On the loss of the masculine genitive plural in Cypriot Greek

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The case system of Greek has undergone extensive changes, most notably loss of the dative and reorganisation of the genitive. The clear winner of this situation is the accusative. In this paper we investigate one more instance whereby the accusative wins out over the genitive: the loss of the genitive plural from the masculine nominal paradigm of Cypriot Greek. Noted in descriptions of the dialect since the 19th century —and persisting, albeit somewhat attenuated, to this day— this phenomenon has been attributed both to internal evolution (analogy) and to external factors (contact with French). We assess these two explanations from a structural and from a sociolinguistic perspective, and highlight some problematic areas that ought to be investigated before we can arrive at a more comprehensive view of how this change came about.


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