV Alexandre (eds), New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 175-197.

 SICKING Christian M.J. & STORK Peter, 1996, “The synthetic perfect in Classical Greek”, in SICKING Christian M.J. & STORK Peter (eds), Two Studies in the Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek, Leiden/ New York/Köln: Brill, 119-298.

 SZEMERÉNYI Oswald J. L., [1990] 1996, Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics, (transl. of Einführung in die vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft, 4. durchgesehene Auflag, by JONES David M. & JONES Irene), Oxford: Clarendon Press.

 TICHY Eva, 1983, Onomatopoetische Verbalbildungen des Griechischen, Wien: Österrei-chische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

 TISCHLER Johann, 1976, Zur Reduplikation im Indogermanischen, Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft.

VAN DER AUWERA Johan, 2013, “Semantic maps, for synchronic and diachronic typology”, in GIACALONE RAMAT Anna, MAURI Caterina & MOLINELLI Piera (eds), Synchrony and Diachrony: A Dynamic Interface, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 153-176.

 WACKERNAGEL Jacob, 1926, Vorlesungen über Syntax mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Griechisch, Lateinisch und Deutsch, vol. 1, Basel: Birkhäuser.

WOOD Esther Jane, 2007, The Semantic Typology of Pluractionality, PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

XRAKOVSKIJ Viktor S., 1997, “Semantic types of the plurality of situations and their natural classification”, in XRAKOVSKIJ Viktor S. (ed.), Typology of Iterative Constructions, Münich: Lincom Europa, 3-64.

YU Alan C.L., 2003, “Pluractionality in Chechen”, Natural Language Semantics, 11: 289-321.

The Spelling ιου for ου After Coronals in Ancient Boeotian, Tsakonian and Oscan: Vowel Fronting or Consonant Backing?

Departamento de Filología Clásica e Indoeuropeo, Universidad de Salamanca

In ancient Boeotian inscriptions (3rd – 2nd c. BCE), the spelling ιου occurs in place of ου (representing /u(ː)/) after coronals. Similar phenomena are documented in modern Tsakonian and in Oscan inscriptions written in the indigenous alphabet (Campania and Samnium):



















ὄνομα (dial. ὄνυμα)





Λυκίσκος (λύκος ‘wolf’)





Standard Modern Greek


(< Doric τύ)

‘you’ (2sg.)


εσύ (< Att.-Ion. σύ)





















(< *oltum-)

‘last’ (




(< *suttijo-)





(< *NumVsjo-)




The spellings Tιου for Toυ and Tiu for Tu (where T = any coronal) have been considered to be evidence of a phonetic process of fronting and/or diphthongization of /u(ː)/, purportedly induced by the preceding coronal: e.g. [tu(ː)] > [ty(ː)] > [tju].

In my presentation, I intend to demonstrate that the reconstructed changes are untenable and that the spellings at issue reflect the palatalization (backing) of a coronal before a high back vowel.


Adiego, I.-X. (2015) “Some Remarks on the New Opic (‘Pre-Samnite’) Inscription of Niumsis Tanunis”, ILing. 38, 15-28.

Blümel, W. (1982) Die aiolischen Dialekte: Phonologie und Morphologie der inschriftlichen Texte aus generativer Sicht (Göttingen)

Buck, C.D. (1955) The Greek dialects. Grammar, Selected Inscriptions, Glossary (Chicago)

Giannakis, G. (ed.) (2014) Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics I-III (Leiden/ Boston)

Hatzidakis, G.Ν. (1907) “Περὶ τοῦ υ ἐν τῇ νεώτερῃ ἑλληνικῇ”, Μεσαιωνικά καὶ Νέα Ἑλληνικά Β´ (Athens) 277-310 [reprint Athens, 1991]

Liosis, N. (2014) “Tsakonian”, in Giannakis (ed.), vol. 3, 446-50

Papadamou, E. (2009) Διαχρονική και διατοπική εξέταση της εξέλιξης του υ (M.Phil. Diss. Thessaloniki)

Shipp, G. P. (1965) “IOY=Y in Modern Greek”, Glotta 43, 302-16

Tzitzilis, Ch. (2014) “Archaisms in modern dialects”, in G. Giannakis (ed.) vol. 1, 158-71

Zair, N. (2014) “The Treatment(s) of *-u- after a Coronal in Oscan: Dialect Variation and Chronology”, Indo-European Linguistics 2, 112–125

Interaction between Greek and Neo-Phrygian in Funerary Epigrams from Eastern Phrygia under the Roman Empire

“Sapienza” Università di Roma

The Neo-Phrygian language is only known through epigraphic documents dating from the 1st to mid-3rd centuries AD. These inscriptions – their number is small, approximately a hundred – come from an area covering north-eastern Phrygia and the borders with Galatia and Lycaonia. This paper aims at investigating the relationship between the two languages in a few funerary epigrams found in the Amorion area. Special attention will be paid to bilingual inscriptions, which make up about half of Neo-Phrygian attestations known so far. In bilingual documents the Phrygian language is generally confined to curses on tomb violators whereas the remaining part of the inscription is written in Greek. The pervasive presence of imprecations is a distinctive feature of Phrygian funerary inscriptions, which provide several examples in the Greek language too. At first, the verbal structures of such formulas in the two languages will be examined and compared and, subsequently, the function fulfilled by Greek and Neo-Phrygian respectively within the same inscription will be assessed. Generally speaking, the commissioners of funerary epigrams were wealthy people enjoying a high social status who could afford to erect a monument and to have an inscription carved on it. Their choice of a verse composition bore witness to their – real or alleged – Greek paideia. The decision to utilize both languages within the same inscription points to a clear communication strategy and provides an important clue about the social role played by the local language during the period under consideration.

Cl. Brixhe, Essai sur le grec anatolien au début de notre ère, Nancy 1987 (II ed.).

Cl. Brixhe, «Interaction between Greek and Phrygian under the Roman Empire», in Bilingualism in Ancient Society, ed. J.N. James – M. Janse – S. Swain, Oxford 2002, 246-66.

Cl. Brixhe, Th. Drew-Bear, «Huit inscriptions néo-phrygiennes», in R. Gusmani, M. Salvini, P. Vannicelli, Frigi e frigio. Atti del 1° Simposio Internazionale (Roma, 16-17 ottobre 1995), Roma 1997, 71-114.

J. Friedrich, Kleinasiatische Sprachdenkmäler, Berlin 1932.

O. Haas, Die phrygischen Sprachdenkmäler, Sofia 1966.

G. Neumann, Phrygisch und Griechisch, Wien 1988.

J.H.M. Strubbe, ΑΡΑΙ ΕΠΙΤΥΜΒΙΟΙ. Imprecations against Desecrators of the Grave in the Greek Epithaps of Asia Minor. A Catalogue, Bonn 1997.

Usage of ἀφ’ οὗ ‘after’ in Greek dialectal inscriptions

Kyoto University

The epigraphic occurrences of the subordinate conjunction ἀφ’ οὗ ‘after’ are not frequent: they fill barely half a page in the collection of attestations by Hermann (1912: 21—22); and only one instance is added by Minamimoto (2017).  In contrast to the relatively straightforward usage to express futurity (with the subjunctive accompanied by the modal particle), there appears to be a pattern in the use of this conjunction + aorist indicative: it is used in phrases found in treaties which, with certain degree of variability, share the rough meaning “after this treaty comes into effect.”  Actual wordings are ἀφ’ οὗ / τὸ σύββολον ἐ[γ]ένετο “after the agreement is concluded” (FD 3,1 486) and ἀφ’ οὗ Ἀχαιοὶ ἐγένοντο“after they become citizens of the Achaean League” (SGDI 1634).  The Arcadian conjunction ἀφῶτε ‘after’ is also used in this context: ἀφῶτε Μαντινῆς ἐγένοντυ οἱ Ἐλισϝάσιοι “after the Helissonians become citizens of Mantineia”.  This phraseological match gives additional support to the etymological interpretation proposed by the first editor of the inscription (Te Riele 1987: 178) that the Arcadian form corresponds to ἀφ’ οὗ, rather than the alternative analysis proposed by Dubois (1988: 282), who suggested that ἀφῶτε may be traced back to the old ablative in*-ōd.  Also, this phraseology is geographically clustered around Arcadia, and therefore it possibly belonged to bureaucratic stock expressions in treaties in this area, as suggested by Minamimoto (2017: 106—108).


Dubois, Laurent. 1988. À propos d’une nouvelle inscription arcadienne. Bulletin de correspondence hellénique 112 (1): 279—290.

FD 3,1 = Émile Bourguet (ed.). 1929. Fouilles de Delphes. Tome III: Épigraphie. Fascicule I: Inscriptions de l’entrée du sanctuaire au trésor des Athéniens. Paris: de Boccard.

Hermann, Eduard. 1912. Griechische Forschungen I: Die Nebensätze in den griechischen Dialektinschriften in Vergleich mit den Nebensätzen in der griechischen Literatur und die Gebildetensprache im Griechischen und Deutschen. Leipzig/Berlin: Teubner.

Minamimoto, Toru. 2017. Subordinators and supradialectal formulas in the dialectal inscriptions from Mainland Greece (excluding Attica). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles dissertation.

SGDI = Hermann Collitz (ed.). 1884—1905. Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften. (4 vols. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Te Riele, Gérard-Jean. 1987. Hélisson entre en sympolitie avec Mantinée: Une nouvelle inscription d’Arcadie. Bulletin de correpondance hellénique 111 (1): 167—190.

Greek ἐξερρύα, ἀπεσσύα and the Indo-European aorists in -ā

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


Some Ancient Greek Doric dialects attest to intransitive aorists with an -ᾱ ending:

(1) ὡς δ’ ἐξερρύα (= át. ἐξερρύη) συχνὸν ὑγρ̣[ό]ν, καταλύσαντα τὸ σῶμα τὰν κεφαλὰν πάλιν ἐπιθέμεν ἐπὶ τὸν αὐχένα (IG IV2.1.122, Epidaurus, ca 350 ΒC., ll. 3-5)

(2) [λ]εγόντω ἐς ὅ κα τὸ ὕδωρ ἐ[γ]ρυᾶι (= át. ἐκρυῇ) (L. 74) (TitCal 79, Kalymnos, ca 300 BC)

(3) Μίνδαρος ἀπεσσύα (X.HG I.1.23).

(4) Hesychius: ἐφθιᾶ· ἀπέθανεν.

According to a prevalent opinion, forms (1-2) are related to lit. (pa)srùvo, preterite in *-āt of present srav-eti <srew-. Both Ancient Greek and Lituanian, among others, seem to have preserved an inherited suffix *-ā that would serve to form transitive and intransitive past tenses that, in some Doric dialects, would have created intransitive aorists.

            Supposedly, Doric dialects also exhibit - in past tenses outside the indicative (5a-b), other tenses, like the perfect (6a) and isolated nominal forms (6b):

(5) (a) Cyrene aor. subj. ἴσαι, μιᾶι.

      (b) Sicily aor. part. (pass.) παργεναθέντες.

(6) (a) Argos perf. ind. ἐπιμεμηνάκαντι.

      (b) Laconia ῥυάχετος (Ar. Lys. 170).

As a conclusion of these data, it has been argued that the intransitive aorists in Doric were originally in - and not in -(θ)η-, as in other dialects.

            In this paper I will try to show that, despite being a widespread opinion, it is highly unlikely that the above forms correspond to an archaism: -ā preterites are in all probability a Greek innovation, which happens to be very limited, and some forms have been conspicuously misinterpreted. I will also propose an alternative morphological explanation that explains satisfactorily the attested evidence.


Chantraine, P. (1958): Grammaire homérique. I. Phonétique et morphologie, Paris.

McCullagh, Matthew (2002): “Greek ἔβλην and the development of the root aorist in Greek”. HS 115: 59-78

Nieto Izquierdo, E. (2009): Gramática de las inscripciones de la Argólide, UCM, Madrid.

Peters, M. (1997): “Der armenische Flexionstyp gitem, gita¢i und das ion.-att. Plusquamperfekt”, Sound law and analogy. Papers in honor of Robert S.P. Beekes on the occasion of his 60th birthday, ed. by Alexander Lubotsky, Amsterdam/Atlanta: 209-217.

Peters, M. (2001-2): “Eine minoische Etymologie”. Sborník prací filozofické fakulty Brnĕnské univerzity 6-7 (= Festschrift Antonín Bartonĕk): 231-240

Schwyzer, E. (1939): Griechische Grammatik. I. Allgemeiner Teil. Lautlehre. Wortbildung. Flexion, München.

Sihler, A. L. (1995): New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford.

Remarks on the Greek vocabulary of translation

Université de Strasbourg

The lexical field of translation in ancient Greek can be divided into two major groups: lexical neologisms and semantic neologisms. Among the formers, a chief position is occupied by the loanword ἑρμηνεύς and its denominative verb ἑρμηνεύω and its compounds. First, I will try to elucidate the etymology of ἑρμηνεύς by arguing that it is a borrowing from a Luwic dialect (Carian or Proto-Carian). Next, I will deal with the semantic development of ἑρμηνεύς/ἑρμηνεύω using the notion of “semantic prototype” and attempting at showing the extension of its meaning from “interpreter of foreign tongues/to express (orally) in another language” towards “to express, expound”. Finally, in the Letter of Aristeas, ἑρμηνεύς/ἑρμηνεύω/ἑρμηνεία are adopted into the vocabulary of written translation.

In the second part of the paper, I shall turn my attention to the analysis of semantic neologisms in Greek translation terminology. Among these we encounter, on the one hand, synecdoches both generalizing (μεταφράζω: totum pro parte) and particularizing (μεταγράφω: pars pro toto) and, on the other hand, a metaphor: the transfer metaphor (ἄγω, μεταφέρω) was introduced into the vocabulary of translation by Plato in Critias (cf. 113a) and later spread significantly not only in Greek (cf. also μεταβάλλω, μεταβιβάζω etc.), but was apparently borrowed into Latin, too (cf. transfero), and diffused into European languages therefrom.

Ancient Greek and Phrygian. Types of Convergence and Relationship.

University of Salzburg, Department of Linguistics

Ancient Greek authors (e.g. Plato, Cratylus 410) and lexicographers (Hesychius) had already mentioned and dealt with some apparent similarities between their own language and Phrygian lexemes. In modern times, such phenomena were considered in a variety of relevant monographs and articles, which discussed different kinds of coherence, such as genealogical relationship, borrowing processes and areal contacts, cf. i.a. Haas 1966, Neumann 1988, Panagl 2005, Sowa 2008, Zsolt 2015. The thorough investigation of the Greek-Phrygian contacts primarily requires to be methodologically differentiated between three types of isoglosses, which concern: 1) preserved archaisms (verbal augment, PPP -meno-, relative pronoun *yos); 2) shared innovations (agent nouns ending in -tā-, pronoun auto-); 3) identical choice among different possible ‘inherited’ variants (kinship terms, proclitic pronouns). There exist several cases of data displaying similarities, which deserve some further consideration and linguistic interpretation, e.g. terminology of political and military administration (cf. Mycenaean wa-na-ka, ra-wa-ke-ta vs. Old Phrygian lavagtaei vanaktei); lexical phenomena, such as κύκλος vs. Hesych. gloss. κίκλην ‘Ursa major’; ancient testimonies (Herondas, Cicero); attestations of the region Phrygia and Phrygian people(s) (Homer, Euripides, Timotheos); evaluation of shared sporadic types of sound change (syncope, assimilation, epenthesis, anaptyxis). In addition, the etymological interpretation of some Phrygian words may indicate Greek parallels, e.g. 1) Phrygian bekos ‘bread’ in comparison with Greek φώγω ‘to roast’; 2) Phrygian tidegroun ‘innutribile’ as a compound may refer to the Greek prefix δυσ- (*dis-) and the verb τρέφω ‘to feed’; 3) Phrygian t(t)etikmenos (PPP) ‘stigmatised’ may belong to Greek στίζω ‘to brand sth., to stigmatise’. The latter type of reduplication reminds of Lat. steti; spopondi; the assimilation st > t(t) can be confirmed by its occurrence in some Anatolian Greek forms such as ἀνέτησεν (instead of ἀνέστησεν) as well as by cases of ‘hypercorrect’ usage, cf. εὐστυχήση (cf. Panagl 2005: 491).

The paper intends to highlight these categories of correlation by evaluating the results of the state-of-the-art research and aims at presenting novel proposals.

References (selection)

Clackson, James 2015. Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Cambridge: CUP.

Haas, Otto 1966. Die phrygishen Sprachdenkmäler. Sofia. (= BalkE/Linguistique Balkanique).

Panagl, Oswald. 2005. Graeco-phrygische Kontaktzonen, in: G. Meiser/O. Hackstein (eds.), Sprachkontakt und Sprachwandel. Akten der XI. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, 17.-23. September 2000, Halle an der Saale. Wiesbaden: Reichert. 483-494.

Wojciech Sowa 2008. Studien zum Phrygischen. Cuvillier, Göttingen.

Zsolt, Simon 2015. Die letzte Zeile der Phrygischen Inschrift von Vezirhan, in: Acta Classica Univ. Scient. Debrecen, 51, 17-33.

A usage-based approach to prosody and second argument realization

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Despite the lack of native speakers, it is not impossible for linguists to find some sources with which to study the prosodic structure of Ancient Greek. One of them, metrical caesurae, has proven to be a quite fruitful field of research, given the extension of the metrical corpus available1. On some previous research (Pardal Padín 2015, 2017: 69-90), it has been found that Ancient Greek shows a clear tendency for verbs to appear along with their second arguments within a single prosodic unit. This propensity is linked both with iconicity of distance (Haiman 1983: 782; Croft 2008; Haspelmath 2008: 2) and frequency of use (specifically, chunking; Bybee 2002: 112).

The current work seeks to refine the analysis and show to what extent the specificities of the second argument (case selection, cognate vs. non-cognate object, etc.) play a role in this tendency. Specifically, I will tackle the interaction of usage and verb argument realization through the study of a selection of 5000 dialogic verses from the complete plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

The analysis will pay special attention to the frequency of use of the different argument structure constructions considering both token —the total amount of appearances of a given verb with its second argument— and type —the sum of different verbs that use the same argument structure construction— frequencies (Bybee 2001: 10–13; Jurafsky et al. 2001; Barðdal 2008).

The prosodic analysis, on the other hand, will consider whether the verb and its second argument appear within the same prosodic unit as marked by the caesura of the verse.

Finally, the data will be put through a variable rule analysis (VarbRul; Cedergren & Sankoff 1974)2 in order to determine to what extent each of the different parameters (namely, the two different frequency measures and the second argument characteristics) play a role in keeping the verb and its second argument within the same prosodic contour.

The main hypothesis is that frequency plays the main role in the prosodic structuring of Ancient Greek and, accordingly, that highly frequent sequences of verb plus second argument and highly frequent argument structure constructions are more prone to be kept together.


Alba, M.C. (2008) "Ratio Frequency: Insights into usage effects on phonological structure from hiatus resolution in New Mexican Spanish", Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 1 (2), 247–286.

Barðdal, J. (2008) Productivity: evidence from case and argument structure in Icelandic, John Benjamins: Amsterdam - Philadelphia.

Bybee, J.L. (2001) Phonology and Language Use, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Bybee, J.L. (2002) "Sequentiality as the basis of constituent structure", in Givón, T. & Malle, B.F. (eds.), The Evolution of Language out of Pre-Language, John Benjamins: Amsterdam - Philadelphia, 109–134.

Cedergren, H.J. & Sankoff, D. (1974) "Variable rules: performance as a statistical reflection of competence", Language 50, 333–355.

Croft, W. (2008) "On iconicity of distance", Cognitive Linguistics 19 (1), 49–57.

Devine, A.M. & Stephens, L.D. (1978) "The Greek Appositives: Towards a Linguistically Adequate Definition of Caesura and Bridge", Classical Philology 73, 314–328.

Goldstein, D. (2015) Classical Greek Syntax: Wackernagel’s Law in Herodotus, Brill: Leiden - Boston.

Haiman, J. (1983) "Iconic and Economic Motivation", Language 59 (4), 781–819.

Haspelmath, M. (2008) "Frequency vs. iconicity in explaining grammatical asymmetries", Cognitive Linguistics 19 (1), 1–33.

Jurafsky, D., Bell, A., Gregory, M., & Raymond, W.D. (2001) "Probabilistic relations between words: evidence from reduction in lexical production", in Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure, John Benjamins: Amsterdam - Philadelphia, 229–254.

Mojena, A. (1992) "The Behavior of Prepositives in Theocritus’ Hexameter", Glotta 70, 55–60.

Pardal Padín, A. (2015) "Métrica y orden de palabras en griego antiguo. La cuestión del segundo argumento", Revista de Estudios Clásicos 42, 119-140.

Pardal Padín, A. (2017) La interacción entre Fonología y Sintaxis en griego antiguo, PhD Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid.

Young, R. & Bayley, R. (1996) "VARBRUL analysis for second language acquisition research", in Bayley, R. & Preston, D.R. (eds.), Second Language Acquisition and Linguistic Variation, John Benjamins: Amsterdam - Philadelphia, 253–306.

1On the prosodic nature of caesurae and it usefulness to divide prosodic elements, see, e.g., Devine & Stephens 1978, Mojena 1992 or Goldstein 2015: 65–67.

2Even though it is a tool originally designed to study sociolinguistic variation, VarbRul has also been applied, for example, to second language acquisition (Young & Bayley 1996) or external sandhi phenomena (Alba 2008).

Supplication and (im)politeness strategies in Euripides: an approach through Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo

Universidad de Sevilla

This paper explores the extent to which the typology of (im)politeness strategies by Brown&Levinson (1987) along with the one by House&Kasper (1981) applies to Classical Greek. The target is two-pronged as I have tried to pin down the linguistic realisations of each strategy as well as its distribution per character type. The method is analogous to the one recently applied by Berger (2017) in Plautus’ salutatio and advice-giving scenes.

The corpus includes the following suppliant scenes: E.Heracl.55-287; Supp.110-597; Andr.515-746; Hec.218-443, 726-863 and E.Or.380-724. Suppliants scenes provide interactions in comparable contexts, since they follow a story pattern and since they present a recurring cast of characters (Kopperschmidt 1967) consisting minimally of a suppliant and a supplicandus (Naiden 2006), to which a third character can be added as opponent of the suppliant (e.g. the Heralds in E.Heracl. and E.Supp.). The analysed strategies are downgraders, broadly understood as politeness strategies; and, on the other hand, upgraders, broadly understood as impoliteness strategies (House&Kasper 1981). The former includes hedges (such as committers and downtoners), as well as impersonalisation, understaters, forewarnings, and the expression of reluctance, pessimism (Brown&Levinson 1987: 173ff.), among others. The following subtypes are analysed as upgraders: overstaters, intensifiers, pluscommitters, lexical intensifiers, aggressive interrogatives and personalisation. Each strategy will be explained and exemplified.

The analysed strategies and the characters involved are many and so are the intersections between strategies and characters. In order to overcome this difficulty, I have codified my research in Nvivo, a software for QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis). The software provided an accurate counting of words and has automatically generated results about the distribution of strategies among characters.

The findings of this research are consequently twofold. From a purely linguistic standpoint, we can specify which of the (im)politeness strategies that feature in the typologies by Brown&Levinson and by House&Kasper can be considered as such in Classical Greek and how they actually work. For instance, impersonalisation through the indefinite pronoun τις does not seem to be as “polite” as impersonalisation through gnomai or general reflections; the expression οὔκ ἀλλῶς λέγω is better interpreted as a downgrader and not as an upgrader, as the bare translation could initially suggest. Finally, there is a number of idioms which seem to have specialised in the expression of irony (Athanasiadou&Colston 2017): ‘οὐκ οἶδ’ ἐγὼ’, ‘ὡς ἔοικέ’, and ‘εἰ βούλῃ or βούλῃ + subj./acI;’ could be explained as downgraders; however, when perused in context, they recurrently express totally the opposite in highly tense and sarcastic interactions (e.g. E.Heracl.257-261; Supp.566-571). From the standpoint of linguistic characterisation, the main finding is that the (im)politeness strategies are not randomly distributed among characters: accepted suppliants do not address upgraders to the supplicandi. On the contrary, rejected suppliants are, as it were, ineffectual, as they address upgraders to the supplicandi even though they are in a disadvantaged position and in need of requesting. In turn, supplicandi barely address downgraders to the suppliants, unless they reject them. As a result, there is always a linguistic characterisation by contrast between the participants.


Athanasiadou, A. & Colston, H. L. Eds. (2017). Irony in Language Use and Communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Brown, P. & Levinson, S. (1987 [19781]). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Berger, Ł. (2017). The old man and Linguistic Politeness in the comedies of Plautus. Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae, 27(3), 249–273.

House, J. & Kasper, G. (1981). Politeness markers in English and German. In F. Coulmas (Ed.), Conversational Routine: Explorations in Standardized Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech (157-185). The Hague-Paris-New York: Mouton (Janua Linguarum. Series Maior).

Kopperschmidt, J. (1966). Die Hikesie als dramatische Form. Tübingen (dissertation).

Naiden, F. (2006). Ancient supplication. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.

Non-Greek elements on Linear B Tablets from the RCT at Knossos

Università di Bologna

The tablet deposit of the Room of the Chariot Tablets (RCT) is understood to represent the earliest archive containing Mycenaean Linear B documents at Knossos. The earlier date assignable to this deposit has been demonstrated both on archaeological and palaeographical grounds. Its documents, therefore, appear to reflect a slightly more archaic situation also from a linguistic perspective, if compared to the other (allegedly later) Knossos tablet deposits. These earlier tablets record primarily wheels and chariots, a circumstance which makes these documents extremely interesting from a semantic point of view, given the close connection between these commodities and the Ancient Near East context. Hence, the tablets yielded by the RCT represent a pivotal source for loan words and foreign names as well as for phonetic and morphological features elsewhere unparalleled or scarcely attested.

            The aim of this paper is to analyze unusual (or unexpected) elements occurring on tablets from the RCT, with the focus on vocabulary items with supposedly non-Indoeuropean roots, and on features (such as endings) that deviate from later attestations preserved either on tablets from other archives or in alphabetic Greek. Although this latter observation does not necessarily imply a foreign origin of any of the specific items involved, nevertheless it highlights a meaningful divergence between RCT documents and other Linear B tablets, ultimately providing further clues to better understanding the very early (documented) phases of the Greek language.

Greek and Sabellian contacts visible in numeral systems in Southern Italy

Università di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’

A group of tiles belonging to the roof of an archaic palace (6th – 5th century B.C.) recently excavated at an indigenous site in Southern Italy (Torre di Satriano in Lucania) contains the first series of ordinal numerals in Greek. Noteworthy some of these numerals show interesting variants, that can be explained by contact between the Doric speaking area (around Tarentum) and the neighbouring Sabellian languages.

The fact that each number had been engraved on each tile before the terracotta had dried suggests that they were intended to show the order in which the tiles were to be put in place during the construction of the roof. This in turn suggests that the workers employed in the construction were indigenous people who had learned Greek (probably in the neighbouring Doric colony of Tarentum) at the same time as they were learning technical aspects of building.


Capozzoli V. 2009, “Le iscrizioni incise sul tetto di prima fase: un esame preliminare”, in Lo spazio del potere. La residenza ad abside e l’episcopio a Torre di Satriano, a cura di M.Osanna, L.Colangelo, G.Carollo, Venosa, Osanna Edizioni, 158-164.

Capozzoli V. 2012 “Tetti arcaici in area nord-lucana: un aggiornamento a seguito delle indagini 2009-2010 a Torre di Satriano, in Lo spazio del potere II. Nuove ricerche nell’area dell’anaktoron di Torre di Satriano, Venosa, Osanna Edizioni, 35-60.

Participles, syntactic function, and aspect in Gospels

Roma Tre University

This proposal aims at analyzing the correspondence between the four gospels in Greek and in Latin (Vulgata), focusing on the realization of Greek participles in Latin. There are various possible solutions: instead of a Greek participle, in Latin there can be another participle, as well as a relative clause, and other structures, such as cum + subjunctive.

These different choices are partially due, as well known, to the greater scarcity of participle forms in Latin. However, they are also interesting for the conference theme, as they shed light on some syntactic and semantic features of participles in Ancient Greek.

Indeed, the equivalence with relative clauses is only possible in case of nominal and adjectival Greek participles, both attributive and appositive. For these type of Greek participles it is particularly noteworthy the equivalence between the structure article + participle in Greek and free relatives in Latin:


(1) καὶ πάντες οἱ ἀκούσαντες ἐθαύμασαν (Luc. 2.18)


(2) et omnes qui audierunt mirati sunt


On the other hand, other structures, such as cum + subjunctive, exclusively correspond to converbial participles, i.e. participles having an adverbial function:


(3) καὶ εύροντες αὐτὸν λέγουσιν αὐτῷ ὅτι πάντες ζητοῦσίν σε. (Marc. 1.37)


(4) et cum invenissent eum dixerunt ei: Quia omnes quaerunt te.


If a predicative participle just modifies the nominal head, without any adverbial function, only the equivalence with relative clauses – and not with structures like cum + subjunctive – is possible:


(5) καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις (Marc. 1.34)


(6) et curavit multos qui vexabantur variis languoribus


Besides morphological and syntactic reasons, translation choices seem also to respect the aspectual value of participles. This is particularly clear in some cases where a Greek aorist predicative participle is translated by a participle in Latin, rather than by a structure like cum + subjunctive, that could convey an active past verb form, such as in (4):


(7) συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ ἐπυνθάνετο παρ᾽ αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ χριστὸς γεννᾶται. (Matth. 2.4)


(8) et congregans omnes principes sacerdotum et scribas populi sciscitabatur ab eis ubi Christus nasceretur.


The correspondence of συναγαγών with the active present participle congregans seems to suggest that Greek participle does not express any tense, but only the perfective aspect.

To sum up, the aim of this proposal is to:

  1. analyze all Latin realizations of Greek participles which are present in the four Gospels;
  2. classify the different Latin choices taking into account the different syntactic functions;
  3. try to evaluate if and how the aspectual value of Greek participles affects the choice among the alternative possible solutions, according to the different syntactic functions.


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Duhoux, Y., 1992, Le verbe grec ancien: éléments de morphologie et de syntaxe historiques, Louvain-La-Neuve, Peeters.

Maiocco, M., 2005, Absolute Participial Constructions. A Contrastive Approach to the Syntax of Greek and Latin, Pisa, Memorie del Laboratorio di Linguistica della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

Mugler, Ch., 1938, L’évolution des constructions participiales complexes en grec et en latin, Strasbourg, Publications de la Faculté des lettres de l'Université de Strasbourg.

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Nedjalkov, V. P., 1995, “Some typological parameters of converbs”, in M. Haspelmath - E. König, eds., Converbs in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, 99-136.

Pinkster, H., 2015, The Oxford Latin Syntax, I, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Pompei, A., 2012, “Participio greco e converbi”, Archivio Glottologico Italiano, 97/2, 160-204.

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Villa de la, J., 2002, “The translation of Greek participles in the Vulgata”, in: Sawicki L. - Shalev D.Rosén, H., ed., Donum grammaticum, Studies in Latin and Celtic Linguistics in Honour of Hannah Rosén, Louvain, Peeters, 385-394.

Zeegers-Vander Vorst, N., 1991. “Quelques cas de double analyse du participe ”, in: Biraud, M., ed., Études de syntaxe du grec classique. Recherches linguistiques et applications didactiques, Nice, Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences humaines, 155-170.

Counterargumentation in Ancient Greek. Study of ἔμπης and its allophones

University of the Basque Country (Spain)

Within the category of "adversative", different types of semantic-pragmatic relationships coexist -eliminative, balancing, opposition in general, strong adversative, weak adversative, introducing objection in dialogue....  These are often indicated by different particles in ancient Greek (ἀλλά, δέ, μήν ...). However, ancient grammarians, such as Dionysius Thrax, only mention ὅμως and ἔμπης as adversatives. In this contribution, which is being carried out within a Research Project funded by the Spanish government (PI FFI2015-65541-C3-1-P), the first results of the morphological, semantic, syntactic and pragmatic study of the second of these forms are presented in a corpus that ranges from the first preserved texts to the end of the imperial period (4th century).

The compilation, thanks to the TLG, of all the uses of ἔμπης and its allophones (ἔμπᾱς, ἔμπαν and ἔμπᾰ) allows us to discover their dialectal distribution, their frequency of appearance and in what type of texts (verse / prose) they are used. In addition, the systematic study of their uses shows that, together with "adverbial" uses (in current lexicons ἔμπης is considered an adverb), we can find others in which, in combination with different particles or conjunctions (δέ, ἀλλά, περ ...), ἔμπης is used to express counterargumentation, both in parataxis and in hypotaxis. This last meaning allows us (1) to group ἔμπης together with ὅμως, which is also used to indicate counterargumentation, and (2) to include it in the macrogroup of discursive markers.


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De la Villa, J. (2006) “Adverbs as a Part of Speech in Ancient Greek”, in: E. Crespo, J. de la Villa and A. Revuelta (eds.), Word Classes and Related Topics. Louvain-la-Neuve:  Peeters, pp. 405-39.

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Redondo-Moyano, E. (2017), “Reconectores: el caso de ὅμως”, in: J. de la Villa & Anna Pompei (eds.), Classical Languages and Linguistics / Lenguas clásicas y Lingüística, Madrid: Ediciones de la UAM, pp. 173-184.

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The preverb μετα-: a cognitive and constructionist analysis

Departamento de Filología Clásica, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Although μετα- is not one of the most frequent preverbs (use of prepositions as verbal prefixes), it represents a non-negligible 0,317% of all words in the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Dictionary (375 out of 118.102 lemmata). This proportion decreases in Modern Greek where only 0,112% of verbs are prefixed by μετα- in the ΛΚΝ (56 out of 49.626 lemmata). The purpose of this paper is to give a full account of the verbs prefixed by μετα- in Ancient Greek and their diachronic evolution. The main issues discussed will be the following:

a) These verbs exhibit a rather restricted and regular number of predicate frames (quantitative and qualitative valency). My purpose in this paper is to formalize those regular predicate frames and to establish the syntactic and semantic connections and derivations among them from a constructionist and cognitive point of view (Goldberg 1995, Talmy 1985): from the most basic spatial ones (‘to change place’) to the more abstract ones (‘to change, to modify’). The preverb has to be understood as a regular means of word formation.

b) The paper researches the connection between the preverbial (μετα-) and the prepositional uses (μετά), as described for example in Luraghi (2003).

c) The diachronic development from Ancient (satellite-framed) to Modern (mainly verb-framed) Greek constitutes an important factor taken into account and exhibits parallels in other languages (Mateu & Acedo-Matellán 2013, Talmy 1985).

d) From a comparative point of view there are clear similarities between the Greek system and those of other languages like German (see the description of um(-) in Dewell 2011).

The data are mainly taken from a corpus made up by the following authors (complete works): Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Lysias, Plato, Sophocles, Thucydides and Xenophon. Additional information has been taken from other authors and from the data available in dictionaries (JSJ) and lexical works (e.g. Funck 1876).

The final purpose of this paper is to collect and formalize all the information available about μετα- scattered in dictionaries and lexical works and to transfer it from its present place in lexicography to the grammatical component of the linguistic description of Greek. [Font Calibri 12 pt]


Dewell, Robert B. (2011): The Meaning of Particle/Prefix Constructions in German. Benjamins.

Funck, Antonius (1876): “De praepositionis μετα in vocabulis compositis usu exemplis maxime Euripideis probato”. Curtius Studien IX, 113-163. Leipzig, Verlag von S. Hirzel.

Goldberg, Adele E. (1995): Constructions. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. University of Chicago Press.

ΛΚΝ = Λεξικό της Kοινής Nεοελληνικής. Ίδρυμα Μανόλη Τριανταφυλλίδη [Ινστιτούτο Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών] Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, 1998.

Luraghi, Silvia (2003): On the Meaning of Prepositions and Cases. Benjamins.

Mateu, Jaume & Víctor Acedo-Matellán (2013): “Satellite-framed Latin vs. verb-framed Romance: A syntactic approach”. Probus (25) 227-265.

Talmy, Leonard (1985): “Lexicalization patterns: Semantic structure in lexical forms”. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description (3), 57-149. CUP.

Zanchi, Chiara (2014): Multiple preverbation in Homeric Greek. MA dissertation, University of Pavia.

The augment in Homeric narration: a temporal approach

Università degli Studi di Padova

            In the last twenty years, the traditional reconstruction of the augment as an original temporal adverb has been questioned. Different reconstructions have been recently proposed (Willi 2018), but the current general trend of research is following Bakker’s suggestion that the Homeric augment, rather than a marker of past, is a deictic element which expresses closeness between narrated events and the actual time of epic performance (Bakker 1999 and 2001). The large acceptance of this interpretation might be favoured by the increasing attention given to synchronic level analysis in Homeric poems. On this line, it has been pointed out that the augment is sensitive to narrative factors as events described by augmented verbs are characterised by greater relevance and vividness than those described by unaugmented forms. Although confirmed by some studies (see Rodeghiero 2017a), Bakker’s approach is not entirely satisfactory in that it does not show concordance with any of the proposed reconstructive theories.

In an effort to reconciliate the synchronic observations mentioned above with the diachronic dimension, I investigate here the use of the augment specifically in Homeric narrative sections, assuming the traditional analysis of the augment as an original temporal adverb (see Lazzeroni 1977 and 2017).         

I hypothesise that the distribution of augmented and unaugmented verbs might be due to different needs or choices in the expression of temporal coordinates, using an approach inspired by a Reichenbachian theoretical framework. In particular, I suggest that in Homer the augment still preserves trace of its early function as temporal adverb and that it is used to stress, or at least to make explicit, the reference time which is implicit in the unaugmented forms. Partially revisiting an idea explored by Kiparsky (1968), I read the lack of the augment in terms of anaphoric links between the events included in the same narrative sequence, where there is no need to make explicit the temporal reference. From this perspective, the distribution of the augment might be interpreted as a strategy to emphasise single events, and/or to mark cohesion and internal hierarchy of episodes and narrative units.    

My hypothesis is supported by a personal investigation of a selected corpus of songs from the Iliad. It emerges that unaugmented verbs are more often used within narrative units characterised by a high degree of syntactic cohesion which creates anaphoric links across adjacent clauses, while augmented forms are usually preferred at the beginning of narrative units and in sentences characterised by greater syntactic autonomy. Examples will be discussed during the talk.

I will then explore the relationship (if any) of these findings with some previous observations on a different syntactic behaviour of augmented and unaugmented verbs in the left periphery of the sentence (Rodeghiero 2017b). I propose that this phenomenon can be interpreted in light of the temporal analysis presented above.

In conclusion, the interpretation of the synchronic distribution of the augment in Homer is not necessarily in contrast with the analysis of the augment as a marker of the past.     


Bakker, E. (1999). Pointing to the past: verbal augment and temporal deixis in Homer. In J. Kazakis, & A. Rengakos, Euphrosyne. Studies in ancient epic and its legacy in honor of Dimitris N. Maronitis (p. 50-65). Stuttgart: Steiner.

Bakker, E. (2001). Similes, augment and the language of immediacy. In J. Watson, Speaking volums: orality and literacy in the Greek and Roman world (p. 1-23). Leiden: Brill.

Dahl, E. (2010). Time, tense and aspect in Early Vedic grammar. Exploring inflectional semantics in the Rigveda. Leiden-Boston: Brill.

Kiparsky, P. (1968). Tense and Mood in Indo-European Syntax. Foundations of Language, 4, 30-57.

Kiparsky, P. (2005). The Vedic injunctive: historical and synchronic implications. In R. Singh & T. Bhattacharya, The yearbook of South Asian languages and linguistics, (p.219-235). New Dehli/Thousand Oaks/London: Sage Publications.

Lazzeroni, R. (1977). Fra glottogonia e storia: ingiuntivo, aumento e lingua poetica indoeuropea. SSL, 17, 1-31.

Lazzeroni, R. (2017). Divagazioni sull'aumento in Omero. In Marotta, G. & Strik Lievers, F. Strutture linguistiche e dati empirici in diacronia e sincronia. Studi linguistici pisani, 8, 33-56.

Rodeghiero, S. (2017a). Forme aumentate e non aumentate in Omero: tempo, testo, sintassi. Padova: PhD dissertation.

Rodeghiero, S. (2017b). L’aumento in Omero tra narrazione e sintassi. In F. Logozzo & P. Poccetti, Ancient Greek linguistics: New approaches, insights, perspective (p.625-640). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter.

Reichenbach, H. (1947). The tenses of verbs. Elements of symbolic logic. New York: The MacMillan Company, 287-298.

Rose, S. (2013). Augment. In G.K. Giannakis, Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Brill Online

Willi, A. (2018). Origins of the Greek Verb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Langues en contact à l’époque impériale : le témoignage de Galien de Pergame

Sorbonne Université – Faculté des Lettres, UFR de Grec

UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée


Médecin grec ayant voyagé dans tout l’Empire romain, exerçant son art auprès des empereurs à Rome mais écrivant en grec, Galien de Pergame est à plus d’un titre un témoin important du contact des langues au iie siècle de notre ère. Dans les études sur le bilinguisme, il est ainsi souvent évoqué pour avoir fourni la première attestation d’une distinction entre δίγλωττος « bilingue » et πολύγλωττος « polyglotte ».

En effet, formé auprès des meilleurs maîtres au temps de la Seconde Sophistique, Galien, dont les textes couvrent un champ d’études beaucoup plus large que celui de la seule médecine – philosophie, logique, mais aussi philologie ou grammaire – témoigne un profond intérêt pour le lexique, comme l’illustrent les titres de ses traités perdus sur les mots que l’on trouve chez les écrivains attiques (τὰ παρὰ τοῖς Ἀττικοῖς συγγραφεῦσιν ὀνόματα) ou sur les mots courants (τὰ πολιτικὰ ὀνόματα) chez Aristophane ou Eupolis, ou encore son traité sur les Noms médicaux, dont seul le premier livre a été conservé par une traduction arabe. Or bien loin de constituer une distraction d’érudit, cet intérêt pour le vocabulaire s’inscrit dans une réflexion sur la langue de la médecine et sur les conditions de communication qui permettent une transmission adéquate de la science médicale. C’est dans ce cadre que prennent tout leur sens ses nombreuses observations sur la provenance de telle ou telle dénomination (τὸ Ῥωμαϊστὶ καλούμενον […] « ce qui est appelé dans la langue des Romains… », ὃ δὴ οἱ ἐντόπιοι  […] καλοῦσιν « que les locaux [en Syrie] appellent… », τοῦτο οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι […] ὀνομάζουσι « les Égyptiens nomment cela… »), l’affirmation polémique où il déclare « avoir collecté un très grand nombre de mots celtes, thraces, mysiens ou phrygiens » (πάμπολλα συναθροίσας ὀνόματα Κελτῶν καὶ Θρᾳκῶν καὶ Μυσῶν καὶ Φρυγῶν : Thrasybulus, 5.867 Kühn) pour confondre ceux qui récusent l’idée d’un lien conventionnel entre nom et chose, ou encore son souci d’épeler avec précision un nom de céréale recueilli auprès des habitants de Thrace et de Macédoine (De alimentorum facultatibus, 6.514 Kühn).

L’étendue de l’apport de Galien à la question du contact entre les langues reste cependant encore largement inexplorée. La plupart de ses analyses sont en effet intégrées à des écrits techniques, difficiles d’accès, qui pour une large part n’ont pas encore fait l’objet d’une édition critique, ni d’une traduction dans une langue moderne. Le célèbre passage sur la difficulté d’être réellement bilingue, et a fortiori polyglotte apparaît ainsi au milieu du 2e livre d’un traité portant sur la différenciation des pouls (De pulsuum differentiis, 8.585 Kühn).

Cette étude poursuivra un double objectif. Dressant la liste des termes explicitement attribués par Galien à d’autres idiomes, parmi lesquels le latin occupe une large place, elle tentera d’en établir une typologie et d’en dégager les aspects phonétiques et morphologiques dignes d’intérêt ; en même temps, elle s’attachera également à replacer les fines observations de détail comme les considérations générales de Galien sur la diversité des langues et sur la prééminence du grec dans le cadre de sa conception de la langue de la médecine, et dans le contexte souvent polémique de ses propos – à commencer par celui du traité des Différences des pouls –, afin d’en saisir l’exacte portée et de redonner sa juste place au témoignage de Galien sur les langues de son temps.

Indications bibliographiques

Adams James N., 2003 : Bilingualism and the Latin Language, Cambridge.

Adams James N., Janse ‎Mark & Swain ‎Simon, 2002 : Bilingualism in Ancient Society. Language Contact and the Written Text, Oxford.

Binder Vera, 2000 : Sprachkontakt und Diglossie. Lateinische Wörter im Griechischen als Quellen für die lateinische Sprachgeschichte und das Vulgärlatein, Hambourg.

Biville Frédérique, 1989 : « Grec et latin : contacts linguistiques et création lexicale. Pour une typologie des hellénismes lexicaux du latin », dans Marius Lavency & Dominique Longrée (dir.), Actes du Ve colloque de linguistique latine (Proceedings of the Vth Colloquium on Latin Linguistics), Louvain-la‑Neuve / Borzée, 31 mars – 4 avril 1989, Louvain-la-Neuve, p. 20–40.

—, 1990-1995 : Les emprunts du latin au grec : approche phonétique, Louvain/Paris, 2 vol.

—, 2017 : « Le bilinguisme gréco-latin », Lalies, 37, p. 45–106.

Biville Frédérique, Decourt Jean-Claude & Rougemont Georges (dir.), 2008 : Bilinguisme gréco-latin et épigraphie. Actes du colloque organisé à l’Université Lumière – Lyon 2, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée – Jean Pouilloux […] les 17, 18 et 19 mai 2004, Lyon.

Boudon-Millot Véronique, 2008 : « Galien de Pergame témoin de son temps : l’acculturation de la médecine grecque à la société romaine du IIe siècle de notre ère », Semitica & Classica, 1, p. 71–80.

Chantraine Pierre, 1937 : « Quelques emprunts du grec au latin », RÉL, 15, p. 88–91.

Clackson James, 2015 : Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds, Cambridge.

Dubuisson Michel, 1985 : Le latin de Polybe. Les implications historiques d’un cas de bilinguisme, Paris.

Fournet Jean-Luc, 2009 : « The multilingual environment of Late Antique Egypt : Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Persian documentation », dans Roger S. Bagnall (dir.), The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, Oxford, p. 418–451.

García Domingo Enrique, 1979 : Latinismos en la Koiné (en los documentos epigráficos desde el 212 a. J.C. hasta el 14 d. J.C.): gramática y léxico griego-latino, latino-griego, Burgos.

Gignac Francis T., 1976-1981 : A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. I, Phonology. II, Morphology, Milano, 2 vol.

Gitton-Ripoll Valérie, 2012 : « Les latinismes dans les textes hippiatriques grecs », dans Frédérique Biville, Marie-Karine Lhommé & Daniel Vallat (dir.), Latin vulgaire – latin tardif IX. Actes du IXe colloque international sur le latin vulgaire et tardif, Lyon, p. 837–850.

Hofmann Herbert, 1989 : Die lateinischen Wörter im Griechischen bis 600 n. Chr. [Diss. Erlangen-Nürnberg].

Langslow David R., 2000 : Medical Latin in the Roman Empire, Oxford.

Leiwo Martti, 1995 : Neapolitana. A Study of Population and Language in Graeco-Roman Naples, Helsinki.

Manetti Daniela, 2003 : « Galeno, la lingua di Ippocrate e il tempo », dans Jonathan Barnes, Jacques Jouanna & al. (dir.), Galien et la philosophie. Huit exposés suivis de discussions, Genève, p. 171–228.

Manetti Daniela, 2009 : « Galen and Hippocratic medicine : language and practice », dans Christopher Gill, Tim Whitmarsh & John Wilkins (dir.), Galen and the World of Knowledge, Cambridge/New York, p. 157–174.

Mullen Alex, 2013 : Southern Gaul and the Mediterranean. Multilingualism and multiple identities in the Iron Age and Roman periods, Cambridge.

Mullen Alex & James Patrick, 2012 : Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds, Cambridge.

Perilli Lorenzo, 2006 : « Da medico a lessicografo : Galeno e il Glossario ippocratico », dans Carl Werner Müller, Christian Brockmann & Carl Wolfram Brunschön (dir.), Ärzte und ihre Interpreten. Medizinische Fachtexte der Antike als Forschungsgegenstand der Klassischen Philologie. Fachkonferenz zu Ehren von Diethard Nickel, München/Leipzig, p. 165–201.

Rochette Bruno, 1997 : Le latin dans le monde grec. Recherches sur la diffusion de la langue et des lettres latines dans les provinces hellénophones de l’Empire romain, Bruxelles.

Rousseau Nathalie, 2017 : « Le nom des éléments (στοιχεῖα) : histoire, sens et emplois selon Galien de Pergame », Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIe siècle, 7–2 [].

Rousseau Nathalie, à paraître : « Ὅτι ἀλαζών ἐστι μάρτυς ἡ ἐτυμολογία : Galen on Etymology, Theory and Practice », dans Arnaud Zucker (dir.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Greek Etymology (March 2016, Villa Kérylos, Beaulieu-sur-Mer), Berlin / New York.

Schironi Francesca, 2009 : From Alexandria to Babylon. Near Eastern Languages and Hellenistic Erudition in the Oxyrhynchus Glossary (P.Oxy. 1802 + 4812), Berlin / New York.

Schlange-Schöningen Heinrich, 2003 : Die römische Gesellschaft bei Galen. Biographie und Sozialgeschichte, Berlin / New York.

Skoda Françoise, 2001 : « Galien lexicologue », dans Michel Woronoff, Simone Follet & Jacques Jouanna (dir.), Dieux, héros et médecins grecs. Hommage à Fernand Robert, Besançon, p. 177–195.

Skoda Françoise, 2006 : « L’enseignement par Galien des noms et des choses : lexicographie et modernité », dans Jacques Boulogne et Antoine Drizenko (dir.), L’enseignement de la médecine selon Galien, Villeneuve d’Ascq, p. 43–57.

Insubordination in Ancient Greek? : The case of ὥστε sentence 

University of Seville

It is a well-known fact (Kühner-Gehrt 1904 (1966): 514) that some ὥστε sentences, in spite of their subordinate marking, are themselves used as main clauses and perform speech acts on their own:

1) Lys. IV.7.4-8.1 νῦν δὲ ὁμολογούμεθα πρὸς παῖδας καὶ αὐλητρίδας καὶ μετ' οἴνου ἐλθόντες. ὥστε πῶς ταῦτ' ἐστὶ πρόνοια; (In point of fact, we admit that we went to see boys and flute-girls and were in liquor: so how is that premeditation?) (Lamb)

2) Th. 6.91.4 καὶ ὃν ἄρτι κίνδυνον ἐκεῖθεν προεῖπον, οὐκ ἂν διὰ μακροῦ ὑμῖν ἐπιπέσοι. ὥστε μὴ περὶ τῆς Σικελίας τις οἰέσθω μόνον βουλεύειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῆς Πελοποννήσου, (and the danger which, as I was saying, threatens you from that quarter, will speedily overwhelm you. And therefore remember every one of you that the safety, not of Sicily alone, but of Peloponnesus, is at stake) (Jowett)

Two structures, which share the same properties, have not been considered belonging to this group: sentences which realize indirect speech acts (4), and those used to answer questions (5):

3) Lys. XII. 32.4-33.1 νῦν δέ σου τὰ ἔργα φανερὰ γεγένηται οὐχ ὡς ἀνιωμένου ἀλλ' ὡς ἡδομένου τοῖς γιγνομένοις· ὥστε τούσδε ἐκ τῶν ἔργων χρὴ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐκ τῶν λόγων τὴν ψῆφον φέρειν… (But the fact is that your deeds clearly reveal the man who, instead of feeling pain, took pleasure in what was being done; so that this court should take its verdict from your deeds, not from your words) (Lamb)

4) S. OT 1128-1133 {ΟΙ.} Τὸν ἄνδρα τόνδ' οὖν οἶσθα τῇδέ που μαθών; | {ΘΕ.} Τί χρῆμα δρῶντα; ποῖον ἄνδρα καὶ λέγεις;| {ΟΙ.} Τόνδ' ὃς πάρεστιν· ἢ ξυναλλάξας τί πως; |{ΘΕ.} Οὐχ ὥστε γ' εἰπεῖν ἐν τάχει μνήμης ὕπο.  ((Oedipus) Are you aware of ever having seen this man in these parts? (Servant) Doing what? What man do you mean? (Oedipus) This man here, have you ever met him before? (Servant) Not so that I could speak at once from memory) (Jebb)

The aim of my work is twofold: to offer a fine-grained description of these uses in a corpus, and to test whether all of them can be considered as insubordinate clauses. Following Evans (2007: 366), “insubordination is the conventionalized main clause use of what, on prima facie grounds, appear to be formally subordinate clauses”. Although ellipsis has been considered the main mechanism leading to a former subordinate clause being used independently (Evans 2007), however, in recent literature a range of explanatory hypotheses has been proposed (Cristofaro 2016, Heine 2016, Traugott 2017).  My corpus consists on Sophocles’ and Euripides’ tragedies, and a selection from Lysias’, Thucydides’ and Herodotus’ works.

As a close revision of the data shows, 1) there is an interesting difference in frequency between authors, which should be explained. 2) The sentences display several functions in interaction: signalling relevant information, expressing evaluative modality, and expressing directives, among others. 3) Ellipsis can’t be proved in all the cases and other hypotheses seem to be fully productive.


Berdolt, W. 1896: Der Folgesatz bei Plato, Erlangen.

Crespo Güemes, Emilio, 2011. “Análisis gramatical de ὥστε”, in Mª José García Blanco et al. (eds.), Antidoron, Homenaje a Juan José Moralejo, Santiago de Compostela, 141-152.

Cristofaro, Sonia. 2016: “Routes to insubordination: A cross-linguistic perspective”, in Nicholas Evans & Honoré Watanabe (eds.), Insubordination, Amsterdam, 392-422.

Disterheft, Dorothy & Carlotta Viti. 2010: “Subordination”, in  Silvia Luraghi & Vit Bubenik, (eds.), Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics, 230-249. London.

Evans, Nicholas. 2007: “Insubordination and its uses”, in Irina Nikolaeva, (ed.), Finiteness: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations, 366-431. Oxford.

Evans, Nicholas & Honoré Watanabe. 2016: “The dynamics of insubordination: An overview”, in Nicholas Evans & Honoré Watanabe (eds.), Insubordination, Amsterdam, 1-39.

García Ramón, José Luis. 1989: “Los modos en las subordinadas consecutivas en griego clásico”. Actas del VII Congreso español de estudios cásicos, Madrid. 155-161.

Gildersleeve, Basil. L. 1886: “The consecutive sentence in Greek”, AJPh.161-175.

Heine, Bernd, Gunther Kaltenböck, Tania Kuteva, 2016: “On insubordination and cooptation”, in  Nicholas Evans & Honoré Watanabe (eds.), Insubordination, Amsterdam, 39-64.

Kühner, Raphael & Gehrt, B. 1904: Ausfürliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, Hannover  (Darmstadt 1966).

Ruiz Yamuza, Emilia. 2012: “Los matices de la consecuencia: ejemplificación con οὕτως”, in A. Cabedo, P. Nebot (eds.), Lingüística XL. Madrid, 225-233.

Seume, Hermann. 1883: De sententiis consecutivis, Gotinga.

Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2017: “Insubordination” in the light of the Uniformitarian Principle”, English Language and Linguistics, 21.2, 289-310.

The distribution of iotacistic variants inadministrative documents from Karanis: a data-driven study

University of Oxford

In a corpus language such as Ancient Greek, variant spellings provide important information on language variation and change. Documentary papyri are abundant sources of orthographic variation (Evans and Obbink 2010: 2), and typically have short transmission chains (Evans 2010:51). Autograph papyri have proved particularly attractive to scholars investigating the correspondence between individuals’ variant orthography and the phonology and syntax of their spoken Greek (e.g. Nachtergaele 2013).

 However, the majority of documentary papyri are not autograph, but scribally mediated (Palme 2009). Models of variation which make inferences from the writing to the speech of individuals can therefore only cover a small proportion of the surviving material. For example, private letters (autograph or scribal), which are often exploited for linguistic evidence (Evans 2010); average only between 8.8%–12.8% of total documentary papyri (Bagnall and Cribiore 2008: n.p.; §89-96) in the Roman period.

This paper therefore sets out to explore inferences that can be drawn from orthographic variation in scribally mediated documents. It reports the findings of a data-driven study of iotacistic variation in 26 Roman-era administrative documents from Karanis. All contained a contrast between sections drafted by professional scribes (bodies of agreements) and sections written by a party to the agreement, or a proxy acting on their behalf (subscriptions to agreements). Though no meaningful differences in spelling between professional scribes and subscribers was found, the study did identify interesting patterns in the distribution of spelling variants.

For example, the study concentrated on three types of graphic interchange: 

normative spelling

variant spelling


ε, ει


ι, ει


ε, ι

As expected for the documents in the sample, which spanned the 1st to the late 4th centuries AD, there is bi-directional graphic variation between <ι> ↔<ει>, reflecting the merger of <ι>, <ει> ~ /i/ (Gignac 1976:189). However, the proportional frequency of such variation is low for securely transcribed <ε> (0.02 of c. 1,350 occurrences are variants) and <ι> (4% of c. 1,700 occurrences) whereas it is considerably higher for <ει> (16% of c. 200 occurrrences). This hints at non-phonological factors affecting the visibility of variation.

A qualitative examination of the data points to an awareness of taught morphological rules affecting the visibility of variation, particularly:

  • hypercorrect spellings of <ει> for <ι> in dative endings
  • alternation between graphically similar <ει> and <ι> sequences across declensions and between noun and verb paradigms
  • <ε> featuring in memorisable patterns (short function words and augments), which suppresses variation.

The paper concludes by suggesting that the patterning as well as the typology of errors could be usefully incorporated into orthographic studies of both autograph and scribally mediated documents. A default assumption that spelling variants reflect low literacy, and are thus closer to speech (Horrocks 2014: 115, Dickey 2009: 151), is a potentially problematic position if it doesn’t include investigation of how variant forms, even if numerous, may reflect trying to implement formally acquired spelling principles.


Bagnall, R., Cribiore, R., & Ahtaridis, E. (2008). Women's letters from ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800 (ACLS Humanities E-book). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Dickey, E. (2009). The Greek and Latin languages in the papyri. In R. S. Bagnall (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of papyrology (pp. 149-169). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Evans, T. (2010). Identifying the language of the individual in the Zenon archive. In T. Evans, & D. Obbink (Eds.), The Language of the Papyri (pp. 51–70). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Evans, T., & Obbink, D. (2010). Introduction. In T. Evans, & D. Obbink (Eds.), The language of the papyri (pp. 1-12). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gignac, F. (1976). A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods: I. Phonology. Milan.

Horrocks, G. C. (2014). Greek: a history of the language and its speakers (2nd ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Nachtergaele, D. (2013). The Asklepiades and Athenodoros archives: a case study of a linguistic approach to papyrus letters. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 269–293.

Palme, B. (2009). The range of documentary texts: types and categories. In R. S. Bagnall (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology (pp. 358–394). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Early Contact Between Phrygian and Greek

University of Leiden

Phrygian is an extinct Indo-European language attested from Central and West Anatolia from the 8th to the 6th century BCE as Old Phrygian, and from the 1st to 3rd century CE as New Phrygian. Before their migration to Anatolia around the turn of the second millennium BCE, the Phrygians lived in the southern Balkans in close proximity to the precursors of later Hellenes and Macedonians. Neumann's Phrygisch und Griechisch (1988) argues extensively for a common Greco-Phrygian branch of Indo-European, and the two languages remained in constant contact with each other after their separation into Proto-Greek and Proto-Phrygian, as evidenced by some early loanwords from Greek into Phrygian (e.g. pant- 'all', vanakt- 'king').

The aim of this paper is to examine those features of Phrygian that have parallels in post-Proto-Greek innovations of Greek dialects and could thus have been either areal developments or a result of Greek influence. Particular focus will be given to Lesbian Greek, which shares, among others, these features with Phrygian: a) development of -ts­­- to -ss- (e.g. Phrygian μροσσας < *mrot-yeh₂-s); b) dissimilation of *-ns­ to -i̯s (cf. Lesb. acc. pl. -ις and Phr. acc. pl. -is < *-ns); c) use of αἰ for εἰ ‘if’. The development of pre-Phrygian *-Ry-, *-Rs-, and *-sR- clusters also shares similarities with some Greek dialects.

Morphological characteristics of Phrygian will likewise be compared to Greek. One widespread post-Proto-Greek change shared with Phrygian is the adoption of the pronominal genitive ending, -οο > -ō in Greek and -ovo in Phrygian (both from *-oso), in the o-declension. The verbal system of Phrygian is currently rather poorly understood, but is also likely to shed some light on early contact between the two languages.


Beekes, R. S. P. 2010: An Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Brill: Leiden.

Brixhe, Claude. 1982: Palatalisations en grec et en phrygien: problemes phonétiques et graphiques. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 77: 209-249.

Brixhe, Claude. 1983: Epigraphie et grammaire du phrygien: état présent et perspectives. In Vineis (ed.): Le lingue indoeuropee di frammantaria attestazione. Pisa: 109-133.

Brixhe, Claude. 2002: Corpus des inscriptions paléo-phrygiennes – Supplément I. Kadmos 41: 1-102.

Brixhe, Claude. 2004: Corpus des inscriptions paléo-phrygiennes – Supplément II. Kadmos 43, 1-130.

Brixhe, Claude et Lejeune, Michel. 1984: Corpus des inscriptions paléo-phrygiennes. Institut français d’études anatoliennes: Paris.

Brixhe, Claude et Vottéro, Guy (eds.). 2006: Peuplements et genèses dialectales dans la Grèce antique. de Boccard: Paris.

Buck, Carl Darling. 1955: The Greek Dialects. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

García-Ramon, Jose Luis. 1975: Les origins postmycénniennes du groupe dialectal éolien. Édiciones Universidad de Salamanca: Salamanca.

Kortlandt, Frederik. 2016: Phrygian Between Greek and Armenian. Académie Bulgare des sciences linguistique balkanique 55, 2-3: 117-123.

Lubotsky, A. et Ligorio, O. 2013: Фригийский язык (»Frigiyskiy yazik«). In Koryakov et Kibrik (eds.): Языки мира: Реликтовые индоевропейские языки Передней и Центральной Азии. Academia: Moscow. 180-195.

Miller, D. Gary. 2014: Ancient Greek Dialects and Early Authors. De Gruyter: Boston/Berlin.

Neumann, Günter. 1988: Phrygisch und Griechisch. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: Vienna.

Rix, Helmut. 1992: Historische Grammatik des Griechischen: Laut- und Formenlehre (2e Aufl.). Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Darmstadt.

Sihler, Andrew. 1995: New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin.

Scribal awareness of contact-induced phonological features in Greek documentary papyri from Egypt

University of Oslo / Ghent University

After the conquest of Alexander the Great, Greek became the dominant language for culture, trade and administration in Egypt and many Egyptians took the effort to learn the Greek language. As we know from typological studies, the process of learning of a second language often leads to structural interference at the level of phonology and syntax in the target language (Thomason 2001: 75). The production and replication of phonological features is among the most difficult to control for adult-learners due to physiological limitations (Matras 2009: 221-222).

A range of contact-induced phonological features can be observed in specific environments in Egyptian Greek (Dahlgren 2017; Vierros 2012). Documents written by Egyptians do not only show contact-induced variation, but also clear attempts to produce standard Greek orthography, morphology and syntax (Evans 2012; Leiwo 2003). The resulting impact of the phonological changes on the orthography in historical written documents seems easier to control for the bilingual speaker, but this requires awareness of the differences between the phonological (and orthographical) systems of both languages.

In this paper I will explore the awareness of contact-induced phenomena by scribes and their communicative partners. The material is provided by conscious revisions of orthographic features in documentary papyri from Egypt. The differences between scribal corrections of contact-induced orthographic variation and widespread language-internal orthographic variation reveal important differences in awareness of these features and individual attempts to eliminate bilingual interference.

Dahlgren, Sonja. 2017. Outcome of long-term language contact Transfer of Egyptian phonological features onto Greek in Graeco-Roman Egypt. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki.

Evans, Trevor V. 2012. “Complaints of the natives in a Greek dress: the Zenon Archive and the problem of Egyptian interference.” In Alex Mullen and Patrick James (eds.), Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds, 106-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leiwo, Martti. 2003. “Scribes and Language Variation.” In Leena Pietilä-Castrén and Marjaana Vesterinen (eds.), Grapta Poikila I. Papers and Monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens 8: 1-11.

Matras, Yaron. 2009. Language Contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomason, Sarah Grey. 2001. Language Contact. An Introduction. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Vierros, Marja. 2012. Bilingual Notaries in Hellenistic Egypt. A Study of Greek as a Second Language. Brussel: KVAB Press [Collectanea Hellenistica 5].

Naming patterns in theophoric Greek names

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

We know that the proper names are a word class with a special linguistic behaviour and
differ from other lexical items in their diachronic development: on the one hand, they
are assigned to individuals, that is, they identify individuals, on the other hand, they
present peculiarities because of the intentionality of naming itself. There is no need of
agreement by the linguistic community (at least in the same measure as in other lexical
terms of the vocabulary) in the assignment of proper names. Actually, the parents can
choose the names for their children with ‘relative’ freedom.
On phonetic grounds, proper names formed in different times can coexist: they can
revive as a result of fashion, or they can also be more conservative as their form is fixed
and present archaic features which are absent in other lexical items due to the weight
of tradition.
From a morphological point of view, apart from presenting, for example, short forms
(hypocoristic) unknown in other nouns in ancient Greek, onomastic compounds are
reversible as contrasted with lexical compounds and sometimes they are not
acceptable because they make no sense, they are ‘noms irrationnels’ as Olivier Masson
called them.
Besides, onomastic fringes do not always coincide in ancient Greece with dialectological
borders, in fact we sometimes speak about onomastic areas, onomastic Bund.
However, there is a group of personal names which could get closer to the other lexical
items: theophoric names formed the largest sub-class of names type in ancient Greece.
We will focus on compounds with the name of the different gods or with the generic
term for ‘god’, θεός The important clue in this election leans on the fact that the
etymological meaning of these names is somehow heavier, as parents put their children
under the god’s protection (the small average of ‘noms irrationnels’ they offer could
justify this). There are indeed other interesting issues:

- Variety in archaic periods shows different compounds. Some of them can provide us an important attestation of infrequent lexical compounds.  
- The reversibility of the compounds seems to be justified in lexical grounds: Δεξίθεος and Θεοδέκτης for example, follow the morphological patterns of the lexical compounds.

In addition, there are some remarkable differences between the personal names of the selected corpus:
- The naming patterns are different in the compounds which bear theonyms from those formed with θεός
- The diachronic development is not the same in both cases: the θεός compounds are attested in Mycenaean Greek (te-o-do-ra) in contrast with the theonyms compounds which are nearly absent in Mycenaean and Homeric Greek.

These theophoric names were translated in Latin (Donadeus, Deusdatus) but they took
on new life with a different morphological structure as can be seen in romance
medieval examples such as Speraindeo, Deulofeu, etc.
An overall study on this type of proper names (with a seemingly more restricted
linguistic use) can be useful to reflect on the linguistic data that can be extracted from
the onomastics in the set of studies of Greek linguistics.


Aura Jorro, Francisco, Diccionario griego-micénico (DMic), Madrid 1985, 1993.
Bechtel, Friedrich, Die historischen Personennamen des Griechischen bis zur Kaiserzeit. Halle 1917
Becker, Lidia, Hispano-romanisches Namenbuch. Tübingen 2009
Colvin, Stephen, “Names in Hellenistic and Roman Lycia”, The Greco-Roman East. Politics, Culture, Society, 2004, pp.44-84.
von Kamptz, Hans, Homerische Personennamen. Jena, 1958
Landau, Oscar, Mykenisch-Griechische Personennamen. Göteborg, 1958.
Morpurgo Davies, Anna, “The morphology of Personal names in     Mycenaean    
and Greek: some observations”, Floreant Studia Mycenea, Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy, Stefan
Hiller, Oswald Panagl (eds.) Viena, 1999, pp.389-405.
Morpurgo-Davies, Anna, “Greel Personal Names and Linguistic Continuity”, Greek Personal Names. Their Value as Evidence. S. Hornblower & E. Matthews, ed. 2000, pp. 15- 39.
Morpurgo-Davies, Anna, “Après Michel Lejeune: l’anthroponymie et l´histoire de la langue grecque”, Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 145? année, N. 1, 2001. pp. 157-173.
Solin, Heikki, Die griechische Personennamen in Rom. De Gruyter 2003
Lexicon of Personal Greek Names (LGPN) P.M. Fraser et al.
DAMOS (Database of Mycenaean at Oslo), F. Aurora   


Present counterfactual conditionals and verbal mood in Homer.           

University of Oxford                                                                                        

The verbal mood of present counterfactual conditionals (“if X was happening, Y would now be happening”) in Homer is best viewed as an instance of obligatory irrealis modality. Homeric present counterfactuals differ from those in Classical Greek, showing the optative with ἄν, rather than an imperfect indicative plus ἄν. Present counterfactuals occur in Homer alongside a larger, more intensively studied corpus of past counterfactuals, which show the secondary indicative in the protasis and either the secondary indicative, or more rarely the optative, in the apodosis.

Traditional analyses, for example Ruijgh’s, account for the use of mood on the basis of the temporal reference of the conditional, whilst more recently, Willmott has argued that in past counterfactuals, mood choice is motivated by speaker perspective, or epistemic stance.  In Willmott’s model, neutral-to-positive epistemic stance is mapped to the indicative and neutral-to-negative epistemic stance to the optative.

I consider the small number (around twenty) of counterfactuals with present time reference. The secondary indicative occurs only once in a borderline case (Od.14.67), and all other examples show the optative in both protasis and apodosis. The optative occurs across the board despite the fact that the majority of examples show speaker attitudes nearer the positive epistemic stance end of the modality continuum: a circumstance which in a past counterfactual we would expect to license the indicative. These examples therefore challenge Willmott’s model, since the optative is in fact being used to encode opposite ends of the modality continuum, dependent on time reference.






Secondary Indicative


Epistemic stance


Positive epistemic stance

Positive epistemic stance




Positive epistemic stance



To reconcile the divergent uses of the optative in counterfactuals, I firstly consider the possibility that in the apodoses of present counterfactuals, the optative has future, potential, value. This is warranted by temporal progression between the protasis and apodosis. However, such an explanation fails to explain the optative in the protasis, and does not work for all examples.

Instead I suggest the optative in present counterfactuals is obligatory.  In present counterfactuals, speakers do not have the range of modal expression as in their past counterparts, and no choice of mood.  Rather, a situation counterfactual to that obtaining in the present is by default located at the lower end of the modality spectrum. Present counterfactuality thus demands the optative. This is because the reality obtaining in the utterance location at the utterance time is particularly empirically pressing for speakers, and excludes possible counterfactual situations from being valued as realis, even if they are in line with speaker epistemic stance. Anything counterfactual to present reality is automatically assigned irrealis value. This might but need not be considered as an instance of grammaticalization.

Given this use of the optative I tentatively suggest an understanding of modality in early Greek which accommodates a wider situational context than just speaker perspective, without returning to ideas of likelihood and reality. Factual happenings in the real world are a determining factor for modality and thus verbal mood.

Horrocks, Geoffrey. “On Condition… Aspect and Modality in the History of Greek.” The Cambridge Classical Journal 41 (1996): 153-173

Iatridou, Sabine. “The Grammatical Ingredients of Counterfactuality.” Linguistic Inquiry 31, no.2. (2000):231-270.

Lang, Mabel L.  “Unreal Conditionals in Homeric Narrative.” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 30, no. 1 (1989): 5-26.

Ruijgh, C.J. Le Autour de τε Epique: Études sur la Syntaxe Grecque . Amsterdam: A.M. Hakkert, 1971.

Willmott, Jo.  The Moods of Homeric Greek. Cambridge: CUP, 2007.

C.J. Ruijgh, Le Autour de τε Epique: Études sur la Syntaxe Grecque (Amsterdam: A.M. Hakkert, 1971), §230, and Jo Willmott, The Moods of Homeric Greek (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), 13.

Willmott, Moods, 120, 124.

The Greek language through the mirror of translation:

the verb γίγνομαι in the New Testament

University for Foreigners of Siena

This paper deals with the syntactic and semantic values of the verb γί(γ)νομαι and investigates them by comparing all occurrences of this verb in the New Testament and their translations in the Vulgate. The core idea is that translation is a peculiar case of language contact and that translated texts (an “external” point of view) allow us to find out some properties of the source language (an “internal” point of view) which it would be difficult to describe without this comparative perspective.

The verb γί(γ)νομαι occurs 667x in the NT. Besides the configurations in (a) and (b) which are attested since the Classical language, γί(γ)νομαι often occurs in sentences such as (c) and (d), in which the verb is impersonal and governs an accusative + infinitive clause (c) or an apparent coordinate clause (d):

(a)   καὶ ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος, καὶ ἐγένετο γαλήνη μεγάλη. (Mark 4.39)

       Et cessauit uentus, et facta est tranquillitas magna.

(b)   τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ ϕῶς. (Matthew 17.2)

       uestimenta autem eius facta sunt alba sicut nix.

(c)   Εγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι. (Luke 6.12)

       Factum est autem in illis diebus, exiit in montem orare.

(d)  Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διδάσκων. (Luke 5.17)

       Et factum est in una dierum, et ipse sedebat docens.

This study aims at investigating the following aspects. From an “internal” perspective, the different syntactic configurations of the verb were analysed, paying special attention to types (c)-(d), which are presumably an innovation, because they were not attested in previous texts. In Classical Greek γίγνομαι governs clauses introduced by ὡς and ὥστε but occurrences are rare, according to LSJ. In order to test this and provide evidence for the hypothesis that types (c)-(d) are innovations, the use of γίγνομαι in a selection of Classical texts was analysed. From an “external” perspective, the translations of γί(γ)νομαι in the Vulgate were taken into account. Gr. γί(γ)νομαι mostly corresponds to Lat. fio in the Vulgate, but some cases of lack of correspondence are interesting because they reveal nuances of the Greek verb as well as peculiarities of the source construction, e.g. Mark 4.4: καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν translated by et dum seminat; Mark 4.10: Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας, translated by Et cum esset singularis.

This study is corpus-based and adopts a distributional approach to the analysis of data. Besides the NT and the Vulgate, a selection of works by Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, Eschine, Isocrates and Demosthenes were taken into account for diachronic investigation. All the relevant forms were extracted manually and electronically (e.g. TLG, Perseus 4.0 released on WWW).

Results are expected to be useful for both Greek and general linguistics: (a) an analysis of the uses of the verb γί(γ)νομαι in the NT as well as of its diachronic changes; (b) some insights into impersonal constructions. 

The Perfect of Atelic Verbs in Homeric Greek

Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

There is still no agreement as to what unites the various readings of the Homeric perfect. The main value attributed to it is Stative-Resultative, denoting a state of the subject that presupposes a completed action (τέθνηκε ‘is dead’). When corresponding to a telic predicate, the perfect may also assume Experiential and Habitual readings. Moreover, a ‘presentic’ use of the perfect is traditionally distinguished with sound verbs (βέβρυχε ‘roars’), but also more generally beside atelic verbs (e.g. γηθέω, γέγηθα ‘am glad’).

How are these and other functions of the perfect interrelated? Usually, Stative-Resultative is considered the dominant function, inherited from PIE, whereas plain Statives (also called ‘anomalous’ perfects) are explained as secondary developments from this original function (cf. Haug 2004; García Ramón 2006; and recently Allan 2016: 102ff.). The sound verbs are often viewed as secondary intrusions, too.

These mainstream views are challenged in various recent publications. Willi (2018: 225-244), in many respects following Berrettoni (1972), argues that the perfect originally referred to persistent situations or to actions that are habitually or generically performed by a subject. He derives both the Stative-Resultative reading and the sound verbs from this perfect of persistent situation. Magni (2017) argues that pluractionality (event plurality) forms the link between sound verbs and other readings like Habitual, Intensive, and Distributive perfect, but she does not explain the link with Stative-Resultative perfects.

In this paper I will evaluate these recent proposals against the Homeric evidence. The main question is: how does transforming a given predicate into the perfect stem change its semantics? Following Berrettoni, I claim that the perfect, in opposition to the present and aorist stems, represents an event as non-dynamic. Furthermore, the perfect signals that the subject takes part in the verbal predicate as a participant property (cf. Smith 1997: 107ff.).

This claim will be illustrated by reconsidering the perfects of a number of important activity verbs: γέγηθα, δέδορκα, μέμηλα, ἔολπα. My analysis of these verbs partly confirms García Ramón’s (2006) findings, but also deviates in important respects. In the process, I argue against the claim (reiterated by Magni 2017) that the perfect may convey intensive nuances. Furthermore, denoting event plurality (Magni) or habituality (Willi) are not distinctive functions of the perfect generally; they were originally connected with reduplication, before this was generalized as a morphological perfect marker.

Finally, I will sketch how the proposed function of the perfect stem may explain the coexistence of Stative-Resultative and Experiential readings (with telic predicates) and Habitual readings (with both telic and atelic predicates).


Allan, Rutger. 2016. “Tense and Aspect in classical Greek. Two historical developments: augment and perfect”, in: S.E. Runge and C.J. Fresch (eds.), The Greek Verb revisited. A fresh Approach to Biblical Exegesis, Bellingham, 81–121.

Berrettoni, Pierangiolo. 1972. “L’uso del perfetto nel greco omerico”. SSL 12:25–170.

García Ramón, José-Luís. 2006. “Expresión del estado y tipos de lexema en griego homérico”, in: Emilio Crespo et al. (eds.), Word Classes and Related Topics in Ancient Greek, 193–217. Louvain-la-Neuve: Peeters.

Haug, Dag. 2004. “Aristotle’s kinesis/energeia-test and the semantics of the Greek perfect”. Linguistics 42, 387–418.

Magni, Elisabetta. 2017. “Pluractionality and Perfect in Homeric Greek”, in: F. Logozzo and P. Poccetti (eds.), Ancient Greek Linguistics. New Approaches, Insights, Perspectives, 325–344. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Smith, Carlota S. 1997. The parameter of aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Willi, Andreas. 2018. Origins of the Greek Verb. Cambridge: CUP.

Turn-Taking and Discourse Coherence in Ancient Greek: A Conversation Analysis Approach to the Dialogues of Plato

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

This paper is part of a wider study focused on the imitation of human conversation to be found in the dialogues of Plato. With a combined methodological framework from Conversation and Discourse Analysis, my objective is approaching these philosophical dialogues —as much as it is possible— as lively portraits of Ancient Greek talk-in-interaction. A number of phenomena related to the completion of conversation as an activity and discourse production in this context, such as ritual phrases, question-reply pairs, repair, reformulation, etc. are within the scope of my research.


This paper aims to describe the dynamics of turn-taking in Platonic dialogue, (1) depicting a general overview of turn managing and allocation in those fictive conversations; (2) distinguishing conversational patterns and situations and giving an account of the formal procedures and discourse markers involved. Furthermore, (3) the conclusions drawn from this study will provide material for a critical approach to the works of Plato, by illustrating his technique of dialogue construction.

Methodological framework

The theoretical background of my methodology is stemmed from Conversation Analysis studies (see Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974 for a first approach to turn-taking). Within this framework, turns will be examined in connection with the general structure of talk-in-interaction—the role of adjacency pair constructions and its impact in turn-taking will be particularly considered (see Schegloff 2007; van Emde Boas 2017 for ancient Greek).

The study is corpus-based on the so-called mimetic dialogues of Plato (i.e. those composed as records of direct speech). Those including more than two characters will be examined: Laques (6 characters), Gorgias (5), Theaetetus (2+3), Meno (4), Sophist (4), Politicus (4), Philebus (4), Timaeus (4), Critias (4), Theages (3), Hippias minor (3), Cratylus (3).


This research is currently a work-in-progress, but some of the results obtained so far point at a set of formal strategies repeatedly used by Plato, such as turn-initial markers (Laq.182d. Ἀλλ' ἔστι μέν, ὦ Νικία, χαλεπὸν λέγειν), repetitions and other symmetrical figures (Laq.189b-c. λέγ' οὖν ὅτι σοι φίλον, μηδὲν τὴν ἡμετέραν ἡλικίαν ὑπόλογον ποιούμενος. {ΣΩ.} Οὐ τὰ ὑμέτερα, ὡς ἔοικεν, αἰτιασόμεθα μὴ οὐχ ἕτοιμα εἶναι καὶ συμβουλεύειν καὶ συσκοπεῖν), adressee-oriented elements (such as vocatives), word order patterns, etc.

The results of this study will join an existing trend in Classics that seeks to explore the possibilities of Conversation Analysis methodologies within the corpus of ancient Greek literature. Most of the previous work on this topic has focused on tragic poetry; this paper will hopefully contribute to outline a more complete picture of Attic talk-in-interaction from one of its most celebrated imitations in prose.

Burnet, J., 1900. Platonis opera, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Drummen, A., 2016. Speaking in Turns. Conversation Analysis. In Bonifazi, Drummen & de Kreij, Particles in Ancient Greek Discourse: Five Volumes Exploring Particle Use across Genres. Hellenic Studies Series 74. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. v. III §4.

Sacks, H., Schegloff, E.A. & Jefferson, G., 1974. A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation. Language, 50 (4, Part 1), pp. 696–735.

Schegloff, E.A., 2007. Sequence Organization in Interaction, Cambridge etc.: University of Cambridge.

Schuren, L. 2014. Shared Storytelling in Euripidean Stichomythia. Leiden/Boston, Brill.

van Emde Boas, E., 2017. Language and Character in Euripides’ Electra, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Verano, R. 2015. La reformulación discursiva en griego antiguo [doctoral diss.]. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla.

The Greek suffixes in -θ-, -φ-, -ν-, and -αλ(λ)-: Traces of Non-Greek Origin?

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Brown University

The nature and extent of Pre-Greek substrate has puzzled scholars for a long time, producing several, often speculative theories, but no convincing answers. ‘Pelasgian’, an IE, non-Greek substrate language (Georgiev 1941, van Windekens 1952, 1960), has been dismissed as untenable (Hester 1964), and even the range of elements in Greek that do not follow the rules that characterize the development from PIE to Greek and might have an IE, non-Greek origin (Strunk 2003) has been restricted by the finding of new phonetic sub-rules in Greek (Hajnal 2005).

My paper offers a case study that deals with the substrate problem in a delineated area. I argue that the Greek suffixes -θ-, -φ-, -ν-, and -αλ(λ)-, which all occur with the Greek word family in *koru-, go back to a coalescence and have both a Greek and a non-IE Aegean origin. The former is confirmed by the existence, the latter by the lack of accepted IE etymologies of the nouns in which these suffixes occur. In addition, unlike in previous studies, the different origins can be materialized by identifying the suffixes with existing elements. I shall point to composition, case endings, and analogy as sources of the Greek suffixes. My argument in the case of the non-Greek origin tries a fresh and new, still experimental approach. Correspondences in form and function with Etruscan nominal suffixes give a clue to their non-IE character. Etruscan shows striking resemblances with a language from Lemnos (Lemnian), and this can be understood as an indication that a similar language was originally spoken in the Aegean area (cf. Wallace 2008: 222, Facchetti 2002: 136).

θ (< loc. *-dhi, e.g. κόρυ-θι > κόρυθ-ι → κόρυς, -υθος ‘helmet’, lit. ‘thing on the head’, γυργαθός ‘wicker-basket’) and φ (< instr. *-bhi, LB ko-ru-pi → κορυφή, κόρυφος ‘head, summit’) can be derived from PIE case endings. θ can be tracked further back to compounds with *dheh1- ‘put’ as second element (ἀγαθός), and φ ultimately to animal name compounds with *bheh2- ‘shine’ as second element (ἔλαφος ‘deer’). Conversely, whereas Etruscan -pi can only claim homophony, but has a contested function, θ features in many place and vessel names of non-Greek origin (Κάρπαθος; λήκυθος). Their local semantic suggests that they were derived from forms that featured a locative suffix similar to Etruscan -θi. The suffix -ν- occurs in nouns of PIE origin (ἀκόνη ‘whetstone, hone’ ← *h2ek̑-) and foreign provenance (λάγῡνος ‘bottle’) to which the Etruscan suffix -n attests that formed the accusative of pronouns and the archaic genitive of nouns. These forms in -n might have provided the starting point for the completion of a Greek paradigm (acc. ὄρκῡν ‘tunny’ → ὄρκῡνος, ὄρκυς) and the integration of these nouns into Greek. Lastly, the suffix -αλ(λ)- occurs in nouns of both IE (γνάφαλλον ‘flock of wool’) and non-IE origin (ἀρύβαλλος ‘purse’) and finds a phonetic match in the Etruscan and Lemnian second genitive suffix -al.

Beekes, Robert S.P. (1993): “The Position of Etruscan”. In: Gerhard Meiser (ed.), Indogermanica et Italica. Festschrift für Helmut Rix zum 65. Geburtstag, Innsbruck, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität, 46–60.

Facchetti, Giulio M. (2002): Appunti di morfologia etrusca. Con un’appendice sulla questione delle affinità genetiche dell’etrusco, Florence, Olschki.

Furnée, Edzard J. (1972): Die wichtigsten konsonantischen Erscheinungen des Vorgriechischen. Mit einem Appendix über den Vokalismus, Ianua linguarum: Series practica 150, The Hague, Mouton.

Georgiev, Vladimir I. (1941): Vorgriechische Sprachwissenschaft, Sofia, Universitätsdruckerei.

Hajnal, Ivo (2005): “Das Frühgriechische zwischen Balkan und Ägäis – Einheit oder Vielfalt?“ In: Gerhard Meiser und Olav Hackstein (eds.), Sprachkontakt und Sprachwandel. Akten der XI. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, 17.-23 September 2000, Halle an der Saale. Wiesbaden, Reichert, 185–214.

Hester, D.A. (1964): “‘Pelasgian’—A new Indo-European language?” Lingua 13,335–384.

Strunk, Klaus (2003): “‘Vorgriechisches’ / ‘Pelasgisch’: Neue Erwägungen zu einer älteren Substrathypothese.” In: Alfred Bammesberger, Theo Vennemann (eds.), Languages in Prehistoric Europe. Heidelberg, Winter, 85–98.

Wallace, Rex E. (2008): Zikh Rasna. A Manual of the Etruscan Language and Inscriptions, Ann Arbor, Beech Stave Press.

van Windekens, Albert J. (1952): Le Pélasgique. Essai sur une langue indo-europénne préhellénique, Bibliothèque du Muséon 29, Leuven, Institut Orientaliste.

van Windekens, Albert J. (1960): Études pélasgiques, Bibliothèque du Muséon 49, Leuven, Institut Orientaliste.

The impact of cartography on cardinal direction terms: evidence from Ancient Greek data

National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

According to an extensive typological study of cardinal direction terms (Brown 1983), these items are supposed to be relatively recent additions to lexicons of the world’s languages. The chief arguments are their etymological transparency in comparison to other spatial terms (such as “right/left”) and the fact that they cannot be reconstructed to Proto-Indo-European. According to Brown, absolute terms can only be helpful for mobile people, whereas languages of the remote past were spoken by small-scale societies. This explanation, however, contradicts the facts that some languages prefer absolute terms for describing small-scale spatial relations and that children tend to interpret ambiguous spatial terms as having geocentric or absolute meanings (Shusterman, Li 2016). I challenge this explanation based on data from Ancient Greek.

It is doubtful that absolute landmarks are indispensable to high mobility. People can think and speak about large-scale spatial relations not only in terms of cardinal directions and distances, but they can also represent them as routes to a destination. This strategy (known as hodological) was widespread in Ancient Greek spatial narratives, cf. Xenophon (Anab.6.4.1): ‘this portion of Thrace begins at the mouth of the Euxine and extends as far as Heracleia, being on the right as one sails into the Euxine’.

Here we observe a practical orientation strategy typical of the Greek periplus -- instruction for seafarers; it is juxtaposed to cartographic representation of space (Gehrke 1998: 189). Importantly, first maps served only as a supplement to a verbal description (Rood 2012: 133).

Hodological descriptions are still widespread in our everyday life: people show a strong preference for describing their apartments using itineraries (Linde, Labov 1975). This strategy is also reflected in grammar; cf. Talmy’s 2000 discussion of “access path” -- the strategy of marking location by directional expressions, specifying how one can reach the Figure’s location if they start from the Ground. Access paths are widely attested in Ancient Greek; I show that in texts from the VIII-III B.C., cardinal direction locatives are used mainly in dynamic constructions (88% of locative contexts), and most of them are marked by the allative preposition pros, e.g., ‘…towards the Bear (in the North)’.

I show that cardinal direction terms in Ancient Greek served as extraterrestrial landmarks in hodological narratives, along with other geocentric Grounds: in Od.5.276, e.g., Kalypso advises Odysseus to ‘keep the Bear on the left hand while sailing’, in Od.3.170 we observe the same construction with the island Chios as a landmark. I argue that absolute terms become cognitively salient as directions not with increasing mobility, but with the development of cartography and science, when the two-dimensional, cartographic way of describing large-scale spatial relations gradually replaces hodological descriptions. A similar process takes place in conventional spatial constructions: systems of access path expressions in modern descendants of Latin and Ancient Greek have been considerably reduced in favor of static strategies (Nikitina 2017: 79). These facts can be interpreted as evidence of parallel development and point to a common cognitive base underlying language-specific narrative and morphosyntactic strategies.


Brown 1983 — C. Brown. Where do cardinal direction terms come from? Anthropological Linguistics. 25, 2. P. 121-161.

Gehrke 1998 — H. J. Gehrke. Die Geburt der Erdkunde aus dem Geiste der Geometrie. Überlegungen zur Entstehung und zur Frühgeschichte der wissenschaftlichen Geographie bei den
Griechen. // in W. Kullmann, J. Althoff, and M. Asper (eds.) Gattungen wissenschaftlicher
Literatur in der Antike. Scripta Oralia 95. Tübingen: Narr. 163–92.

Linde, Labov 1975 — C. Linde, W. Labov. Spatial Networks as a Site of Language and Thought.
Language 51. P. 924–39.

Nikitina 2017 — T. Nikitina. Ablative and allative marking of static locations: A historical perspective. // in S. Luraghi, T. Nikitina, C. Zanchi (eds.) Space in Diachrony, John Benjamins. pp. 67–94.

Rood 2012 — T. Rood. Herodotus // in I. J. F. de Jong (ed.) Space in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative, Brill. P. 121–40.

Shusterman, Li 2016 — A. Shusterman, P. Li. Frames of reference in spatial language acquisition. Cognitive Psychology. P. 115-161.

Talmy 2000 — L. Talmy. Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol I & II // Cambridge (Mass): MIT Press, 2000.


Perseus Digital library, URL:

TLG — Thesaurus Linguae Graecae URL:


Schreibregeln in den frühgriechischen Silbenschriften

Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig

Die Schwierigkeit bei der Deutung mykenischer und kyprischer Texte liegt beim derzeitigen Forschungsstand nur noch selten an Problemen der Zeichendeutung. Vielmehr dreht sich die Diskussion meist um die Lesung von Wörtern in einem Schriftsystem, das nach traditioneller Auffassung als ungeeignet für die Verschriftlichung des clusterreichen Griechischen gilt. Allerdings gibt es mittlerweile neuere methodische Ansätze in der Schriftforschung, die für die Gräzistik nutzbar gemacht werden können. Am vielversprechendsten ist dabei das optimalitätstheoretische Modell, das von einer Ökonomieprämisse ausgeht: Ein Schriftsystem mit maximaler Laut-Zeichen-Relation wäre unökonomisch, wenn aber die Laut-Zeichen-Entsprechung zu gering ist, leidet die Lesbarkeit. Die Schreiber entwickeln daher Schreibregeln, die das System ausbalancieren, und da die Kriterien, auf denen diese Regeln beruhen, universal sind, lässt sich dieses implizite Regelwerk rekonstruieren. Für Silbenschriften ist dieser Ansatz allerdings bislang noch wenig genutzt worden. Dabei bieten Mykenisch und Kyprisch die ideale Untersuchungssituation, da zwei nah verwandte Dialekte, die ein nah verwandtes Schriftsystem benutzen, vor denselben praktischen Problemen stehen, dabei aber durchaus zu unterschiedlichen Lösungen kommen. Das ist auch durchaus theoriekonform, es muss lediglich nachgewiesen werden, dass diese Lösungen jeweils konsequent genutzt werden.

Man hat demnach auf der einen Seite den Input einer Sprachäußerung, die verschriftet werden soll, auf der anderen Seite eine Reihe von Lösungsoptionen, deren jeweilige Vor- und Nachteile gegeneinander abgewogen werden müssen. Eine Grundannahme der OT ist nun, dass dieses Abwägen nicht in jedem Einzelfall (und schon gar nicht bewusst) durchgeführt wird, sondern dass durch ein hierarchisch gestaffeltes System von abstrakten Beschränkungen in einem sehr effektiven Filterungsprozess die unerwünschten Kandidaten aussortiert werden. Umgekehrt kann man einem gegebenen Schriftsystem also ansehen, nach welchem Ranking es strukturiert ist. Auf diese Weise lassen sich die von der traditionellen Gräzistik postulierten, mitunter sehr komplizierten Schreibregeln auf ein straffes System von Basisregeln zurückführen, beispielsweise die Regeln für die Schreibung von Konsonantencluster:

- Auslautkonsonanten werden nicht geschrieben

- Doppelkonsonanz wird nicht geschrieben

- vorkonsonantischer silbenschließender Konsonant wird nicht geschrieben.

die auf einer Basisregel "Silbenschließender Konsonant wird nicht geschrieben" (*Coda) beruhen. Diese einfache Regel beschreibt also den Unterschied zwischen myk.

ka-ke-u                        khal.keús „Metallarbeiter“

a-mo                            hár.mos „Rad“

a-pi-do-ra                    Am.phi.dō.ra

mi-ta                           mín.tha “Minze”

i-to-we-sa                   his.tó.ue.ssa „mit einem Mast versehen“


e-ri-ke-re-we              PN. m. Eri.klé.uês

ku-pi-ri-jo                    kú.pri.jos „zyprisch“

a-da-ra-te-ja               PN f. A.drásteia

e-ru-to-ro                    eru.thrós „rot“

Entsprechende Regeln kann man, wie im Vortrag gezeigt werden soll, für das Sonderproblem der s-Cluster oder für die Schreibung von Onsetclustern aufstellen. Der Vergleich der mykenischen Regeln mit denen des Kyprischen zeigt dann, dass dort nicht einfach nur Einzelprobleme anders gelöst werden, sondern das die kyprische Schrift ebenfalls optimalitätstheoretischen Prinzipien folgt, im Falle der Clusterschreibung z.B. einer Regel, die das Parsen von Konsonanten höher rankt als das Parsen von Vokalen. Schließlich erlaubt die Analyse der Schriftregeln auch Rückschlüsse auf die Syllabifizierung der frühgriechischen Dialekte.

Für die Philologie des Frühgriechischen bietet das System der Schriftregeln ein Instrumentarium, die den Interpretationsspielraum bei der Lesung von Wörtern deutlich einschränken und die Deutungen damit erheblich erleichtern kann.


Margarita Buzalkovska-Aleksova, 1999: "Some parallel elements in Mycenaean compounds - appellatives and Personal Names", in: Florant Studia Mycenaea. Akten des X. internationalen mykenologischen Colloquiums in Salzburg vom 1.-5. Mai 1995, hg. von Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy, Stefan Hiller, Oswald Panagl, Wien, Band I, 177-184.

Consani, Carlo, 2003: Sillabe e sillabari fra competenza fonologica e pratica scrittoria, Alessandria.

Coulmas, Florian, 2003: Writing systems. An introduction to their linguistic analysis, Cambridge

Dürscheid, Christa, 20124: Einführung in die Schriftlinguistik, 4. Auflage, Göttingen.

Heubeck, Alfred, 1966: Aus der Welt der frühgriechischen Lineartafeln, Göttingen.

Schwink, Frederick W., 1999: "The efficacy of Linear B as a writing system", in: Florant Studia Mycenaea. Akten des X. internationalen mykenologischen Colloquiums in Salzburg vom 1.-5. Mai 1995, hg. von Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy, Stefan Hiller, Oswald Panagl, Wien, Band II, 549-554.