Category: Linguistics

Greek -eza ethnonyms

By: | Post date: 2019-05-09 | Comments: 6 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

I’m sure someone somewhere has already written about this. In fact, I’m sure multiple people have. But I enjoy reinventing the wheel. (And getting inspiration from Quora, as well as Nikos Sarantakos’ blog, for articles here. My thanks to Evangelos Lolos for prodding me on this.) Modern Greek used to have a lot of ethnonyms […]

o-vocatives: Analogical Account, IV: What Henrich said

By: | Post date: 2019-04-21 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

I’ve finally taken the time to read Günther Henrich’s 1976 thesis on the spread of the -o vocative and -o genitive in Greek. My blog series has been something like 15 pp written off the cuff, with minimal research. Henrich’s is 270 pp of meticulous historical and dialectal research. He has orders of magnitude more […]

o-vocatives: Analogical account, Part III

By: | Post date: 2019-04-08 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

In the last few posts, I’ve worked through the analogies that have extended the o-vocative into proper names: M1–M5, O2–O6. There was to-ing and fro-ing, there was nebulous definition and redefinition of rules, there was a whole ballet of criteria. But the ballet orchestration can be formulated: the rules for the analogy are sweeping, even […]

o-vocatives: Analogical account, Part II

By: | Post date: 2019-03-31 | Comments: 4 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

So far we have accounted for: M1: Bisyllabic common nouns that used to be third declension: ˈɣeros “old man”, ˈðjakos “deacon”. (Ancient ɡérɔːn, diákɔːn). M2: Bisyllabic truncated, informal given names: ˈɣjorɣos, ˈnikos, ˈðimos (corresponding to the formal forms ɣeorɣios, nikolaos, ðimitrios) “George, Nick, Dimitri” M3: The trisyllabic (truncated) name aˈlekos “Alec” O2: Bisyllabic formal given […]

o-vocatives: Analogical account, Part I

By: | Post date: 2019-03-31 | Comments: 5 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

So we have the messy data on the distribution of the o-vocative in Greek. And we have the tools to try and make sense of that distribution, in terms of features that classes of nouns with the o-vocative have in common. We also, as it turns out, have an entire PhD thesis on the o-vocative: […]

How analogy works, and what analogy does

By: | Post date: 2019-03-31 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics

We have seen the data on the spread of o-vocatives in Modern Greek. I will post how I make sense of the data. But first, some preliminaries about analogy. How analogy works Analogy in language change takes a linguistic rule that applies to one word or paradigm or category, and starts applying it to another […]

The retreat of the e-vocative in Modern Greek: the data

By: | Post date: 2019-03-27 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

This is a story of analogy, based on an article at Nikos Sarantakos’ blog (because the traffic between our two blogs has ever been two-way). Sarantakos’ article in turn cites an older blog post by Giannis Haris, which cites two grammars of Modern Greek. The story is the retreat of the vocative in Modern Greek. […]

Phanariot: an apology for Schleicherian bias

By: | Post date: 2019-01-25 | Comments: 4 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

I was recently perusing Peter Mackridge’s paper Some literary representations of spoken Greek before nationalism 1750-1801, and I got sidetracked by an incidental footnote on diacritics use in Karamanlidika in the 18th century. And now, to unpack. Peter Mackridge is the emeritus professor of Modern Greek in Oxford. He has written a wealth of papers […]


By: | Post date: 2018-01-12 | Comments: 10 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek

In my time at the TLG, there was many a mediaeval Greek word that was not in the main dictionaries—Lampe, Trapp (which was not yet complete at the time), and Kriaras (ditto); and I would expend pleasant and assiduous effort in trying to track those words down elsewhere. One such word was the Byzantine Greek […]

Kaliarda XXXIV: Miscellanea from Kaliarda

By: | Post date: 2018-01-05 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

The following words mainly illustrate the interesting ways Kaliarda implements its schematicism: aðelfula cat: “little sissy” (gays identifying with cats) anemoviva soul: “wind life” adikotos distant: “un-seen” astedupuros director: “‘That’s how I want it!’ old man” < Arvanitika është dua “that’s how I want it” (also used in mainstream slang) atsarðo countryside: “houseless” axatozo interior, […]

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