The story of pu: the grammaticalisation in space and time of a Modern Greek complementiser
AffiliationDepartment of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsNicholas, N. (1998). The story of pu: the grammaticalisation in space and time of a Modern Greek complementiser. PhD thesis, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
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This work is concerned with tracing the historical development of the various functions of the Modern Greek connective pu. This connective has a considerable range of functions, and there have been attempts in the literature to group together these functions in a synchronically valid framework. It is my contention that the most illuminating way of regarding the functional diffusion of pu—and of any content word—is by looking, not only at one synchronic distribution (that of Standard Modern Greek), but at the full range of synchronic distributions in the sundry diatopic variants (dialects) of Modern Greek, and that such a discussion must be informed by the diachrony of the form. This I attempt to do within the framework of grammaticalisation theory, whereby the development of grammatical forms is considered in the context of reanalysis and analogical extension of forms. As a diachronicist model, this allows for fluidity between function distinctions, and puts in place a historically-oriented alignment of semantic transitions which a strictly synchronicist account would miss. Work on pu has already been done in this framework; however, such work has considered the distribution of pu in Standard Greek alone, with only a brief consideration of its ancient antecedents. I contend that the picture formed of its distribution under such constraints leads to several false generalisations. In order to arrive at a truer picture of the factors determining the development of pu, there are three facets that need to be considered in detail: (a) its synchronic distribution in Standard Modern Greek, a variant for which extensive corpora and native speaker judgements are readily available; (b) its distribution in the various modern dialects—to establish the possible diversification of developments for the particle, and to ensure that one potential pathway is not privileged as a universal tendency at the expense of other, divergent developments (a problem identifiable in treatments of this topic, hitherto looking only at the standard language); (c) a detailed investigation of the use of the etymon of the particle— hópou—in Ancient Greek. It is one of the major contentions of grammaticalisation theory that the past meaning of a particle influences its subsequent meanings. In order to test the relevance of this principle fully, it is necessary to investigate the functionality of hópou not in isolation, but in the context of the entire Ancient Greek grammatical system. Due to time and scope constraints, I attempt only these first three tasks in this thesis. I do not attempt a detail look at areal diffusion or the mediaeval Greek semantic transitions involved, nor at the use of pu in collocation.
Keywordsgrammaticalisation; Greek; dialectology; Modern Greek; Early Modern Greek; Greek dialect; semantics; corpus linguistics; linguistics; historical linguistics
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