Finite vs. non-finite complementation in Post-classical and Early Byzantine Greek

Journal of Greek Linguistics

About a year or so ago, I added Klaas Bentein’s paper from the first issue of 2017 of the Journal of Greek Linguistics to the bibliography at Greek-Language.com (and GreekLinguistics.com). The article treats forms of complementation for verbs in the post-classical and early Byzantine periods. I decided today to write a little more about that article to give you a clearer idea of what it does.

Between the Classical and Hellenistic periods and beyond, there was significant change in the types of complementation used most commonly. In this article, Bentein responds to Cristofaro’s 1996 claim in Discourse Cohesion in Ancient Greek that the Classical opposition between the accusative and infinitive being used for non-factive complements, while ὅτι with either the indicative and the accusative or the participle were used for factive ones, was disappearing in the post-classical era, with ὅτι coming to be used as a ‘generic’ complementiser.

Looking at documentary texts, including papyri, from the first to the eighth centuries CE, Bentein examines several categories of verbs (causative verbs, verbs used to give orders, verbs of perception, verbs of mental state, psychological verbs, and verbs of communication), identifying the complement structures used with each verb type.  He also examines the social contexts represented when each type of complementation is used and sees a shift, or realignment of complement patterns with changes moving in different directions for high status and low status speakers.

If you are interested in the social status of various forms of speech or in the historical development and change in forms of complementation, you should enjoy Bentein’s article.

PDFIf you decide you’d like to read the entire paper, click the read button to go to where it’s posted on Brill’s site.

The Persistence of Dialect and the Diffusion of Koine

I have added the following article to the bibliography here at Greek-Language.com.

  • Vit Bubenik, “The Persistence of Dialect and the Diffusion of Koine,” Studies in Greek Linguistics 29 (2009) pp. 315-324.

Bubenic traces the parallel diffusion of the Hellenistic Koine and reduction of other ancient dialects. He cites documentation from Arcadia for the decline of the local dialect and the rise of three ‘high’ Koine varieties: general Hellenistic Koine, Achaean Doric Koine, and the North-West Doric Koine.  He argues that  writers and speakers moved on a continuum between the ‘high’ and ‘low’ varieties of the language in an increasingly diglossic society, and explains the ‘choice’ between the high and low varieties in terms of ‘domain’ of language use.

Studies in Greek Linguistics is an online journal hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. You can read Bubonic’s article online there.