Books on Greek word order?

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Books on Greek word order?

Postby Peter Streitenberger » September 7th, 2012, 2:38 pm

Dear Friends of the Greek Language,

is there a good book (or essay) on Greek word order and its function and meaning ?
Thank you !
Peter, Germany
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby MAubrey » September 7th, 2012, 3:25 pm

(I moved this to the Book forum)

Yes. There are a few of books.

Here are the ones I would suggest:

Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue by Helma Dik (Dik has another book on word order in Herodotus, but it seems to be out of print right now. It's called: Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus).

Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information Structure of New Testament Greek by Stephen Levinsohn

Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis by Steve Runge
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby MAubrey » September 7th, 2012, 3:31 pm

A couple other resources:

There's a useful dissertation by Nick Bailey: http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/handle/1871/15504

A. M. Devine and Laurence D. Stephens' book Discontinuous Syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek is pretty good too, but its a difficult read unless you have some background knowledge in generative syntax and also a few of their views on Greek word order aren't exactly consensus either.
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Peter Streitenberger » September 8th, 2012, 4:59 am

Dear Mike,
thank you ! I'll consult Levinsohn and Runge first.
Yours
Peter, Germany
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Paul-Nitz » September 16th, 2012, 8:54 am

There's another discussion about this topic at:

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=669

Note especially Iver Larson's paper linked there.
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby RandallButh » September 17th, 2012, 3:38 am

There are two different systems at work in the citations of (Runge and Levinsohn) versus (Larsen).

Larsen has a simple scaler: the more to the left the more prominent.

Runge, Levinsohn, H. Dik, S. Dik, myself, and many functional linguists differentiate fronted constituents as Topical/Contextualizing vs Focal.
If the left-placed constituent is the most salient piece of information, then it is called "Focus" (or synonym), while a left-placed item that is not the most salient (important, reason for statement of the clause) is viewed as marked for contextual/relational reasons, to set up a topic/context span, name an entity for comparison/contrast, break the default foregrounded chaining.

The differentiated, multi-reason is the majority view in linguistics. In terms of signal, it is assumed that left-placed constitutents will also interact with the intonation/tonal system of a language so that a differentiated signal is possible in a language for a left-placed item.

Of course, this does not answer all questions for readers where texts do not have intonational/stress/tone differences marked in a text. The reader must supply their own reading and interpret left-placed constituents as either normal-left-placed (contextualizing contstituents) or marked left-placed (focus constituents).

[PS: a constituent may be more than one word, a whole phrase, or sometimes a partial constituent, a word from a phrase.)
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Orinic » March 29th, 2016, 1:16 am

K. J. Dover presents a decade of work on the problems of Greek word order......
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Stephen Hughes » April 1st, 2016, 9:34 pm

Orinic wrote:K. J. Dover presents a decade of work on the problems of Greek word order......

That decade was the 1950s before the emmergence of modern linguistic in the 1960s.

Aparently Dover was superceeded by Dik, as mentioned in a post from 1996.
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Wes Wood » April 2nd, 2016, 12:07 am

In another thread, Stephen Carlson has said--and this is only a paraphrase from memory--that Dover's labels and/or terminology makes the book difficult reading. Having read the book in question within the last week and a half, I can say that this statement is true. It is worth reading for an early perspective on the subject, but there are other works that are current and easier to read, follow, understand, and apply.
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ
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Re: Books on Greek word order?

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 2nd, 2016, 9:09 pm

I've compiled a list of the most important publications on Greek word order, grouped in four different approaches (though the latest publications tend to borrow from the others making the categorization somewhat imperfect/arbitrary).

Philological Approaches:
  • Henri Weil, The Order of Words in the Ancient Languages Compared with that of the Modern Languages, trans. Charles W. Super (Boston: Ginn, 1887).
  • Jacob Wackernagel, “Über ein Gesetz der indogermanischen Wortstellung” in Jacob Wackernagel, Kleine Schriften (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1953), 1–104.
  • Eduard Fraenkel, “Kolon und Satz: Beobachtungen zur Gliederung des antiken Satz, I” in Eduard Fraenkel, Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie (vol. 1; Raccolta di studi e testi 95; Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1964), 73–92; idem, “Kolon und Satz: Be-obachtungen zur Gliederung des antiken Satz, II” in Fraenkel, Kleine Beiträge, 93–130.
  • K. J. Dover, Greek Word Order (Cambridge: CUP, 1960).
  • M. H. B. Marshall, Verbs, Nouns, and Postpositives in Attic Prose, SCS 3 (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press).
  • Frank Scheppers, The Colon Hypothesis: Word Order, Discourse Segmentation and Discourse Coherence in Ancient Greek (Brussels, VUB Press, 2011).

Syntactic Approaches (incl. Generative and Cartographic)
  • Ann Taylor, “Clitics and Configurationality in Ancient Greek” (Ph.D. diss., U. Penn, 1990).
  • A. M. Devine and Laurence D. Stephens, Discontinuous Syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek (New York: OUP, 1999).
  • Allison Kirk, “Word Order and Information Structure in New Testament Greek” (Ph.D. diss, U. Leiden, 2012).
  • David Goldstein, Classical Greek Syntax: Wackernagel’s Law in Herodotus, BSIELL (Leiden: Brill, 2015).

Functional/Pragmatic Approaches:
  • Helma Dik, Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus, ASCP 5 (Amsterdam: Gieben, 1995).
  • Stephen H. Levinsohn, Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information Structure of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed. (Dallas: SIL, 2000).
  • Dejan Matić, “Topic, Focus, and Discourse Structure: Ancient Greek Word Order,” Studies in Language 27 (2003): 573-633.
  • Helma Dik, Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue (Oxford: OUP, 2007).
  • Nicolas Bertrand, “L’ordre des mots chez Homère: Structure informationnelle, localisation et progression du récit” (Ph.D. diss, Sorbonne, 2010).
  • Giuseppe G. A. Celano, “Argument-Focus and Predicate-Focus Structure in Ancient Greek: Word Order and Phonology,” Studies in Language 37 (2013): 241-266.
  • Rutger Allan, “Changing the Topic: Topic Position in Ancient Greek Word Order,” Mnemosyne 67 (2014): 181-213.

Prosodic/Phonological Approaches:
  • Mark Janse, “The Prosodic Basis of Wackernagel’s Law,” Actes du XVe Congrès des linguists (1993): 19-22.
  • A. M. Devine and Laurence D. Stephens, The Prosody of Greek Speech (Oxford: OUP, 1994).
  • Mark Janse, “Phonological Aspects of Clisis in Ancient and Modern Greek,” Glotta 73 (1995): 1555-167.
  • Brian Agbayani and Chris Golston, “Phonological Movement in Classical Greek,” Language 86 (2010): 133-167.
  • David Michael Goldstein, “Wackernagel’s Law in Fifth-Century Greek” (Ph.D. diss., UCB, 2010).
  • Tom Recht, “Verb-Initial Clauses in Ancient Greek Prose: A Discourse-Pragmatic Study” (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2015).

As one can see, there's been quite a lot of interest in Greek word order over the past 20 years and it only seems to be increasing steam.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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