Greek, Syntax

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Summary

Greek (Modern Greek: "Greek", "Greek language") is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to the southern Balkans, the Aegean Islands, western Asia Minor and Cyprus. It has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Coptic, and many other writing systems.

Details

Many aspects of the syntax of Greek have remained constant: verbs agree with their subject only, the use of the surviving cases is largely intact (nominative for subjects and predicates, accusative for objects of most verbs and many prepositions, genitive for possessors), articles precede nouns, adpositions are largely prepositional, relative clauses follow the noun they modify, and relative pronouns are clause-initial. However, the morphological changes also have their counterparts in the syntax, and there are also significant differences between the syntax of the ancient and that of the modern form of the language. Ancient Greek made great use of participial constructions and of constructions involving the infinitive, while the modern variety lacks the infinitive entirely (instead having a raft of new periphrastic constructions) and uses participles more restrictedly. The loss of the dative led to a rise of prepositional indirect objects (and the use of the genitive to directly mark these as well). Ancient Greek tended to be verb-final, while neutral word order in the modern language is VSO or SVO.

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External Links

  • WikipediaGreek LanguageThe Greek Language and Linguistics GatewayThe Greek Language PortalThe Perseus ProjectAncient Greek TutorialsLearn Greek

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