The rise of ‘subordination features’ in the history of Greek and their decline

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This study is a contribution based on Greek material to a field of inquiry that deals with the diachronic development of formal syntactic devices and their interrelationship with the dichotomy between main and subordinate clauses in Indo-European (Kiparsky 1995, L&#252;hr 2008). First, we focus on some devices signaling indirect speech that emerged in Pre-Classical and Classical Greek, such as the development of a system of complementizers (<i>h&#243;ti</i> &#8216;that.COMP&#8217;, <i>h&#333;s</i> &#8216;that.COMP&#8217;) and some characteristic usages of moods (the optative of indirect speech). In Post-Classical Greek, this system of traits that had been employed to code indirect speech collapsed, as evidenced by the disappearance of <i>h&#333;s</i> &#8216;that.COMP&#8217; and the optative of indirect speech as well as the high frequency of pleonastic <i>h&#243;ti</i> &#8216;that.COMP&#8217;. Later in the history of Greek a new subordination system arises. We interpret these developments in the light of contemporary syntactic theory (Emonds 2004, 2012), and try to formulate a hypothesis regarding the cycle-like regularities and recurrent patterns that are followed by (clusters of) traits, that is, the &#8220;Indirect Speech Traits Cycle&#8221;.


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