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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Song and Recitation

(2,267 words)

Author(s): Liana Lomiento
Abstract In ancient Greece, the possible modes of performance of a poetic text were three: speaking or reciting, ‘recitative’, and singing. In song, the word-music relationship arises as an adaptation of the rhythmic pattern of singing to the metrical structure of the verbal chain, but a gap between the verbal text and the music gradually emerges. The other aspect concerning the musical performance of a text is the relationship between word accent and melodic intonation. In view of ancient eviden…
Date: 2013-11-01

Sonority Hierarchy

(9 words)

Abstract   See Phonology (Survey) Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Sotera Rule

(589 words)

Author(s): Dieter Gunkel
Abstract The Sotera Rule (‘ sōtêra rule’, also known as the ‘ hêma rule’ and the ‘final trochee rule’) governs the distribution of acute and circumflex on accented penultimate syllables containing a long vowel or diphthong in Attic, Ionic, and the Koine. Penultimate and final syllables containing a long vowel or diphthong (VV-syllables) may host either an acute or circumflex accent (Accentuation). In accented final VV-syllables, the distribution of acute and circumflex is essentially morphological: in nominative and accusative forms, th…
Date: 2013-11-01

Southeast Greek

(1,977 words)

Author(s): María Luisa del Barrio
Abstract The terms South or East Greek, the precursor of Attic-Ionic and Arcado-Cypriot, refer to one of the two major dialectal varieties reconstructed for the Greek of the second millennium BCE on the basis of studies by Porzig and Risch in the mid-twentieth century. The other major dialectal variety is referred to as North or West Greek, the precursor of the Doric dialects. These terms are based on the geographical locations thought to have been occupied by these dialectal groups in the second millennium BCE. The so-called Dorian invasion of ca. …
Date: 2013-11-01

Space (Adpositions)

(5,144 words)

Author(s): Luisa Brucale
Abstract This entry provides an illustration of the main ways to encode spatial relations through primary prepositions in Greek. More specifically, the function of the prepositional phrases by which Greek encodes the semantic roles of Location, Direction, Source and Path will be described. Particular attention will be devoted to the semantic role (SR) of Location, which seems to be preponderant since it can be encoded by almost all the Greek prepositions if constructed with a predicate of rest. I…
Date: 2014-01-22

Space (Cases)

(3,036 words)

Author(s): Luisa Brucale
Abstract In Greek the distinction between static and dynamic spatial relationships is grammatically encoded by the interaction of cases and adpositions. The use of bare cases (dative, genitive and accusative) in the encoding of spatial relations of Location, Source, Direction and Path is not systematic and is restricted to specific lexical domains. 1. Introduction The issues relating to the linguistic expression of space are on the agenda of contemporary linguistic debate. The cognitive and functional approaches to the internal organization of lang…
Date: 2014-01-22


(816 words)

Author(s): Alcorac Alonso Déniz
Abstract Spirantization is the change whereby oral stops turn into fricatives. Spirantization (Consonant Changes) is the change of oral stops to fricatives (spirants). Voiced stops undergo spirantization as a result of the reduction of oral compression to facilitate glottal voicing: /b/ > /β/, /d/ > /ð/ and /g/ > /ɣ/. In voiceless aspirated stops, the release is often misinterpreted by listeners as frication, i.e. /pʰ/ > /pᵠ/, /tʰ/ > /tᶿ/ and /kʰ/ > /kˣ/, and these affricates further evolve into fricatives /f/, /θ/ and /x/ ( Stuart-Smith 2004:202-203). Ancient Greek voiceless asp…
Date: 2013-11-01


(279 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract A split arises when allophones of a phoneme cease to be in complementary distribution and thereby become distinct phonemes. A phonemic split occurs when two allophones of a phoneme cease to be in complementary distribution: each takes on a life of its own and the original phoneme ‘splits’ into two over time. The process is also called ‘ phonologization’, since an allophone becomes its own phoneme over time. Split sounds themselves do not change. Rather it is the merger of other sounds in their environment that causes the phonemic status of the sounds inv…
Date: 2013-11-01

Stative (and Middle/Medium) Verbs

(1,551 words)

Author(s): Rutger Allan
Abstract Proto-Indo-European probably had three voice categories: active, middle and stative voice. The stative voice was morphologically distinguished from the act. and mid. by its personal endings and semantically by its stative meaning. According to some scholars, Proto-Indo-European (PIE) (Indo-European Linguistic Background) had three voice categories: active, middle (mediopassive) and stative voice ( Oettinger 1976, 1993, Rix 1988, Kümmel 1996, Meier-Brügger 2010). The stative voice was morphologically marked off  from the act. and mid. by its …
Date: 2013-11-01


(2,906 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Stress is an abstract property of syllables that often attracts length, loudness, and pitch. Whether Greek had stress or not is not known; evidence for stress in Greek comes from poetic meter and from phonological and morphological considerations including the placement of the recessive pitch accent. Modern Greek has stress (like English or Spanish) and it generally has stress where Ancient Greek had a written accent-mark (acute ´ or circumflex ˆ); orthographically, stress is shown in Modern Greek with an acute accent over the stressed vo…

Structural Linguistics and Greek

(2,173 words)

Author(s): John Hewson
Abstract The governing principle of Structural Linguistics can be stated very simply: every language is a coherent system of systems (Saussure 1916:26, 29, 32, et passim). The phonological system of a language, for example, though not directly observable, is reconstructible from the allophonic data (using the traditional comparative method), and can normally be presented on less than a single page. It typically has subsystems of consonants and vowels, which in turn may have their own subsystems: vowels may have subsyste…
Date: 2014-01-22

Style (léxis), Ancient Theories of

(3,503 words)

Author(s): Casper C. de Jonge
Abstract The ancient Greek study of style ( léxis) emerged in the context of rhetorical teaching. Both orators and writers choose words and arrange them in order to communicate effectively. Starting from the assumption that a thought can be expressed in different ways, Greek rhetoricians developed a set of elaborate theories of style, which gradually achieved high levels of refinement. The third book of Aristotle’s Rhetoric set the scene for systematic studies of style in Hellenistic and Imperial rhetoric, philology and philosophy. Among the most influential …
Date: 2013-11-01


(1,926 words)

Author(s): Eirik Welo
Abstract The subject in Greek may be identified as the element which agrees with a finite verb. In addition, the subject is the only candidate to undergo raising. The subject in a finite clause is marked by nominative case. The subject of an infinitive or participle may carry nominative or other cases depending on whether it is coreferent with the subject of a governing verb or not. 1. Introduction Subject is the name given to a central grammatical function identifiable in most of the world’s languages. Whether subject is a linguistic universal is the topic of on…
Date: 2014-01-22

Subjunctive (Morphology of)

(902 words)

Author(s): Nikolaos Lavidas
Abstract Homeric Greek, East Ionic, and many other dialects (but not Attic-Ionic) continue the Indo-European subjunctive of athematic stems (the ‘short-vowel subjunctive’), while Classical Greek replaces all athematic types of subjunctive with the subjunctive of thematic stems (the ‘long-vowel subjunctive’). The subjunctive is most typically used in subordinate clauses and expresses a hortatory, a prohibitive, or a deliberative meaning. The subjunctive mood (Mood and Modality), also called ‘conjunctive’ ( Jannaris 1897:179, Schwyzer & Debrunner 1950:309-319) signals …
Date: 2013-11-01


(4,415 words)

Author(s): Pierluigi Cuzzolin
Abstract In Ancient Greek subordination was formally expressed basically by means of two different strategies: the one, presumably going back to the oldest stages of Proto-Indo-European and conservative, was expressed by non-finite verbal forms, such as infinitives, verbal nouns and participles, all of nominal origin; whereas the other, even though equally old, was expressed, in its simplest structure, by a conjunction plus a finite form of the verb. This pattern represents an innovative feature …
Date: 2014-01-22


(8 words)

Abstract   See Derivational Morphology Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27


(1,876 words)

Author(s): Angela Ralli
Abstract The article presents the realization of suppletion in Ancient Greek; it provides examples illustrating the affected categories, i.e., lexemes and functional elements, and shows that suppletion abundantly arises in the context of inflection but is also present in other word-formation processes. 1. Introduction The term suppletion derives from the Latin verb suppleō ‘fill up, make up for a loss’, and first appears in linguistics in the late 19th c. ( Osthoff 1899). With the advent of structuralism in the 20th c., the term has been established for denoting a phenom…
Date: 2013-11-01