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 (and 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.

Changes in complement structure from Classical to Byzantine Greek

Journal of Greek Linguistics

In the first issue of the Journal of Greek Linguistics this year (2017), Klaas Bentein examined changes in the way verbal complements were formed between the Classical and Byzantine periods. Here’s what the abstract of his paper says:

While Classical Greek has a particularly rich complementation system, in later times there is a tendency towards the use of finite complementation. In this context, Cristofaro (1996) has claimed that the Classical opposition whereby the accusative and infinitive is used for non-factive complements, and ὅτι with the indicative and the accusative and participle for factive ones, is disappearing, ὅτι being used as a ‘generic’ complementiser. In this article, I investigate to what extent Cristofaro’s (1996) claim of the pragmatic neutralisation of complementation patterns can be upheld, and whether it could be claimed that a new pragmatic opposition, in terms of ‘register’, is being established. For this purpose, I turn towards documentary papyri, a corpus which is particularly fruitful for socio-historical investigations.

You can read this paper here. I have added it to the Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics.