Ancient Greek Linguistics: New Approaches, Insights, Perspectives

Felicia Logozzo and Paolo Poccetti have edited an impressive compilation of linguistic research on Ancient Greek. All but one of the chapters address either Classical or Homeric Greek, but one, a brief note on  synthetic forms of the future in Hellenistic Greek, addresses the time period of our focus here.

  • Liana Tronci, “Forme sintetiche del futuro nel greco ellenistico, Brevi note sulla Settanta”

Have any of you seen this book? Tronci’s article is written in Italian, but many of the other articles are in English. Do we have any Italian speakers who would be willing to read Tronci’s article and comment on it?

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.

A Computational study on preverbal and postverbal accusative object nouns and pronouns in Ancient Greek

I have added Giuseppe Celano’s 2014 paper, “A Computational study on preverbal and postverbal accusative object nouns and pronouns in Ancient Greek,” (The Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics, no. 101, April 2014, pp. 97–110) to the Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics.

Drawing on data from Homer to the New Testament, Celano argues for a gradual shift from OV to VO constituent order. You can view or download a pdf copy here.

Monosemy and Polysemy in Biblical Studies: A Minimalist Basis for Empirical Analysis of the Biblical Languages

Ryder Wishart has completed a masters thesis that fits very well into the category of works applying concepts from the field of Linguistics to the study of Ancient Greek. His theses has a broader focus on the biblical languages more generally, but the application to Greek is of direct relevance for the community here at

I have added Wishart’s thesis to the bibliography where you will find a link to download a copy from if you would like.

Congratulations to Ryder for completing this work!

A Linguistic Analysis of the Articular Infinitive in New Testament Greek

Burk, Articular InfinitiveI have added Dennis Ray Burk’s doctoral dissertation “A linguistic analysis of the articular infinitive in New Testament Greek” to the bibliography.

Dr. Burk wrote this dissertation in 2004, and the data he compiled has contributed positively to the ongoing development of open data resources.

If you have other works that you would like to see included in A Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics, you can check the criteria for inclusion and make a suggestion by clicking the bibliography link at the top of any page on this blog.

New Testament Verbs of Communication

danoventverbsofcommunicationI have added Paul Danove’s New Testament Verbs of Communication: A Case Frame and Exegetical Study to the bibliography.

Danove has been developing his Case Frame analysis since the mid 1990s, and along the way he has contributed significantly to our understanding of the argument structure of Hellenistic Greek verbs. It is good to see this new addition.

Inheritance and Inflectional Morphology

LeBlanc, Inheritance and Inflectional MorphologyIn Inheritance and Inflectional Morphology MaryEllen A. LeBlanc addresses inflectional morphology in four languages: Old High German, Latin, Early New High German, and Koine Greek. The section on Koine Greek comes in the sixth chapter (of eight). This is volume 94 of Peter Lang’s “Berkeley Insights in Linguistics and Semiotics.”

The book is an updated version of LeBlanc’s doctoral dissertation submitted at the University of California Berkeley in the Spring of 2014.

Here’s the abstract from Peter Lang:

Inheritance, which has its origins in the field of artificial intelligence, is a framework focusing on shared properties. When applied to inflectional morphology, it enables useful generalizations within and across paradigms. The inheritance tree format serves as an alternative to traditional paradigms and provides a visual representation of the structure of the language’s morphology. This mapping also enables cross-linguistic morphological comparison.
In this book, the nominal inflectional morphology of Old High German, Latin, Early New High German, and Koine Greek are analyzed using inheritance trees. Morphological data is drawn from parallel texts in each language; the trees may be used as a translation aid to readers of the source texts as an accompaniment to or substitute for traditional paradigms. The trees shed light on the structural similarities and differences among the four languages.

The dissertation is available in two different places online:

I’ve added the book to the online bibliography.


Reflections on Lexicography: Explorations in Ancient Syriac, Hebrew, and Greek Sources

ReflectionsOnLexicographySix articles from the recent Gorgias Press release of Reflections on Lexicography: Explorations in Ancient Syriac, Hebrew, and Greek Sources deal specifically with Hellenistic Greek Lexicography. This volume was produced for the International Syriac Language Project. Here is a list of the papers in the section entitled “Reflections on Greek Lexicography.”

  • A Linguistic-Cultural Approach to Alleged Pauline and Lukan Christological Disparity (Frederick William Danker) (page 267)
  • Contextual Factors in the Greek-Spanish Dictionary of the New Testament (DGENT) (Jesús Peláez) (page 289)
  • The Greek-Spanish Dictionary of the New Testament (DGENT): Meaning and Translation of the Lexemes; Some Practical Examples (Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta) (page 301)
  • The Genitive Absolute in Discourse: More Than a Change of Subject (Margaret G. Sim) (page 313)
  • Now and Then: Clarifying the Role of Temporal Adverbs as Discourse Markers (Steven E. Runge) (page 327)
  • ‘Therefore’ or ‘Wherefore’: What’s the Difference? (Stephen H. Levinsohn) (page 349)

This volume is number 4 in Gorgias Press’ series, Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages.

I have added these articles to the online bibliography.

Structural Lexicology and the Greek New Testament

I have added Todd Price’s Structural Lexicology and the Greek New Testament: Applying Corpus Linguistics for Word Sense Possibility Delimitation Using Collocational Indicators to the bibliography.

The book was published in 2015 by Gorgias Press and sells for $180 at

I do not own a copy of the book (due to the price!), but here’s what I’ve gleaned from the abstract provided by the publisher and available in the Library of Congress online catalog. If you own a copy of the book, feel free to tell me how far off I am!


Price’s book addresses both lexical meaning and phrase-level meaning in context. After introducing the concept of structural lexicology as developed through the use of computational linguistics, computational lexicography and corpus linguistics, Price explains his method for determining the contextual meaning of New Testament Greek words and phrases through an analysis of their collocations (with what other words does word x tend to appear?), colligations (in its various contexts, with what kinds of words does word x tend to hold grammatical relationships?) and semantic preferences (with what words does word x share key elements of meaning?). His approach emphasizes defining words in context by disambiguating their possible meanings.

He argues, uncontroversially, that an analysis of large (digital) corpora of Hellenistic Greek can advance our understanding of lexical semantics, and he includes numerous case studies in the Greek New Testament applying his method to exegetically problematic texts.