Comparative Philology and Linguistics

Philomen Probert

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Comparative Philology and Linguistics

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Greek History
  • Classical Philosophy


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Questions about the ancient Greek language arise in many areas of Hellenic studies and might include, for example: Which linguistic characteristics of the Homeric poems as we have them are particularly ancient? Under what circumstances does Thucydides use an aorist participle in preference to a present participle? How did ancient Greeks address one another or make requests of one another? Comparison with related languages can provide insights into the prehistory of the language and contribute to such questions. This article attempts to highlight some recent developments in these three areas: comparative and historical grammar; synchronic grammar; and the social and stylistic diversity of Greek. Typological and theoretical linguistic work has been, and continues to be, a valuable source of inspiration and hypotheses for work on Greek. Also, work on Greek requires not only ideas and hypotheses but their systematic testing against well-defined corpora of texts.

Keywords: ancient Greek language; Hellenic studies; comparative grammar; historical grammar; synchronic grammar

Article.  5220 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Classical Philosophy

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