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Noun (ónoma), Ancient Theories of

(2,414 words)

Author(s): Alfons Wouters | Pierre Swiggers
Abstract The term ónoma, which is the general term for naming something / somebody, became a technical term in ancient grammar as the designation of the ‘noun’ class (including common nouns, proper names and adjectives), a basic part of speech in the Western grammatical tradition. This class was defined by its general ‘naming’ content and characterized by a set of formal and semantic features. Several semantic subclasses of the ‘noun’ were distinguished by ancient grammarians. The noun, as expressi…
Date: 2013-11-01

Verb (rhêma), Ancient Theories of

(2,148 words)

Author(s): Alfons Wouters | Pierre Swiggers
Abstract The term rhêma (verb), which is related to the act and result of saying, developed into a technical term of grammar. It was specialized as a designation of the basic unit of sentential predication, viz. the verb, and was characterized by a number of formal and semantic features (such as ‘tense’ and ‘voice’). Together with the noun, the rhêma was considered a fundamental part of speech throughout the later history of Western grammatical theory. The original, non-technical meaning of rhêma, from its earliest attestations in the Ionic and Attic texts onwards, was t…
Date: 2013-11-01

Word Classes (mérē toû lógou), Ancient Theories of

(3,901 words)

Author(s): Alfons Wouters | Pierre Swiggers
Abstract The term ‘parts of speech’ refers to the distinction of (paradigms of) word classes (with their characterizing features or accidentia). The history of the division into parts of speech starts with Plato and Aristotle; centuries later, the Alexandrian grammarians established a set of eight parts of speech. This doctrine was transmitted to the Roman world; with slight adaptations, it has survived into Western grammar up to the present day. The success of this ‘Word-and-Paradigm’ model has to be explained by its functional and didactic properties. 1. Introduction The expressi…
Date: 2013-11-01

Word Formation (Derivation, Compounding)

(5,438 words)

Author(s): Alfons Wouters | Pierre Swiggers | Toon van Hal | Lambert Isebaert
Abstract Word formation in Ancient Greek comprises two processes, derivation and compounding. Both reach back to (Proto-)Indo-European and became very productive in Greek, bringing about a considerable expansion of the lexicon. These word formation processes (a) are governed by structural principles, (b) show interaction (between derivation and compounding, and also mutually between distinct derivational mechanisms), (c) fulfill a wide range of functional roles, and (d) are liable to technical usages and to marked stylistic exploitations. 1. Introduction Word formation …
Date: 2014-01-22