Addition to the Bibliography

Today I had the pleasure of adding Rachel Aubrey’s masters thesis to the Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics. Hellenistic Greek Middle Voice: Semantic Event Structure and Voice Typology is a significant addition to the literature on Hellenistic Greek Linguistics, and now it is available for free download at the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CANIL).

The thesis has already garnered attention online. Seumas Macdonald began a series of blog posts on it at The Patrologist in mid April. James Spinti has posted three short comments about its implications at, and Michael Aubry (Rachel’s spouse) posted a notice about it at last week. It is a pleasure to add my voice to the attention the thesis is rightfully attracting.

Rachel Aubrey also has a chapter related to her thesis in The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis: “Motivated Categories, Middle Voice, and Passive Morphology.” I have an order placed for a physical copy of the book so that I can mark it up with my own comments in the margins! When it arrives I will finally get around to entering all of the papers in the bibliography!

Hellenistic Greek Pronunciation (again)

Today I found two videos by Tim McNinch that do a great job of teaching the Hellenistic (Koine) pronunciation of the Greek alphabet. I have added them both to the alphabet page at I am very grateful to Tim for the work he put into these!

The Letters of the Alphabet
The Vowels and Diphthongs

I had a bit more to say about pronunciation in April of last year when I announced the revision of the alphabet page. 2020

From time to time it becomes necessary to overhaul a website because technology has advanced or material has become outdated. I have now launched the 2020 rebuild of

While I have proofread the pages, it is very easy to read past one’s own mistakes without seeing them. If you notice a typographical error or other problem on one of the pages, please feel free to point it out. You can do that using the contact form linked in the menu above.

Here is some of what you can expect to see:

  1. A dramatic new look.
    The new brightly colored header loads faster and is more versatile than its darker predecessor.
  2. Updates to the content of every page.
    While the changes to some pages are fairly minor, such as including a discussion of a web resource that was not included last year, or correction of links for resources that have moved, other pages required a more large-scale overhaul.
    1. What used to be the alphabet page, for example, has been replaced by a series of smaller pages, one for each letter. I made this change in August of 2019 and discussed it here in a post on pronunciation of Ancient Greek. Pronunciation examples are now included for Classical, Hellenistic, and Modern Greek.
      For this most recent update I corrected a number of formatting problems to make the pages load more smoothly on a variety of types of devices.
    2. The bibliographies page now includes a bibliography of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar and a bibliography of Pragmatics. I also added the Association for Computational Linguistics’ Anthology, a collection of over 50,000 papers on computational linguistics and natural language processing.
    3. The dictionaries page has picked up two Spanish language dictionaries of Ancient Greek as well as adding Kata Biblon, where you can find a wiki dictionary in English for Biblical Greek. I also added because it’s ancient Greek coverage has grown significantly this year.
    4. A fair amount has changed for epigraphy on the web this year, and most of the changes to the epigraphy page at have consisted of catching up with the new locations of resources already listed there, removing a small amount of material no longer available, and rewriting some of the descriptions of particular resources to more accurately reflect their current state.
    5. A number of fonts that used to be available online have become outdated or the sites where they were housed have deleted them. Revisions to the fonts page consisted of eliminating listings of these outdated items.
    6. Two new forums for people learning Ancient Greek as a living language have developed in recent years, and both have been added to the forums page.
    7. Changes to the history of Greek page are mainly cosmetic.
    8. On the learn Greek page, I have improved coverage of communicative approaches, both for Hellenistic Greek and Classical Greek.
    9. The manuscripts page required a considerable amount of work as resources on the web have moved, some have disappeared, and others have become more restricted. Many images of manuscripts that were available a year ago are no longer available at the same sites.
    10. The world of software for learning and maintaining competence in Ancient Greek is growing rapidly, and I have not been able to review all of the products that have become available this year, so there is much that still needs to be added to the software page, especially software for use on hand-held devices.

I hope you enjoy the new version of the site and find it useful.

Cognitive Linguistics in Classical Greek Studies, a new open access book

On the B-Greek discussion list Stephen Carlson recently announced the open access version of Toward a Cognitive Classical Linguistics, and Mike Aubrey discussed it briefly at

I’m adding a few comments that may be of use to readers here at

The volume is a collection of papers on Greek and Latin from the perspective of Cognitive Linguistics. What the title means by “Classical Linguistics” is the use of linguistic theories in the field of Classical Studies.

Many of the papers gathered in this volume were presented at the 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-13) in Newcastle, UK in July 2015. Others were invited by the editors to broaden the book’s theoretical horizon and include voices from a wider range of disciplines.

Here’s what you will find inside:

Frontmatter, pages I-IV

Contents, pages V-VIII

Introduction. Toward a cognitive classical linguistics
Egle Mocciaro and William Michael Short, pages 1-15

1 Aspect and construal A cognitive linguistic approach to iterativity, habituality and genericity in Greek
Rutger J Allan, pages 16-41

2 A construction-grammar analysis of ancient Greek particles
Annemieke Drummen, pages 42-68

3 The embodied basis of discourse and pragmatic markers in Greek and Latin
Chiara Fedriani, pages 69-92

4 Reversive constructions in Latin: the case of re- (and dis-)
Luisa Brucale, pages 93-125

5 Autόs and the center-periphery image schema
Anna Bonifazi, pages 126-148

6 Aspects of aural perception in Homeric Greek
Silvia Luraghi and Eleonora Sausa

7 The role of spatial prepositions in the Greek lexicon of garments
Maria Papadopoulou, pages 176-206

8 Metaphor by any other name. A cognitive linguistic reassessment of Aristotle’s theory of metaphor
Greg Membrez, pages 207-227

9 Animus inscriptus An out-of-body embodiment?
Christopher Collins, pages 228-244

10 Metaphorical word order
Luca D’Anselmi, pages 245-270

pages 271-273

Wooden Nativity Scene

Kαλὰ Χριστούγεννα / Merry Christmas 2019

While no one in the first century would have said Merry Christmas (Kαλὰ Χριστούγεννα) because the early Church had not yet begun celebrating Christmas, if they had said it, it would have sounding like the recording above. At least that’s what the best evidence for Hellenistic Greek pronunciation suggests.

In 2019 Merry Christmas is a widely used greeting at this time of year, of course, and if you would like to deliver the message in Hellenistic Greek, I hope the recording helps. May you and your family have a beautiful Christmas this year.

Today I received notice that (Benjamin Kantor) has completed the remaining chapters of the reading of the Gospel of Mark in Koine Greek, including the addition of subtitles. This is a wonderful Christmas gift to the larger community of people learning Hellenistic Greek.

You can view the videos (chapter by chapter) at

Kαλὰ Χριστούγεννα.

Recommended Blog Post

A couple of days ago, Seumas Macdonald, on The Patrologist blog, posted a great list of useful questions to use in communicative Ancient Greek classes. They will work just as well for Koine or Classical Greek. You can find his list here:

Baby beginning to speak Greek

Pronouncing Ancient Greek

This week I have completed a major overhaul of the Alphabet page at Now there are pronunciation examples for every letter in Modern Greek, Hellenistic Koiné, and Attic Greek. Most of these examples include an audio recording for clarity.

The audio recordings for ancient Greek use the reconstructed historical pronunciations. The Erasmian pronunciation is not included since it does not represent a well researched reconstruction of the actual pronunciation of Greek at any period.

Choose a letter below to see an example.

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

Diphthongs and Digraphs

I have also added a section on diphthongs and digraphs. Where possible I have included recordings for these as well, but I do not have good recordings for all of them yet.

A diphthong is a pair of vowel sounds pronounced as a single syllable with the first sound gliding into the other.

A digraph is a pair of letters used to represent a single meaningful sound (phoneme).

Some of the pairs of letters below were true diphthongs in one historical period, but had become digraphs by another. In the case of αυ, ευ, and ηυ they were diphthongs in the classical period (Attic), but had become vowel/consonant pairs by the hellenistic era.

αι ει οι ου υι αυ ευ ηυ μπ ντ

I hope you find these materials helpful.

Smyth Greek Grammar and a diagram

Semantic Roles in the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank

I have added the following article to the bibliography at

While the use of the term “semantic role” in the title of this article sounds like what is discussed in posts on argument structure or Construction Grammar here at, the list of such roles referenced by Celano and Carne is quite different. They used Smyth’s, A Greek Grammar for Colleges to derive their list.

While this is an understandable decision, since that text is freely available online and it uses traditional categories students of Greek Grammar will readily recognized, Smyth’s grammar was written well before modern approaches to semantic roles were invented, so the names of some of the roles, and to a significant extent their definitions, will seem odd to linguists not familiar with traditional approaches to Greek Grammar.

Journal of Greek Linguistics

Verbal Semantics in Ancient Greek Possessive Constructions with eînai

In 2015 Maria Carmela Benvenuto and Flavia Pompeo published an article in the Journal of Greek Linguistics with the title above. The theoretical framework they use is Construction Grammar. The version of “Ancient Greek” they examine spans from Homer to the mid 300’s BCE, so it is prior to the era of our focus, but it fits well with work done by others on the Greek of the New Testament.

Both Simon Wong and Paul Danove have applied Construction Grammar to New Testament texts.

While I do not work within the Construction Grammar framework, I have argued elsewhere that similar information should be included in new lexica/dictionaries for ancient Greek and could be very useful in the context of language acquisition resources.

In my paper “Argument Structure in Hellenistic Greek” I used terminology intended to be understandable from the point of view of multiple theoretical frameworks, but the data are the same as those discussed by these proponents of Construction Grammar.

The value of Benevuto and Pompeo’s paper is that it demonstrates a specific difference in semantic relations correlating with a particular difference in morph-syntactic marking in Greek (genitive versus dative possessive constructions). Do their conclusions hold for the hellenistic data? Are any of you willing to take on the task of doing the research to see?

Benevuto and Ponpeo’s paper is available online. You can read it on Brill’s website or download a PDF copy there.
(They use transliterated Greek text, probably to make their work more accessible to readers who have not mastered the Greek alphabet, but it is not too much of a annoyance for those of us who have.)

Coderch, Classical Greek: A New Grammar

World News in Ancient Greek

Dr. Juan Coderch, University of St. Andrews (Scotland) maintains a website that provides world news in Ancient Greek. The site provides thoughtful discussions of some of the difficulties faced in producing current news articles in an ancient language.

In 2012 Dr. Coderch published a new reference grammar for Classical Greek. Reviews of the book have been very positive. A reference grammar is not necessary for acquiring ancient Greek, but it’s a great help for resolving difficulties you encounter in advanced texts, including his own news articles.

You can download a copy of the grammar as a PDF file for free, but at nearly 400 pages it will probably cost you as much to print it yourself as it would to order the bound copy from