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The syntax of δέ in Post-classical Greek

Klaas Bentein (UGent)
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Abstract
δέ is one of the most frequently attested particles in Ancient Greek. Recent studies, most of which focusing on the Classical period, have analysed this particle as a ‘discourse marker’, signaling thematic discontinuity between sentences. While there have been far fewer studies of Post-classical Greek, there seems to be little disagreement that the function of the particle remained essentially the same in later periods of Greek. The main aim of this article is to show that this point of view represents an overgeneralization: based on a corpus of documentary texts (letters, petitions, and contracts in particular), I argue that δέ was syntactically extended, both in depth and in breadth: on the one hand, the particle comes to be used much more frequently to link clauses (main and subordinate), and even noun phrases; on the other hand, the particle is used not only to link a preposed subordinate clause to a main clause (‘apodotic δέ’), but also a postposed subordinate clause to a main clause. Given this syntactic extension, δέ no longer functions exclusively as a discourse marker: it not only establishes ‘textual’ relations, but also ‘logical’ ones. To conclude the article, I discuss a number of factors which may have contributed to δέ’s syntactic extension, focusing in particular on functional overlap with two other particles, καί and τε. The analysis is embedded in the Systemic Functional paradigm.
Keywords
δέ, Ancient Greek, particles, Systemic Functional Linguistics, τε, καί, textual function, logical function

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Bentein, Klaas. “The Syntax of Δέ in Post-classical Greek.” ETUDES CLASSIQUES (2019): n. pag. Print.
APA
Bentein, K. (2019). The syntax of δέ in Post-classical Greek. ETUDES CLASSIQUES.
Chicago author-date
Bentein, Klaas. 2019. “The Syntax of Δέ in Post-classical Greek.” Etudes Classiques.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Bentein, Klaas. 2019. “The Syntax of Δέ in Post-classical Greek.” Etudes Classiques.
Vancouver
1.
Bentein K. The syntax of δέ in Post-classical Greek. ETUDES CLASSIQUES. 2019;
IEEE
[1]
K. Bentein, “The syntax of δέ in Post-classical Greek,” ETUDES CLASSIQUES, 2019.
@article{8613128,
  abstract     = {δέ is one of the most frequently attested particles in Ancient Greek. Recent studies, most of which focusing on the Classical period, have analysed this particle as a ‘discourse marker’, signaling thematic discontinuity between sentences. While there have been far fewer studies of Post-classical Greek, there seems to be little disagreement that the function of the particle remained essentially the same in later periods of Greek. The main aim of this article is to show that this point of view represents an overgeneralization: based on a corpus of documentary texts (letters, petitions, and contracts in particular), I argue that δέ was syntactically extended, both in depth and in breadth: on the one hand, the particle comes to be used much more frequently to link clauses (main and subordinate), and even noun phrases; on the other hand, the particle is used not only to link a preposed subordinate clause to a main clause (‘apodotic δέ’), but also a postposed subordinate clause to a main clause. Given this syntactic extension, δέ no longer functions exclusively as a discourse marker: it not only establishes ‘textual’ relations, but also ‘logical’ ones. To conclude the article, I discuss a number of factors which may have contributed to δέ’s syntactic extension, focusing in particular on functional overlap with two other particles, καί and τε. The analysis is embedded in the Systemic Functional paradigm. },
  author       = {Bentein, Klaas},
  issn         = {0014-200X},
  journal      = {ETUDES CLASSIQUES},
  keywords     = {δέ,Ancient Greek,particles,Systemic Functional Linguistics,τε,καί,textual function,logical function},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {The syntax of δέ in Post-classical Greek},
  url          = {https://research.flw.ugent.be/nl/projects/everyday-writing-graeco-roman-and-late-antique-egypt-i-%E2%80%93-viii-ad-socio-semiotic-study},
  year         = {2019},
}