Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

Get access Subject: Language and Linguistics

General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis
Associate Editors: Vit Bubenik, Emilio Crespo, Chris Golston, Alexandra Lianeri, Silvia Luraghi, Stephanos Matthaios

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics (EAGLL) is a unique work that brings together the latest research from across a range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of Ancient Greek. It is an indispensable research tool for scholars and students of Greek, of linguistics, and of other Indo-European languages, as well as of Biblical literature.

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Dialectal Convergence

(2,468 words)

Author(s): Sophie Minon
Abstract Dialectal convergence is the gradual process of mutual accommodation and leveling as observed in the regional and social Greek dialects before the development of the new variety of Greek which was called ‘Koine’. Extralinguistic factors (geographic, political, economic, social and cultural) provided an impulse for this convergence in most cases. The mutual processes consist in the leveling of salient features of the source dialect and in the borrowing from the target dialect. Mixing and …
Date: 2013-11-01

Dialectology (diálektos), Ancient Theories of

(3,136 words)

Author(s): Olga Tribulato
Abstract Ancient Greek was fragmented into several local varieties down to the Hellenistic age, but for a long time both the term diálektos (dialect) and study of the dialects lacked a systematic and scholarly dimension. After the advent of Koine – the first linguistic standard that Greece had – Greek scholars began to develop a ‘dialectology’ by systematically collecting rare words from local varieties of Greek, as well as from archaic and classical authors. The ancient dialectological approach, which started as an …
Date: 2013-11-01

Dialects, Classification of

(5,081 words)

Author(s): Margalit Finkelberg
Abstract Like any other language spread over a large territory, ancient Greek was divided into regional (geographical) dialects. Their conventional classification into (Attic)-Ionic, Aeolic, and Doric is exclusively based on the literary dialects and therefore should be supplemented by epigraphic evidence. The dialects can be classified both synchronically and diachronically according to their geographical positions and the degree of linguistic affinity. 1. Ancient Dialectology The recognition of the fact that the Greeks shared one language common to all was…
Date: 2013-11-01

Diathesis (diáthesis), Ancient Theories of

(2,255 words)

Author(s): Lara Pagani
Abstract In the ancient grammatical sphere, diáthesis indicated mainly the verbal voice, although the term, attested originally in the field of philosophy and medicine, never acquired a univocal technical meaning. The earliest distinction was between active and passive, used to classify verbs expressing an action or a condition resulting from an action, respectively. The first attestation of the concept of middle voice is found in P.Rain. I 19. In Apollonius Dyscolus, diáthesis has a multiplicity of meanings, referring to characteristics and conditions of the verb …
Date: 2013-11-01

Diathesis/Voice (Morphology of)

(2,183 words)

Author(s): Rutger Allan
Abstract Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories: the active voice, the middle voice and the passive voice. The act. and mid. voices are distinguished by contrasting sets of personal endings. The passive voice is marked by a special morpheme - th ē - or - ē- and only occurs in the aorist and future stems. A number of verbs display voice variation between tense stems. Ancient Greek has three morphologically distinct voice categories: the active voice, the middle voice (also mediopassive) and the passive voice (Passive (syntax), Passive …
Date: 2013-11-01

Dictionaries of Ancient Greek

(3,624 words)

Author(s): Maria Pantelia
Abstract Dictionaries and lexica are indispensible resources for the modern study of Greek.  From their first incarnation in the 16th century, these tools have evolved in both form and content. Modern dictionaries typically provide grammatical and etymological information and a range of definitions that vary in time, genre, and dialect. Greek dictionaries of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ordered words alphabetically with meanings presented chronologically. Contextual information in…
Date: 2013-11-01

Dictionaries of Dialects: From Antiquity to the Byzantine Period

(2,523 words)

Author(s): Stefano Valente
Abstract First collections of dialectal forms of the Greek language date to the pre-Hellenistic and Hellenistic age, when Koine replaced the ancient Greek dialects as a supra-regional language. These instruments aimed at understanding both ancient Greek dialects and foreign languages, as well as literary works of the past written in different genre-specific dialects. Later, under the Roman empire, Hellenistic erudite collections served as the base of the scholarly compilations both in general lex…
Date: 2013-11-01

Dictionaries of Onomastics: From Antiquity to the Byzantine Period

(1,787 words)

Author(s): Stefano Valente
Abstract Ancient and Byzantine work on onomastics, i.e., the study of personal names and toponyms, never developed into a well-defined branch of research. The compilation of onomastic dictionaries was mainly linked to literary criticism and to encyclopedic, biographical and geographical interests. Biblical onomastics, on the other hand, was a vigorous scholarly activity. Ancient and Byzantine work on onomastics, i.e., the study of personal names and toponyms, never developed into a well-defined branch of research. The compilation of dictionaries of pe…
Date: 2013-11-01

Dictionaries of Scientific Vocabulary: Antiquity and Byzantine Period

(2,125 words)

Author(s): Stefano Valente
Abstract During Antiquity and the Byzantine age, subject-oriented dictionaries devoted to specific scientific fields had different purposes and targets, in conformity with the usages and the specific needs at the time of their compilations. However, one of the commonest features of all these dictionaries is their close reference to literary texts. Most of them followed both practical and literary purposes: dictionaries on medicine, on geography, on natural sciences, on Attic law, and on alchemy served primarily as tools for understanding Classical texts. 1. Introduction In Anti…
Date: 2013-11-01


(7 words)

Abstract   See Semivowels Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Diminutives/Augmentatives (Syntax and Morphology)

(5,428 words)

Author(s): Nicola Grandi
Abstract Diminutives and augmentatives are the most cross-linguistically widespread exponents of the class of the so-called ‘evaluative affixes’. In addition, we also find pejoratives and amelioratives. It is not easy to draw a clear borderline between the forms that can be ascribed to these four classes, since very often different meanings merge in a single form. Moreover, from a cross-linguistic perspective, affixes are just one of the strategies performed to express evaluative meanings, in add…
Date: 2013-11-01

D (index)

(4,732 words)

d’Ablancourt, Nicolas Perrot Greek Historiography, Translation d’Alembert, Jean le R. History of Teaching of Ancient Greek in Germany D’Alessio, Giovan B. Deixis (including 1st and 2nd Person) Da Rios, Rosetta Metrics ( métron), Ancient Theories of Dacia Greek and Thracian Dacian Alphabet, Descendants of | Greek and Thracian | Language Contact Dacier, Anne Le F. Greek Lyric Poetry, Translation Daco-Mysian Language Contact Daco-Romanian Balkan Sprachbund: Early Evidence in Greek dactylic hexameter Elegy, Diction of | Epic Diction | Epic Meter | Homer, Translation |…


(318 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract The process by which a monophthong like i or u becomes a diphthong like ai or au (sometimes known as vowel breaking). Diphthongization is the process by which a monophthong becomes a diphthong. There are two processes of diphthongization in Ancient Greek, both of which are diachronic (for a general discussion of the phenomenon, see Andersen 1972).  The first results from the intervocalic loss of w, y, or s, which results in hiatus, i.e., two adjacent vowels in distinct syllables. They then fuse together to form one syllable, as illustrated by the word for ‘child,’ páis > paîs (see f…
Date: 2013-11-01


(663 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract A dipthong is a pair of vowels that occupy the same syllable. Ancient Greek had a number of diphthongs, including ai and oi. A dipthong is a pair of vowels that occupy the same syllable. Thus two-syllable diá ‘through’ does not have a diphthong but one-syllable paîs ‘child (nom.)’ does. Classical Attic has an inventory of eleven diphthongs (see generally Allen 1987:79-88; for a diachronic overview see Rix 1992:46-49, 51-52):   “ ShortDiphthongs   “ LongDiphthongs     /yi/ <υι>   /εːi/ <ηι> /εːu/ <ηυ>   /oi/ <οι> /εu/ <ευ> /ɔːi/  <ωι>   /ɔːu/ <ωυ>   /ai/ <αι>  /au/ <αυ> /aːi/  <αι> /aː…
Date: 2013-11-01

Dipylon Vase Inscription

(1,058 words)

Author(s): Panagiotis Filos
Abstract The so-called ‘Dipylon Vase Inscription’ from Athens (late Geometric period, ca. 740-730 BCE) is probably the oldest comprehensible Greek alphabetic text. It is carved on a wine jug ( oenochoe) and its two verses (in continuous retrograde script) apparently name the vessel itself as a prize for the winner in a dancing competition. The so-called ‘Dipylon Vase Inscription’ is a short text ( graffito , after firing) incised around the shoulder of a wine jug ( oenochoe ) from the Late Geometric period (ca. 740-730 BCE). The wine jug was found in Athens in 1871, in the area of the ancient Ke…
Date: 2013-11-01

Direct/Indirect Discourse

(1,818 words)

Author(s): Jean-Christophe Pitavy
Abstract Direct discourse and indirect discourse refer to words or thoughts produced in another context by secondary speakers, with marks ranging from syntax to deixis, modality and evidentiality. In Ancient Greek there is a blurred distinction between direct and indirect discourse features on the syntactic and deictic levels: in many hóti-clauses, 1sg. and 2sg. persons refer to a ‘logophoric center’. Direct discourse and indirect discourse refer to what is included under the general term ‘reported discourse’. Reported discourse pertains to ‘speaking abo…
Date: 2014-01-22

Direct/Indirect Speech

(1,814 words)

Author(s): Eirik Welo
Abstract Direct and indirect speech are varieties of reported speech. In Ancient Greek, indirect speech may take different forms: a subordinate clause with a finite verb, an infinitive clause or a participle clause. In indirect speech, the optative mood often replaces the original mood of the verb after a past-tense verb of speaking. 1. Introduction Direct and indirect speech are subtypes of reported speech. The distinction between direct and indirect speech refers to the linguistic marking of the utterance; the propositional content remains the same in bo…
Date: 2013-11-01

Direct Object

(2,079 words)

Author(s): Egle Mocciaro
Abstract The direct objects express the semantic role of the patient, that is, the participant affected by a transitive situation. In Ancient Greek, the case of the direct object is prototypically the accusative. However, on the basis of a scalar hypothesis of transitivity, the notion of affectedness may be conceived of as a gradual property of the objects. In this perspective, different ways of encoding the transitive objects may be individuated, namely the dative and the genitive. These should be interpreted as less typical instances of the category. 1. Theoretical Assumptions The l…
Date: 2013-11-01

Discourse Analysis and Greek

(2,459 words)

Author(s): Helene Perdicoyianni-Paleologou
Abstract Studies dealing with discourse analysis in Greek have focused on the concept of cohesiveness of discourse. In particular, these studies have examined reference as one of the most important devices of cohesiveness. The present piece considers two types of reference: endophoric reference, which can be subdivided into anaphora (backward reference) and cataphora (forward reference), and exophoric reference, which denotes an object in deixis. Demonstrative pronouns and adjectives are examined from the viewpoint of anaphora, cataphora, and deixis. Other …
Date: 2013-11-01


(1,387 words)

Author(s): Emilio Crespo
Abstract Disjuncts are syntactically omissible constituents of a clause or sentence, or of a phrase headed by a member lexeme (adjective, noun, pronoun or verb). The term, formed on the analogy with adjunct by means of the separative prefix dis- , points to the fact that disjuncts are optional constituents like adjuncts, but more peripheral than them and less closely related to their predicate or head. Disjuncts are syntactically omissible constituents of a clause or a sentence (see 1, 2, 3 and 5 below), or of a group headed by a member of a lexical category (…
Date: 2013-11-01
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