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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Variation in Mycenaean Greek

(1,335 words)

Author(s): Celestina Milani
Abstract There has been much debate regarding the nature of ‘variation’ in Mycenaean texts. A number of proposals regarding the dialect position of Mycenaean will be briefly surveyed, and salient examples of morphological and phonetic/pho‘‘nological variants in Mycenaean texts will be discussed.   There has been much debate regarding the nature of ‘variation’ in the Linear B texts. Pertinent to this issue is the dialect position of Mycenaean within the Hellenic branch of Indo-European. A number of proposals were formulated: 1. Mycenaean is a forerunner of Arcado-Cypri…
Date: 2014-01-22

Vendryes’ Law

(736 words)

Author(s): Ignacio Rodriguez Alfageme
Abstract The term ‘Vendryes’ Law’ refers to the retraction of accent from a long penult ( egôge ‘I at least’) to a short antepenult ( égōge) in Attic and Koine. Also known as the “law of properispomena in Attic” or “law égōge”, the original formulation of Vendryes’ Law is that “all properispomena with a short antepenultimate syllable became in Attic proparoxytone” (Vendryes 1905:221). Generally, we can say that this law is a manifestation of the tendency, present also in Wheeler’s Law and the Sōtêra rule, to retract the accent as far back as possible. Schematically, the change…
Date: 2014-01-22

Verba Dicendi

(739 words)

Author(s): Sarah Rose
Abstract Verbs of speaking (verba dicendi) are among the most prominent and plentiful lexemes in the literature of Ancient Greece, reflecting the high esteem in which the power of speech was held in the largely oral Indo-European culture. Because of their common occurrence and central position through all periods of the language, verbs of speaking provide an opportunity to track changes in the lexical nuances and semantics of the verbs themselves, whereas the syntactic changes may also be observed in the subordinate structures which follow these verbs in ‘reported speech’. Verba dic…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verbal Adjectives

(4,285 words)

Author(s): Liana Tronci
Abstract Verbal adjectives are characterized both by the use of verbal roots/stems as their lexical basis and the presence of adjectival morphosyntactic properties such as gender, number and case: e.g.  exairetéo- ‘to be taken out or removed’ (affix - téo- which expresses necessity) and  exairetó- ‘removable’ (affix - - which expresses possibility), from the verb  exairéō ‘I take out, remove’. The - téo- forms have a predicative function and occur in syntactic constructions which can be compared to the Latin gerund and gerundive constructions, whereas the - - forms may also h…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verbal System (Tense, Aspect, Mood)

(5,755 words)

Author(s): Vit Bubenik
Abstract The present treatment recognizes an essential dichotomy of synthetic versus analytic morphology and argues for a strict separation of tense and aspect. Traditional morphological categories are linked with semantic categories: present  and imperfect with Imperfective, aorist with Perfective, and perfect and pluperfect with Perfect / Retrospective. Morphological encoding of these categories is discussed in terms of several dichotomies: thematic versus athematic inflection, primary vs. seco…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verbal Valency

(2,183 words)

Author(s): Coulter George
Abstract Verbal valency (or valence) refers to the number of arguments that are required by the syntax of a particular verb. For instance, if a verb is intransitive and takes only a subject, then it has a valency of one; if it is transitive and takes both a subject and a direct object, it has a valency of two. Perhaps the most important ramification of verbal valency lies in the category of voice: the passive can be understood as a strategy for reducing the valency by one in that, by promoting an…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verba Sentiendi

(734 words)

Author(s): Sarah Rose
Abstract Verba sentiendi, verbs of perception, refer to physical and/or mental perception: ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘taste’, ‘perceive’, ‘learn’, etc. Many derive from roots with a general meaning, ‘perceive by the senses’, later moving to a specific sense. Their plentiful occurrence and central position at all stages of Greek provide an avenue for tracking changes in lexicon, syntax and semantics. Verba sentiendi, ‘verbs of perception’, are those which refer to physical and/or mental perception: blépō ‘see, have the power of sight’ , horáō ‘see’, theáomai ‘gaze on, look at’, akoúō ‘hear’, ak…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verb Phrase

(4,709 words)

Author(s): Maria Napoli
Abstract By definition, a verb phrase is a phrase (i.e., a word or a sequence of words which functions as a single unit in the sentence, forming a constituent) the head of which is a verb. In the literature on Greek, it is not unanimously accepted that the verb and its direct object form a verb phrase. What is disputed, in other words, is the theoretical usefulness of this notion if applied to Greek. Indeed, features such as free word order, discontinuity (including hyperbaton), lack of expletive…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verb (rhêma), Ancient Theories of

(2,158 words)

Author(s): Alfons Wouters | Pierre Swiggers
Abstract The term rhêma (verb), which is related to the act and result of saying, developed into a technical term of grammar. It was specialized as a designation of the basic unit of sentential predication, viz. the verb, and was characterized by a number of formal and semantic features (such as ‘tense’ and ‘voice’). Together with the noun, the rhêma was considered a fundamental part of speech throughout the later history of Western grammatical theory. The original, non-technical meaning of rhêma, from its earliest attestations in the Ionic and Attic texts onwards, was t…
Date: 2013-11-01


(2,087 words)

Author(s): Liana Lomiento
Abstract In the ancient notion of ‘verse’, the central concept is that of ‘measure’. Ancient theory identified nine fundamental meters. The composition of metrical units through the repetition of the same or the combination of different basic metrical units was able to explain, in that theory, all the variety of Greek versification. In lyric poetry, the measure of dimeter seems to have been the main component. In modern scholarship, with the decisive influence of August Boeckh, a new notion of ‘v…
Date: 2013-11-01