Greek Verb Phrase?

I would like to thank Michael Aubrey for his comments on the the lack of usefulness of the category VP (Verb Phrase) for describing Ancient Greek. In particular, he challenged some comments that I made in Levels of Constituent Structure for New Testament Greek (1995).

This is, of course, the way to advance the field. As we each examine the claims of our colleagues and submit them to scrutiny, we move the discussion forward.

The comments I made about the Greek VP in 1995 were part of a larger argument for the existence of phrase-level categories in general. While I am still firmly committed to the usefulness of the syntactic category Phrase in general, I have never been particularly committed to the usefulness of VP in particular for addressing the phrase structure of Ancient Greek.

In the years since 1995 I have come increasingly to view the syntax of Ancient Greek as determined by the argument structure of verbs—verbs and the phrases demanded by their lexico-semantic properties. This view does not necessarily require the category Verb Phrase, though postulating the existence of such phrases may eventually prove useful.

As for Aubrey’s objection that the subject appearing between the verb and one of its subsequent arguments (specifically a PP in the examples he cites), the objection works only if you discount the possibility of verb movement. He is probably right, but it’s not as obvious as it might seem.

Thank you, Michael, for your thoughts and research on this issue. I look forward to reading more.