Deixis and person in the development of Greek personal pronominal paradigms

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The historical development of the singular personal pronouns in Greek from the Classical language into Modern Greek is presented here with attention first of all to the ways in which sound change, analogy, and semantic change shape the paradigms. In addition, the role that the notions of deixis and person have played in these processes of change is examined, and claims that have been made in the literature, especially by Haiman 1991, about the principles that guide the emergence of weak (“clitic”) pronouns in a language are tested against the Greek developments, and ultimately found to be inadequate. Of particular note is the unusual development in latter Greek by which a weak subject pronoun was created with two, and only two, predicates. It is shown too that Modern Greek provides a basis for distinguishing between syntactically weak forms and forms that are merely phonologically weak.


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