Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

Purchase Access
Subject: Language and Linguistics

General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis
Associate Editors: Vit Bubenik, Emilio Crespo, Chris Golston, Alexandra Lianeri, Silvia Luraghi, Stephanos Matthaios

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics (EAGLL) is a unique work that brings together the latest research from across a range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of Ancient Greek. It is an indispensable research tool for scholars and students of Greek, of linguistics, and of other Indo-European languages, as well as of Biblical literature.

Subscriptions: brill.com

Ablaut (Apophony, Gradation)

(1,951 words)

Author(s): Melanie Malzahn
Abstract Gradation (= apophony) or ablaut is a morphologically induced vowel change between the zero-grade (= no ablaut vowel), full grade (ablaut vowels e or o), and lengthened grade (ablaut vowels ē or ō). Due to phonological conservatism, the PIE gradation e/o/zero was well preserved in Greek roots while the lengthened grade was mostly given up. In derivational suffixes ē and ō ablaut was retained and even spread. 1. Definition Gradation is a morphologically induced vowel alternation also called apophony (from Ancient Greek apophōnḗ) or ablaut (a German term based on the term Umlaut…
Date: 2013-11-01

Absolute Construction

(6 words)

See Genitive Absolute
Date: 2014-01-27

Abstract Nouns

(2,506 words)

Author(s): Germana Olga Civilleri
Abstract Abstract nouns (ANs) are a very heterogeneous class. Any semantic definition of such a class cannot describe it as a whole. Yet ANs can be described by means of the functional (semantic and pragmatic) criterion of reference, i.e., the property of linguistic signs to refer to objects in the extra-linguistic world. Even if an extensive definition of ANs cannot be given at any other level, this article will describe the category in Ancient Greek from the perspective of the linguistic levels which show its most significant facets, i.e., mainly morphology, but also syntax. Abstract n…
Date: 2013-11-01


(3,809 words)

Author(s): Dieter Gunkel
Abstract The accent marks in modern editions of Ancient Greek texts primarily reflect the accentual system of an educated register of the Koine of the early 2nd c. BCE. In this system, phonological, morphological, and lexical factors conspire to associate a pitch accent with one syllable of each lexical word. The phonology of the language permits limited contrasts in accentual position ( lithobólos vs. lithóbolos) and type ( isthmoí vs. isthmoî); in the latter case, the syllable marked with an acute accent hosts a High tone, and that marked with a circumflex hosts…
Date: 2013-11-01


(811 words)

Author(s): Carlo Consani
Abstract Language accommodation is the tendency of a speaker to modify linguistic behavior according to interlocutor characteristics. Two factors, namely structural differences between the languages involved and the degree of reciprocal prestige of interlocutors, determine the degree of language accommodation. Instances of this phenomenon appear in archaic and Hellenistic inscriptions, as well as in literary works. Language accommodation (LA) is the tendency of a speaker to modify linguistic behavior according to interlocutor characteristics. “Langua…
Date: 2013-11-01


(3,911 words)

Author(s): Nikolaos Lavidas
Abstract The accusative case in Ancient Greek expresses both the syntactic feature of the direct object of transitive verbs and the semantic feature of total affectedness, as is obvious from its adverbial uses and its alternation with other cases or prepositional phrases. A double accusative is governed by some verbs, denoting the affected person and the Theme. When there is alternation of case (or case and preposition) in Ancient Greek, the accusative expresses the semantic role of Patient and d…
Date: 2013-11-01


(2,523 words)

Author(s): Julián Méndez Dosuna
Abstract Achaean was a Doric dialect spoken in Achaea and its colonies in Magna Graecia. In the Hellenistic period the Achaean League used a Koina with a Doric base. 1. Historical Background Achaea extended along the northernmost part of the Peloponnese from Sicyon in the East to Elis in the West. To the South a high mountain range separated it from Arcadia. The region remained economically and culturally irrelevant throughout the Archaic and Classical period. Trying to escape from overpopulation, Achaean colonists founded Syb…
Date: 2013-11-01

Action Nouns

(691 words)

Author(s): Vit Bubenik
Abstract There are several suffixes deriving nouns of action in Greek (- sis, -sí-ā, -eí-ā, -mós, -tū́s). In this article their productivity and distribution are discussed. In Greek, action nouns ( nomina actionis ) are derived by means of the following suffixes (Derivational Morphology): i. - sis (<*tis) ii. - sí-ā iii. - eí-ā iv. -mós and -ma v. -tū́s (i) - sis is the most productive action suffix: lú-ō ‘loosen’ > lú-sis ‘loos(en)ing, setting free’. It goes back to PIE *-ti ( phú-sis ‘nature’ < *bhū-ti, cf. Skt. bhū́-ti ~ bhū-tí ‘being, ability’). In Mycenaean and East Greek (Ionic), -…
Date: 2013-11-01

Activa Tantum

(327 words)

Author(s): Rutger Allan
Abstract Activa tantum are verbs that lack a middle and a passive voice in the present, aorist and perfect stems. Activa tantum (‘active only’) are verbs that lack a middle (mediopassive) and a passive voice (Passive (syntax), Passive (morphology)) in the present, aorist and perfect stems. Activa tantum are typically intransitive (Transitivity). Examples are: áēmi ‘blow’, baínō ‘come, go’, eîmi ‘go’, eimí ‘be’, eméō ‘vomit’, ethélō ‘want, be prepared’, geláō ‘laugh’, gēthéō ‘rejoice’, hérpō ‘creep’, khézō ‘ease oneself’, ménō ‘stay’, noséō ‘be ill’, nostéō ‘return’, omikhéō ‘uri…
Date: 2013-11-01


(647 words)

Author(s): Rutger Allan
Abstract Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories: active voice, middle voice and passive voice. The active voice is marked by active endings: , - eis, -ei, etc. The active voice can be viewed as the unmarked member in a privative opposition. The verbal grammatical category of voice pertains to the relationship between syntactic roles and semantic roles (agent, patient and experiencer). Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories: active voice, middle voice, and passive voice (Voice). The act. voice is marked by act. endings: , - ei…
Date: 2013-11-01


(349 words)

Author(s): Christina Sevdali
Abstract Addressee is the semantic role of the indirect object or three-place predicates of saying. In Greek addressees are expressed with the dative case and prepositional phrases with eis and pr ós ‘to’. According to Luraghi (2003), addressee is the role taken by the third argument of some three-place predicates, typically verbs of ‘saying’. Addressees are typically human. In Indo-European languages in general, and Greek in particular, addressees are typically encoded by the dative case, although they can appear with some prepositional phrases introduced with eis and prós. With …
Date: 2013-11-01

Adjectives (Morphological Aspects of)

(1,746 words)

Author(s): Frits Waanders
Abstract Ancient Greek adjectives fall into four groups, by two criteria: 1) they have either three (masc., fem, neut.) or two (masc./fem., neut.) inflections; 2) masc. and neut. are inflected as either 2nd declension stems ( o-stems) or 3rd declension stems. Simple adjectives are normally of three endings, compound adjectives of two endings. Feminines, if they have separate forms, are always inflected as 1st (vocal) declension stems, either in or beside masc. o-stems, or in beside masc. cons. stems. Degrees of comparison: either -teros (comp.) and -tatos (sup.), or -(i)ōn (co…
Date: 2013-11-01


(1,568 words)

Author(s): Emilio Crespo
Abstract Adjuncts (also called adverbials and satellites) are syntactically omissible constituents of a sentence or clause, or of a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverbial or adpositional phrase. In contrast to arguments, adjuncts can be omitted without any effect on the grammaticality of the construction, except to dismiss the piece of information given by the silenced constituent. The term adjunct is also employed with a narrower sense to refer only to those omissible constituents that contribute to the verbal representation of an event and are lia…
Date: 2013-11-01

Adoption of the Ionic alphabet in Attica

(2,674 words)

Author(s): Angelos P. Matthaiou
Abstract This entry examines the introduction and use of the Ionic script (individual letters or the Ionic script as a whole) in the Attic inscriptions dated before the archonship of Eucleides (403/2 BCE). In public documents the complete Ionic script is used sporadically well before 403/2 and systematically in the last decade of the 5th c. BCE. It was thought that the Ionic script was used only in documents closely related to Ionia. The reexamination of public documents written in the Ionic scri…
Date: 2014-01-22

Adpositional Phrase

(5,163 words)

Author(s): Silvia Luraghi
Abstract Adpositional phrases can feature primary adpositions, belonging to the lexical class of PIE preverbs, or secondary adpositions, variously connected with adverbs or with nominal forms. Primary adpositions could precede or follow their nouns in Hom. Gk., while in Classical Gk. they are virtually restricted to prenominal position (prepositions).  In Hom. Gk., adpositional phrases are emergent, and  feature low constituency. However, adpositions can be said to govern noun phrases to the exte…
Date: 2013-11-01

Adpositions (Prepositions)

(5,275 words)

Author(s): Pietro Bortone
Abstract Virtually all Greek adpositions can be traced in form back to Indo-European, and were probably inflected nouns. Greek, from Mycenaean on, used adpositions increasingly. The combination of adpositions with a particular case was semantically motivated, and the semantic range of adpositions was a network of metaphors. Homeric Greek preserves a stage when ‘local particles’ could be independent of the noun, precede it or follow it, while in Classical Greek such particles are fully-established…
Date: 2013-11-01

Adverbial Clause

(8 words)

Abstract   See Clause Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Adverbial Constituents

(3,638 words)

Author(s): Emilio Crespo
Abstract Adverbial constituents are, in the strict sense, adverbs or adverb phrases that function as a single unit within an immediately higher syntactic structure. In a broader and commoner sense, which only takes into account their semantic value, adverbial constituents or merely adverbials refer to words, phrases and clauses that, being a single part of an immediately higher syntactic unit, express a semantic role that is typically expressed by adverbs. Finally, since adverbials are generally …
Date: 2013-11-01


(2,220 words)

Author(s): Jesús de la Villa
Abstract Adverbs were first proposed as a class of words by the ancient Greek grammarians based on two distinctive features: their morphological invariability ( ákliton ‘without inflection’) and their semantic and syntactic association with the verb, as is signified by their name: epírrēma ‘attached to the verb’ (translated into Latin as aduerbium). However, no common semantic, morphological, or syntactic features have been identified for all the terms traditionally classified as adverbs. Moreover, most adverbs do not have exclusive features tha…
Date: 2013-11-01

Adverbs (Morphological Aspects of)

(3,139 words)

Author(s): Emilio Crespo
Abstract This entry deals with morphological aspects of the words traditionally classed as adverbs, leaving aside the adverbial uses of particles, which morphologically belong to the lexicon. By adverbs is meant a lexical class of words that have an invariable form and can perform the function, among others, of complement of a predicate, but not those of subject, direct object or indirect object (except in metalinguistic sentences). Most members of this word class express a single semantic role a…
Date: 2013-11-01
▲   Back to top   ▲