Mark Janse on Hellenistic Greek

I have added eight works by Mark Janse to my Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics. (Thanks to Mike Aubrey for providing the bibliographic information on six of them and a lead to the seventh.)

Dr. Janse is Research Professor in Asia Minor and Ancient Greek at Ghent University. He has written extensively about the history of Greek and related issues in Linguistics. The publications that I have added to the bibliography are ones that consciously apply a specific insight from Linguistics to the study of Greek from the Hellenistic period, or in one case from the Classical period where no similar work has yet been published for Hellinistic Greek.

Here are the items I added:

Janse, Mark. “Aspects of Bilingualism in the History of the Greek Language.” In: J.N. Adams, Mark Janse & Simon Swain (eds.), Bilingualism in Ancient Society. Language Contact and the Written Word. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 332-390.

________. “The Distribution of the Enclitic Personal Pronouns in New Tetament Greek in the Light of the Septuagint and the Modern Greek Dialects of Asia Minor: A Structural-Functional Analysis.” PhD. dissertation: Ghent University, Department of Latin and Greek.

This dissertation is available from Dissertations Abstracts International 58 (1997) 776-C. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International.

________. “La phrase segmentée en grec ancien. Le témoignage des enclitiques.” Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 86.1 (1991) XIV-XVI. Paris: Klinck sieck.

________. “La position des pronoms presonnels enclitiques en grec neo-testamentaire a la lumiere des dialectes neo-helleniques. In C. Brixhe ed. La koine grecque antique I (1993), 83-121. Nancy: Presses Universitaires de Nancy.

________. “Phonological Aspects of Clisis in Ancient and Modern Greek.” Glotta 73 (1995-1996) 155-167. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

________. “The Prosodic Basis of Wackernagel’s Law.” In André Crochetière, Jean-Claude Boulanger & Conrad Ouellon (eds.), Les langues menacées. Actes du XVe Congrès international des linguistes, Québec, Université Laval, 9-14 août 1992. Sainte-Foy: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1993, Vol. 4, 19-22.

Originally presented as a paper at the 15th International Congress of Linguists, Quebec, August 9 to 14, 1992.

Creve, Sam, Mark Janse, and Kristoffel Demoen, “The Pauline Key Words πνεῦμα and σάρξ and their Translation.” Filología Neotestamentaria. Vol. 20 (2007), 15-31.

Mike Aubrey has himself done a good amount of work on Hellenistic Greek Clitics and reached similar conclusions. He has posted several discussions at ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ.

What should a lexicon include?

Carl Conrad has raised a valid objection to calling the cumulative vocabulary list for my online grammar a “lexicon,” and I would like to address the reasons he is right. That will also give me the opportunity to lay out my long range plan for what I have called my “online lexicon.”

What is listed in the table of contents of my online grammar as the “lexicon” is not yet truly a lexicon in the correct sense of the word. This is true for at least two reasons. First, it is merely the cumulative list of the words presented in the vocabulary lists for the lessons in my grammar. It is nowhere near a complete presentation of Hellenistic Greek vocabulary. Second, what is given for each entry in the “lexicon” is not what should be included in a work that properly deserves that title. What I have included so far is nothing more than a list of English glosses for each Greek word—a list of possible ways to translate the word into English. A proper lexicon would include discussions of the meanings of each Greek word. Traditionally, Greek lexica for English speakers have also included citations of the literature upon which the lexicon is based, and I have not done this yet.

So why have I called it a “lexicon.” Well… the truth is that I have given it an ambitious title based on what I intend for it to become over time. I didn’t want to call it a “glossary” or “word list”—which might better describe its present state—because I would have to change the title later and possibly some file names, which would complicate links within the grammar. Looking back, I realize I could have made the file names conform to the “lexicon” designation while not calling it that in my blog posts, but I didn’t think of that at the time.

Here’s what I envision the “lexicon” becoming over the next few years. First, it will become a more complete list of Hellenistic vocabulary as the grammar expands. When the last chapter of the introductory grammar is uploaded, I will not stop expanding the “lexicon.” I will begin to add words not included in the grammar.

Second, I will add proper definitions—explanations of the various meanings of each word—over time, but I will not introduce these into the current document until I have completed all or virtually all of them. Writing proper lexical entries takes time and much reading of Hellenistic Greek texts. I do not want the definitions to appear piecemeal.

Third, I will add descriptions of the argument structure of all verbs, prepositions, and deverbal nouns. By “argument structure” I mean the semantic roles these words necessitate in their complements, and the relationships between those roles.

If and when that process is completed, I hope to move on to discussions of the syntactic and semantic properties of other word types.

This will likely be a life-long project. If you have input you would like to offer on particular words or on the structure of an appropriate lexicon, I would love to hear it.

I want the lexicon, eventually, to serve the interests of beginning students, readers of ancient Greek texts who need to quickly find the meaning of a particular word that has them stumped, and exegetes engaged in serious study of Hellenistic Greek vocabulary. It clearly does not meet these goals now. They are targets for the future.

Please offer feedback. I would love to hear it.

Lesson 21: More on the Aorist Middle and Passive

I have added lesson 21 (Aorist Middle/Passive) to the online grammar. Because I am working late at night—rushing to get it up and running before I go back to work tomorrow—I’m sure there will be a few typographical errors that I will need to correct over the next few days. Still, I thought it would be best to get the text “out there” so you can have a look at it and give my any feedback you would like.

As I have done with other lessons recently, I have uploaded it without the automated practice exercises. I will get to those soon (I hope!).

Lesson 21: Verbs: More on the Aorist Middle and Passive

Lesson 19: Semantic Roles and Voice, The Aorist Passive

I’ve uploaded a slightly revised version of Lesson 19: Semantic Roles and Voice: the Aorist Passive.

The changes are designed to make it clear that what has traditionally been called the Aorist Passive is a set of forms that, while they often suggest a passive interpretation, are not exclusively (or even primarily) passive.

The middle voice will be introduced later, and at that point I will have more to say about Greek voice, and I’ll introduce the notion of transitivity. My goals for this lesson are simply to introduce the notion of the semantic roles AGENT and PATIENT—establishing their independence from specific morphological Case forms—and to introduce the forms traditionally called aorist passive.

I would love to hear from readers about how well you think I have accomplished these goals and about how clearly (or unclearly) I have handled the issue of insuring that students do not equate these forms exclusively with passive voice interpretations.

Lesson 19: Semantic Roles and Voice: the Aorist Passive