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Epistemic modality, particles and the potential optative in Classical Greek

Ezra La Roi (UGent)
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Abstract
This paper challenges the commonly held view that the Classical Greek potential optative has a subjective epistemic semantics, the result of a conceptual confusion of subjectivity and epistemic modality inherited from our standard grammars. I propose that this view becomes less convincing when the optative’s unique interaction with the subjective particles ἦ and ἄρα is incorporated into the analysis. Rather, the potential optative has a non-subjective epistemic semantics presenting an epistemic judgment as interpersonally accessible to the conversational participants. Frequencies of combination with ἦ and ἄρα, linguistic tests for subjectivity on the potential optative, and contrastive contextual analyses corroborate this view.
Keywords
potential optative, epistemic modality, subjectivity, particles, eta, alpha rho alpha, ANCIENT-GREEK, RELEVANCE, NU

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

MLA
La Roi, Ezra. “Epistemic Modality, Particles and the Potential Optative in Classical Greek.” JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS, vol. 19, no. 1, 2019, pp. 58–89.
APA
La Roi, E. (2019). Epistemic modality, particles and the potential optative in Classical Greek. JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS, 19(1), 58–89.
Chicago author-date
La Roi, Ezra. 2019. “Epistemic Modality, Particles and the Potential Optative in Classical Greek.” JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS 19 (1): 58–89.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
La Roi, Ezra. 2019. “Epistemic Modality, Particles and the Potential Optative in Classical Greek.” JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS 19 (1): 58–89.
Vancouver
1.
La Roi E. Epistemic modality, particles and the potential optative in Classical Greek. JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS. 2019;19(1):58–89.
IEEE
[1]
E. La Roi, “Epistemic modality, particles and the potential optative in Classical Greek,” JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 58–89, 2019.
@article{8631347,
  abstract     = {This paper challenges the commonly held view that the Classical Greek potential optative has a subjective epistemic semantics, the result of a conceptual confusion of subjectivity and epistemic modality inherited from our standard grammars. I propose that this view becomes less convincing when the optative’s unique interaction with the subjective particles ἦ and ἄρα is incorporated into the analysis. Rather, the potential optative has a non-subjective epistemic semantics presenting an epistemic judgment as interpersonally accessible to the conversational participants. Frequencies of combination with ἦ and ἄρα, linguistic tests for subjectivity on the potential optative, and contrastive contextual analyses corroborate this view.},
  author       = {La Roi, Ezra},
  issn         = {1566-5844},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF GREEK LINGUISTICS},
  keywords     = {potential optative,epistemic modality,subjectivity,particles,eta,alpha rho alpha,ANCIENT-GREEK,RELEVANCE,NU},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {58--89},
  title        = {Epistemic modality, particles and the potential optative in Classical Greek},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15699846-01901002},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2019},
}

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