Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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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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Phaistos Disc

(695 words)

Author(s): Artemis Karnava
Abstract The Phaistos Disc is a unique clay object that bears a text in an otherwise unknown script. It originates in the Minoan palace of Phaistos in Crete and dates with all probability to the 17th c. BCE. Despite many ambitious efforts, the writing system remains undeciphered. The Phaistos Disc is a thus far unique specimen of what is most likely a writing system (Greek Writing Systems), one of a number that are attested during the 2nd mill. BCE in the Aegean (Cretan Hieroglyphic Script; Linear A; Linear B). The Disc was discovered in 1908 in the Minoan palace of Phaistos situated in south-…
Date: 2014-01-22

Philological-Grammatical Tradition in Ancient Linguistics

(10,028 words)

Author(s): Stephanos Matthaios
Abstract The present entry aims at investigating the development of ancient linguistics within the philological tradition of Greek Antiquity both from a historical and a systematic perspective. In the first part of the article there is discussion of the origins of the term ‘grammar’ and of the relevant definitions of ancient scholarship, with an aim to locate the position which language theory held in the framework of the philological discipline, but also to highlight the contents and objectives …
Date: 2013-11-01

Phonetic Law

(1,642 words)

Author(s): Juan Antonio Alvarez-Pedrosa
Abstract Phonetic law was defined by the Neogrammarians in 1878 and it determines that a sound within the same dialect and in a specific period of time will always evolve in the same way in the same phonetic environment; this sound change does not admit more exceptions than the ones motivated by analogy and dialectal division. In the decade of the 1870’s a group of German Indo-Europeanists who assumed the name of Neogrammarians (German Junggrammatiker) defined the model of linguistic change that we know today as Phonetic Law or Sound Law. The concept of phonetic law was destined to …
Date: 2013-11-01


(3,665 words)

Author(s): Brian Joseph
Abstract The phonetic reality posited for Ancient Greek sounds is surveyed here, paying attention to consonants, vowels, and accent. The variety of Greek focused on most is Attic Greek of the Classical period (c. 5th century BCE), but attention is given to Mycenaean Greek of the 2nd millennium BCE and to Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, especially as the latter heralds the changes evident in Modern Greek. In addition, evidence from dialects other than Attic is considered as deemed relevant. 1. Introduction Despite the fact that Ancient Greek is a language known only thro…
Date: 2013-11-01

Phonological Change

(2,353 words)

Author(s): Eugenio R. Luján
Abstract Phonetic changes can bring about phonological changes, i.e. alterations in the phonological system of a language, either in the number of phonemes and/or in the nature of the relations between those phonemes. The results can be of three major types: phonologization (phonemic addition), dephonologization (phonemic loss), and transphonologization (rephonemization). These alterations in the phonological system of a language are usually the result of one or more of the following processes: c…
Date: 2014-01-27

Phonological Phrase

(1,692 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract The phonological phrase is a constituent in the prosodic hierarchy that, prototypically, corresponds to sub-clausal noun-, verb-, and adjective-phrases in syntax (XPs). The phonological phrase (φ), also known as the minor phrase or minor phonological phrase, is the layer of prosody immediately beneath the intonational phrase that combines prosodic words and clitic groups into a single prosodic unit ( Nespor & Vogel 1986:165-186; Selkirk 1980, 1986; Horne 1986; Devine & Stephens 1990; Truckenbrodt 1995, 1999; Devine & Stephens 1994:377).  Metrically, the phon…
Date: 2013-11-01

Phonology (Survey)

(5,114 words)

Author(s): Angeliki Malikouti-Drachman
Abstract Phonology is that part of language description that relates the sound-system of a given language to the different morphological and semantic structures of its words. Greek is perhaps a special case. At its earliest stage, Mycenaean, it employs a syllabary, where a symbol represents a whole syllable, so that it is the alphabetic writing of the historical dialects that contributes to establishing the development of the phonological system of ancient Greek between these two periods of attes…
Date: 2013-11-01


(866 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract Phonotactics define the permissible combinations of sounds within a word. Phonotactic constraints define permissible sequences of consonants and vowels (for a detailed description of licit consonantal combinations, see Lupaş 1972:133-41 and Steriade 1982:293-4; for vowels, see Lupaş 1972:141-51). We illustrate this here with consonant phonotactics in Ancient Greek. Within a word, Attic Greek permits consonants to cluster with considerable freedom (for possible segmental sequences between words see Sandhi). In this article we will loo…
Date: 2013-11-01

Phytonyms (Names of Trees)

(1,522 words)

Author(s): Václav Blažek
Abstract Ancient Greek attests a number of tree-names (dendronyms and phytonyms) whose origins are diverse: some were inherited from PIE, others constructed within Greek itself, taken from the substrate language(s), or borrowed from neighboring languages; the origins of some remain obscure. Ancient Greek attests a number of tree-names ( dendronyms and phytonyms) whose origins are diverse: some were inherited from PIE (Indo-European Historical Background), others constructed within Greek itself (Greek Lexicon, Structure and Origin of), taken from…
Date: 2014-01-22

P (index)

(6,987 words)

P(h)etthaloi Thessalian Pachomius Translation of Greek Texts in Late Antiquity Packard, David W. Computational Linguistics and Greek | Databases and Dictionaries [Papyrology and Epigraphy included] Pacuvius Roman Translation of Greek Texts Pade, Marianne Greek Historiography, Translation | Homer, Translation Paelignian Greek Lexicon in Western Languages Paeonia Macedonian paeonic Literary Prose pagan Late Antiquity Poetry Págan Cánovas, Cristóbal Cognitive Linguistics and Greek Pagani, Lara Dictionaries of Dialects: From Antiquity to the Byzantine Period |…


(877 words)

Author(s): David Goldstein
Abstract Pitch is the auditory sensation of frequency. It is used in Greek to mark accent. When we hear a sound with regular vibration (such as that of a vowel), the pitch sensation that we perceive corresponds closely to the frequency of vibration of the vocal cords: the higher the frequency of the vibration of the vocal cords, the higher the pitch we perceive; the lower the frequency, the lower the pitch (see Gussenhoven 2004:1-11, Devine and Stephens 1994:157-194). The number of cycles per second (or any other measure of time) is known as the fundamental frequency (or FØ “f-zero”) of a…
Date: 2013-11-01


(7 words)

Abstract   See Perfect Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Plural/Pluralia Tantum

(688 words)

Author(s): Carlotta Viti
Abstract The flexible distribution of the plural number in Ancient Greek is discussed in this entry, focusing on the one hand on its possible overlap with the singular and on the other on the use of pluralia tantum. The plural number is used in Ancient Greek to denote more than two referents; in the latter case, the dual should be used. Unlike the dual, the plural is productive and fully integrated into the Ancient Greek number system. This especially becomes evident in pluralia tantum, used for referents that occur in a multitude or consist of numerous parts. This is the case of ethnonyms such …
Date: 2013-11-01