Verbal Semantics in Ancient Greek Possessive Constructions with eînai

Journal of Greek Linguistics

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.)

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

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