Pragmatics of the Complex DP

Eirik Welo, Complex DP

In 2006 Eirik Welo (University of Oslo) published a brief examination of the use of the definite determiner (ὁ, ἡ, τό) in phrases that contain both a noun and an adjective in Classical Greek. Because his examination deals with pragmatics, not primarily syntax, and I am not aware of a similar treatment of determiners for the Hellenistic Period, I have decided to recommend it here.

Is anyone willing to take up the task of seeing if his conclusions apply equally to Hellenistic Greek?

  • Eirik Welo, “Pragmatics of the Complex DP in Ancient Greek”, in A Festschrift for Kjell Johan Sæbø, Ed. Torgrim Solstad, Atle Grønn, and Dag Haug, Oslo, 2006.

You can download a PDF copy of the paper here. The entire festschrift is available here.

Here’s what Welo’s abstract says:

In Classical Greek, complex determiner phrases may be formed in various ways. From a semantic point of view, the different formal patterns seem not to be associated with differences in meaning; in traditional grammars they are all claimed to be equally grammatical and equally definite. The distribution of the varieties of complex DP in discourse has not been studied in detail. In this paper I will discuss the combination of a noun with a modifying adjective. I will investigate the various patterns from semantic, pragmatic and, to a certain extent, syntactic points of view. I conclude that the possible configurations are semantically equivalent, but sensitive to information structure, both within the clause and in the larger context.

What do you think? Other readers and I would love to hear from you.

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