Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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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.

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Databases and Dictionaries [Papyrology and Epigraphy included]

(1,823 words)

Author(s): Maria Pantelia
Abstract The study of classical antiquity has benefited from early access to large-scale digital datasets. The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae at the University of California, digital collections of epigraphical and papyrological materials, the Perseus Project, the bibliographical database L’Année Philologique and numerous other efforts have transformed the study of antiquity and opened up new possibilities in scholarship and pedagogy. 1. History The study of classical antiquity has benefited from early access to large-scale digital datasets. Classicists were …
Date: 2013-11-01


(2,236 words)

Author(s): Flavia Pompeo
Abstract The dative is one of the five cases of the Ancient Greek nominal system. It was the result of a complex syncretic process, involving the Indo-European dative, locative and instrumental cases, which occurred in different periods of the Greek language. As a consequence of this process, the Greek dative ended up encoding a wide range of syntactic functions and semantic roles, in part typical of this case, in part inherited from the Indo-European instrumental and locative cases. This article…
Date: 2013-11-01

Declension/Conjugation (klísis), Ancient Theories of

(2,107 words)

Author(s): Lara Pagani
Abstract The expressions klísis onomátōn and rhēmátōn refer to noun and verb inflection, namely the modifications a part of speech endowed with case and a verb can undergo. An overview of the elements involved in inflection is found in the khnē grammatikḗ attributed to Dionysius Thrax: the noun is characterized by gender, number and case; the verb has moods, voices, numbers, persons, tenses. The most ancient reflection, starting from Aristotle and, subsequently, Stoic philosophy, the Hellenistic scholars, Apollonius Dyscolus and Aeli…
Date: 2014-01-22

Definiteness/Definite Article

(1,906 words)

Author(s): John Hewson
Abstract Definiteness is a quasi-universal phenomenon of linguistic usage, a by-product of the mental activity of naming, of finding names for experiential items that are perceived, remembered or imagined. In languages that have no articles, it may be expressed by random definers, or even by functional sentence position in Slavic (Krámský 1972) and in non-Indo-European languages such as Finnish (Chesterman 1991). The present article explores the expression of definiteness in Ancient Greek. 1. The notion of Definiteness The noun phrase …
Date: 2013-11-01


(8 words)

Abstract   See Curse Tablets Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Deixis (including 1st and 2nd Person)

(5,524 words)

Author(s): Anna Bonifazi
Abstract ‘Deixis’ (from the Greek verb deı́knumi ‘show’, Lat. demonstratio) is the phenomenon according to which specific words direct one’s attention to some extralinguistic entity (somebody, something, some place, some moment) whose ultimate referent remains unspecified; communication participants have to rely on the extralinguistic context to assign the intended referent. In Ancient Greek deixis often leads to complex interpretations of messages because of our insufficient knowledge about the ad hoc extra-linguistic context and because of its variations in sco…
Date: 2013-11-01

Deixis in Linguistics and Poetics

(2,792 words)

Author(s): Nancy Felson | Jared Klein
Abstract The term ‘deixis’ refers to the linguistic role of situating a referent or action in time and space. The deixis-bearing parts of speech are pronouns, adverbs, and verbs. Pronominal deixis is often associated with the three persons of conversational discourse: first person (proximal deixis), third person (distal deixis), and second person (intermediate deixis).  Poetic manipulations of deictic systems can offer audiences and readers a vivid here-and-now experience and can first situate, …
Date: 2013-11-01

Denominal Verbs

(904 words)

Author(s): Helena Maquieira
Abstract Denominal verbs are those derived from a nominal lexical base by means of derivational morphemes (usually suffixes). Denominal verbs are derived from nominal lexical bases (adjectives or nouns, although upon rare occasions from other word-classes as well) by means of derivational morphemes (usually suffixes). Denominal verbs are generally formed by means of the addition of the suffix * -jo/e- to a nominal base of any declension. By means of this suffix the PIE stems of the present tense were derived. Later on, a complete conjugation developed, …
Date: 2013-11-01

Dependency Grammar and Greek

(2,118 words)

Author(s): David Bamman
Abstract Dependency Grammar is a formalism that views syntax as a set of binary, asymmetric relationships between pairs of words. At its most basic, a word x is said to be dependent on word y if x can occur in a sentence only if y is also present. Dependency Grammar received its fullest exposition in the 20th-century works of  Tesnière (1959), Sgall et al. (1986) and Mel’čuk (1988), though some elements can be seen in the works of the Greek grammarian Apollonius Dyscolus (2nd c. CE) and later the Latin grammarian Priscian (5th c. CE) (Cov…

Derivational Morphology

(1,791 words)

Author(s): Frits Waanders
Abstract Derivation is an important device for the creation of new words from existing words by means of suffixes. Suffixes fall into several categories: verbal, substantival, adjectival, adverbial. Derivatives also fall into different categories, according to whether they are derived from verbal stems (: deverbatives) or nominal stems (: denominatives), or (seldom) some other base. A suffix may be zero (e.g., a nominal stem can also be used as a verbal stem, without any addition – apart from suf…
Date: 2013-11-01

Derveni Papyrus

(619 words)

Author(s): Theokritos Kouremenos
Abstract The Derveni papyrus is the oldest surviving Greek manuscript. It was found carbonized near Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1962, and  preserves in a fragmentary manner a previously unknown prose work written in Ionic-Attic by an unidentifiable author who interprets a theogonic poem ascribed to the mythical poet and sage Orpheus as a coded cosmological theory. A carbonized papyrus-roll found in 1962 near Derveni, a site about 10 km northwest of Thessaloniki, Greece, among the debris from a funeral pyre that had been strewn over the slabs covering a…
Date: 2013-11-01


(613 words)

Author(s): Vit Bubenik
Abstract Desideratives are secondary derivatives from verbal and nominal roots displaying stems consisting of two thematic formants:  -i-a and - s-ei. Both are documented already in Homer; in the latter language the formation in -s-ei is found above all in Doric dialects (known as ‘Doric future’). The category of desideratives is also well developed in Indo-Aryan, but in spite of certain morphological resemblances, Indo-Aryan and Hellenic developed this category independently.   Desideratives are secondary derivatives from verbal and nominal roots displaying ste…
Date: 2013-11-01


(3,342 words)

Author(s): Richard Faure
Abstract Determiners are operators used to actualize the reference of an NP. Syntactically, Classical Greek is special in that it has a definite article which serves as a boundary in the NP. Other determiners can/must co-occur with it outside the NP (demonstratives and certain quantifiers) or must not co-occur with it (indefinite tis, wh-terms). As for the interpretation, the role of the determiners in (in)definiteness, quantification, deixis and anaphora are examined. A noun by itself denotes a concept (Noun ( ónoma), Ancient Theories of); as such, it does not have a refer…
Date: 2013-11-01

Developments in Medieval and Modern Greek

(5,073 words)

Author(s): Io Manolessou
Abstract The most important characteristic of Medieval and Modern Greek is diglossia, which heavily influences linguistic history. The major phonetic changes in the vowel and consonant system take place in the Late Koine period, but are masked by the conservative spelling system. Important Medieval changes are synizesis and manner dissimilation of obstruents. Morphology and syntax change considerably in the Medieval period, with developments such as massive case syncretism, loss of grammatical ca…
Date: 2013-11-01

Deverbal Nouns

(9 words)

Abstract   See Abstract Nouns Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Deverbative Verbs

(712 words)

Author(s): Helena Maquieira
Abstract Deverbative verbs are verbs derived from a verbal lexical base by means of derivational morphemes (usually suffixes). Deverbative verbs constitute, as do denominative verbs, a type of secondary derivation by means of suffixes to create verbs from other verbs. In contrast to this type of derivation, primary derivation creates verbs from a pure base – neither nominal nor verbal – (Denominal Verbs). The creation of deverbative verbs served two basic purposes in the language. On the one hand, the Ind…
Date: 2013-11-01