Nominal vs copular clauses in a diachronic corpus of Ancient Greek historians. A treebank-based analysis

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Abstract

We study the distribution of the nominal and copular construction of predicate nominals in a subset of authors from the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank (AGDT). We concentrate on the texts of the historians Herodotus, Thucydides (both 5th century BCE) and Polybius (2nd century BCE). The data comprise a sample of 440 sentences (Hdt = 175, Thuc = 91, Pol = 174). We analyze the impact of four features that have been discussed in the literature and can be observed in the annotation of AGDT: (1) order of constituents, (2) part of speech of the subjects, (3) type of clause and (4) length of the clause. Furthermore, we test how the predictive power of these factors varies in time from Herodotus and Thucydides to Polybius with the help of a logistic-regression model. The analysis shows that, contrary to a simplistic opinion, the nominal construction does not drop into irrelevance in Hellenistic Greek. Moreover, an analysis of the distributions in the authors highlights a remarkable continuity in the usage patterns. Further work is needed to improve the predictive power of our logistic-regression model and to integrate more data in view of a more comprehensive quantitative diachronic study.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)90-113
Numero di pagine24
RivistaJournal of Greek Linguistics
Volume19
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019

Keywords

  • Ancient Greek syntax
  • Copula
  • Greek historians
  • Nominal clauses
  • Treebanks

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