Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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This paper argues for the discoursal motivation of constructions and the constructional motivation of a Modern Greek indefinite article, by focusing on generics and some other nominal constructions in Modern Greek containing the indefinite determiner enas/mia/ena (“a/an”, masc./fem./ neut. respectively). Moreover, it illustrates the cross-linguistic relevance of Construction Grammar. A family of indefinite nominal constructions is identified, including the Indefinite Generic Construction, the Indefinite Proper Noun Construction, the Indefinite Predicate Nominal Construction, and the Proverbial Indefinite Construction, which is further shown to be primed by specific pragmatic and discoursal features. On the basis of the proposed analysis, and consistently with established views on semantic change (Traugott 1989), I suggest that the expressivity and the discoursal characterization associated with this family of indefinite constructions in Modern Greek motivate the partial de-semanticization of the indefinite determiner, its synchronic variability (after Hoffmann & Trousdale 2011) and, ultimately, its function as an article in the language.


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