On the origins of the participle as a part of speech

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The participle is one of the eight parts of speech in ancient Greek grammaticography. In spite of its constant inclusion in grammar manuals of the ancient Greek tradition, its status is problematic given that the participle is defined not in terms of proper and specific characteristics, but precisely in terms of ‘participating’ in the nature of two other parts of speech. The historical reality was that the status of the participle constituted a topic of discussion from the philosophical-classificatory point of view (going back to the logical and grammatical doctrines of the Stoics) and that it also formed the object of grammatical debates (concerning the parts of speech of which a number of combined characteristics are displayed by the participle). This contribution offers a source-based study of the philosophically inspired and grammatically oriented discussions concerning the status, the definition and the classification of the participle in Greek antiquity.


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