Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Relative Tense
(793 words)


Ancient Greek developed, at least, four different strategies to express Relative Tense:  word order, lexical expressions, secondary uses of aspectual stems, and modal forms (indicative and optative). Relative Tense reached in Greek a certain degree of grammaticalization in the context of subordination using oblique optative: the future optative seems to have been created specifically to express posteriority in relation to a past reference point.

Relative Tense can be defined as any linguistic device that provides i…

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Jesús de la Villa, “Relative Tense”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 01 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000524>
First published online: 2013

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