Monday, October 15, 2018


Anna Panayotou, Giovanbattista Galdi (ed.), Ἑλληνικὲς διάλεκτοι στὸν ἀρχαῖο κόσμο: Actes du VIe colloque international sur les dialectes grecs anciens (Nicosie, université de Chypre, 26-29 septembre 2011). Bibliothèque des cahiers de l'Institut de linguistique de Louvain (BCILL), 137. Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2017. Pp. xxvi, 391. ISBN 9789042931930. €87.00.

Reviewed by M. J. C. Scarborough, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

The volume under review consists of the published proceedings of the sixth international conference on Greek dialectology, held in Nicosia on the 26th to 29th of September 2011. These international conferences on Ancient Greek dialectology have been regularly held every five years since the inaugural conference organised by Claude Brixhe in 1987. The previous conferences in this series have also been published with proceedings and have been important venues for dissemination of research in Ancient Greek dialect studies. The present volume continues this tradition and contains the majority of papers given at the conference, consisting of twenty contributions on a wide variety of topics pertaining to the linguistic study of the Ancient Greek dialects. The contributions are primarily in French and English, but also with two contributions in Spanish and one in Italian. In addition to being a proceedings volume, the book has also been conceived as a memorial volume to the late Professor António López Eire. A full list of authors and titles is given at the end of the review.

The volume begins with a foreword by the editors (pp.vii-viii, in Modern Greek and French) and a quite large amount of conference ephemera containing also the opening address of the vice-rector of academic affairs of the University of Cyprus, and the opening greeting on behalf of the organisational committee (in both Modern Greek and French). There is also a complete programme (in Greek, French, German, and Italian) of the conference with the schedules, the titles of papers and presenters, the chairs of sessions, times and places of receptions and excursions. From this we can also see that a few papers did not make it into the proceedings. Some of these appear to have been published elsewhere, while others, as far as I have been able to determine, remain unpublished.1

The main contributions of the volume are organised into a basic structure of introductory material – including an historical overview of the five previous conferences on Ancient Greek dialectology 1986–2011 (Panayotou & Galdi) and an appreciation of the work on Ancient Greek dialectology by the dedicatee António López Eire (Lillo) – followed by papers dealing with the evidence of new documents and perspectives on the dialects, papers on the Achaean (i.e. Arcadian, Cypriot, and Pamphylian) dialects, Doric (West Greek) dialects, Ionian dialects, Aeolian dialects, and a final section of papers dealing with pan-dialectal matters. The contents of the volume are consequently heavily focused on the epichoric dialects attested through the epigraphic record. Only a single paper (Méndez Dosuna) specifically deals with dialect or the representation of dialect in literature. Finally, the editors of the volume are to be commended in creating very useful and extensive indices of cited inscriptions, Greek forms, ancient and Byzantine authors, place names, and a thematic index for all papers across the entire volume (pp.325-387).

Due to the space constraints of this review I cannot go over every one of the twenty contributions in detail, but I will discuss a few notable papers and end with some general remarks on the volume as a whole.

García-Ramón "La desinencia tesalia de 3pl. -(ι)εν: préterito y optativo" revisits the problematic question of the origin of the unusual Thessalian 3rd plural indicative imperfect and aorist verbal ending -(ι)εν. García-Ramón follows the hypothesis, first suggested by Morpurgo Davies, that the ending spread from the paradigm of the optative.2 In an attempt to adduce further support for the optative hypothesis, García-Ramón draws attention to cases where Thessalian uses 'oblique imperfects' where other dialects use optatives, providing an additional factor which could have encouraged the endings to merge for morphosyntactic reasons.3 García-Ramón further suggests (pp. 243-244) that the transfer of endings could have been influenced by the fact that the imperfect and optative of ἐμμί 'to be' were presumably identical. He does correctly point out that imperfect ειεν etymologically reflects *é-h₁s-ent while optative ειεν reflects * hs-i̯h-ént, but these forms would only be homophonous following the monophthongisation of *ei̯ to *ē, i.e. imperfect ē-en via the contraction of *e-e-en but optative ē-en via monophthongisation *ei̯-en. If so, this argument only holds for the spread of the variant - εν and the source of the variant -ιεν must be found elsewhere.4

Alonso Déniz "Some like it short? On <ευ> and <ηυ> for <εω> in Doric" is an excellent paper focusing on two separate but related problems concerning occasional anomalous spellings of diphthongs of <ευ> and <ηυ> for expected <εω> in Rhodian and in the oracular tablets from Dodona. He persuasively argues in both cases, with an impressive attention to detail of the primary evidence and the secondary literature, that the spellings cannot be motivated on phonological grounds, and therefore a morphological solution must instead be found. The only form that cannot be easily explained under the assumption of a morphological analogy is the form χρῆυνται in the oracular tablets at Dodona.5 In order to account for it, Alonso Déniz proposes that a Doric dialect with χρεῦνται could possibly have created χρῆυνται by analogy with the thematic subjunctive, i.e. φέρονται : φέρωνται :: χρεῦνται : X = χρῆυνται, although he wisely suggests, in lieu of any parallels to such an analogy and considering that oracular lamellae and defixiones frequently exhibit careless spellings, that the form perhaps should be emended to χρη<ω>νται in this case until new evidence comes to light to confirm this conjecture.6

Barrio Vega "Some Problematic Forms from Byzantion" investigates some unexpected forms in the inscriptions of Byzantium which cannot be easily attributed to the colonial variety of Megarian Doric, neighbouring Ionic varieties, or the koiné. The main features include the presence of the modal particle κε (Doric κα), sigmatic aorists with geminate - σσ- (e.g. ἐδίκασσε), and s-stem genitives of the type Μενεκράτη. Through analysis of the distribution of these features among the Greek dialects and adducing historical parallels, Barrio Vega convincingly argues that the presence of these forms in Byzantium points to the existence of a community of speakers of Asiatic Aeolic in the colony's population. This study is an excellent demonstration of how close linguistic analysis of Greek dialectal inscriptions can make concrete contributions to historical reconstructions and underscores the complexity of dialect interactions that are all too often not apparent from the epigraphic record.

Bartoněk "The Degree of Recognizing Immediately a Concrete Ancient Greek Dialect in the Speech of Native Speakers" considers the relative likelihood of any speaker of Attic Greek instantly recognising the regional dialect of any other Greek speaker. In order to do this he compares the distinctive isoglosses of other major dialect subgroupings or dialect continua (Ionic, 'Mild' Doric and South Aegean Doric, 'Strict' Doric, Aeolic dialects, Arcadian and Cypriot dialects) with those of Attic, and from this makes a subjective assessment of which features are more marked in comparison to Attic in order to judge whether the average speaker of Attic would be able to recognise a given dialect of Ancient Greek. While it might be possible to consider which dialects appear to be the most distinctive from each other in this way based on diagnostic isoglosses, I am unconvinced that this approach alone necessarily can be used as a reliable guide for judging whether an average speaker of Attic would be able to instantly recognise another regional dialect. While individual marked linguistic differences between dialects certainly play a role in causing a given dialect to be perceived as distinctive by a given speaker, for a naïve (i.e. non-linguistically trained) individual speaker to perceive a regional dialect as distinctive much also depends on individual speakers' awareness and competency in other varieties, whether through exposure or the geographic mobility of a given speaker. Without a more nuanced sociolinguistic framework or comparison with research on dialect perception in modern languages or both, I would consider the conclusions reached by this paper as somewhat speculative.7

While I may have been critical here regarding some of the papers in this volume, that should not detract from the quality of the whole as the scholarship within is generally of a high standard and fine tribute to the memory of the dedicatee. It can profitably be read by scholars interested in Ancient Greek linguistics and the interpretation of dialectal epigraphy. With a price of €87.00, this volume is unlikely to be a casual purchase for the non-specialist, but it should be acquired by all reference libraries that serve communities of researchers in Ancient Greek language, epigraphy, and historical linguistics.

Table of Contents

Dédicace à António López Eire. V
Photo des participants au colloque. vi
Πρόλογος των ἐκδοτών. vii
Avant-propos des éditeurs. viii
Adresse du Vice-recteur des Affaires Académiques, Prof. Athanasios Gagatsis. ix
Χαιρετισμός της Καθηγ. Ἀννας Παναγιώτου εκ μέρους της Οργανωτικής Επιτρομής. xi
Adresse de la Prof. Anna Panayotou de la part du Comité d'Organisation. xv
Πρόγραμμα – Programme. xvii
Références bibliographiques communes. xxiii

Introduction 1

Anna Panayotou – Giovanbattista Galdi, I colloqui internazionali di dialettologia greca antica, 1986-2011. 3
Antonio Lillo, López Eire and Greek Dialectology: an analysis of his work and influence for the publication of the Opuscula Selecta. 11

Documents nouveau – Perspectives sur les dialectes. 27
Yannis Tzifopoulos, Mattaios Bessos, Antonis Kotsonas, Panhellenes at Methone, Pieria (ca. 700 BCE): New inscriptions, graffiti/dipinti and trademarks. 29
Antonín Bartoněk, The degree of recognizing immediately a concrete Ancient Greek dialect in the speech of native speakers. 45

Le monde achene 55
Yves Duhoux, L'emploi des particules en chypriote et ailleurs. 57
Anna Panayotou, Les parlers locaux chypriotes de l'époque archaïque à la fin du IVe s. a.C. 71
Michael Meier-Brügger, La Pamphylie et le pamphylien. 95
Panagiotis Filos, Dialect evidence for Koine Greek: Pamphylian -ιιυς (→ -ις) vs. Koine -ιος (→ -ις) revisited. 103

Le monde dorien 115
Alcorac Alonso Déniz, Some like it short? On <ευ> and <ηυ> for <εω> in Doric. 117
Araceli Striano, A propósito de las formas χρηῦνται y ἐποικοδομηῦν (= χρέωνται y ἐποικοδομέων) precedentes de las liminillas de Dodona. 143
Catherine Dobias-Lalou, Sur quelques correspondances lexicales entre Cyrène, Rhodes, et Cos. 157
Enrique Nieto Izquierdo, Again on the original vocalism of the dialect of Hermione. 173
Sophie Minon, Le phratronyme argien Ἀμφιαρητείδας: un dérivé du héronyme local Ἀμφιάρηος? 187
Militiade Hatzopoulos, Un nouveau terme juridique macédonien. 203

Le monde ionien. 211
Laurent Dubois, Autour du sampi. 213

Le monde éolien. 231
José Luis García Ramón, La desinencia tesalia de 3pl. -(ι)εν: préterito y optativo. 233
Bruno Helly, Deux notes lexicographiques sur des inscriptions thessaliennes inédites. 247
Julián Méndez Dosuna, Aristophanes, Acharnians 869: What on earth befell the Theban merchant and his pennyroyal flowers? 271
María Luisa del Barrio Vega, Some problematic forms from Byzantion. 291

Développements interdialectaux. 305
Elena Martín González, Movable nu in Archaic Greek epigraphic prose. 307

Liste des auteurs. 323
Indices. 325
I. Texts épigraphiques. 327
a. Inscriptions en lineaire B. 327
b. Inscriptions en syllabaires chypriotes. 327
c. Inscriptions alphabétiques. 329
II. Formes grecques. 339
a. Index syllabique mycénien. 339
b. Index syllabique chypriote. 339
c. Index alphabétique. 340
III. Auteurs anciens et byzantins. 363
IV. Noms de lieux. 367
V. Dialectes et koiné, alphabets et syllabaires locaux. 373
VI. Index analytique des principals matières discutées. 383

Table des matières. 389


1.   For instance, Carlo Vessella's paper "Boeotian accentuation and the ancient editions of Boeotian lyric poetry" in the third conference session (p. xix) appears to have been published in Mnemosyne 69 (2016) 742-759.
2.   Cf. A. Morpurgo Davies "A Note on Thessalian" Glotta 43 (1965) 235-251.
3.   It is worth observing that since this paper was originally given J. Méndez Dosuna has recently argued that this is less convincing on the basis that the construction of the oblique imperfect is not a construction exclusive to Thessalian, and that oblique optative constructions are not so easily interchangeable. Additionally Méndez Dosuna points out that the oblique imperfect is not exclusive to Thessalian and the oblique optative construction is apparently not attested in Thessalian. This latter point, as Méndez Dosuna himself however admits, is less cogent since this could well be due to the scarcity of longer Thessalian dialect inscriptions with narrative content where one might expect to find such constructions. Cf. J. Méndez Dosuna "Thessalian Secondary 3pl. -(ι)εν and the Optative: Dangerous Liasons" In: Studies in Ancient Greek Dialects: From Central Greece to the Black Sea, ed. by G. Giannakis, K., E. Crespo & P. Filos. (Berlin 2018, pp. 398-401).
4.   It is difficult to determine with certainty when the monophthongisation *ei̯ > * occurred due to the use of <E> to spell both primary and secondary front mid-long vowels in archaic alphabet inscriptions, but the sound change appears to have taken place at least by the 4th century, cf. M. Scarborough "On the Phonology and Orthography of the Thessalian Mid-Long Vowels" In: G. Kotzoglou et al. eds. 11th International Conference on Greek Linguistics (Rhodes, 26-29 September 2013): Selected Papers / Πρακτικά (Rhodes 2014, pp. 1535-1548). In any case, the creation of both variants the -(ι)εν ending must have been fairly early, as both variants are attested in archaic alphabet script texts already by ca. 500 BCE, e.g. -ιεν in SEG 23:416.1-2 [ἐ]δο̄́[κ]αιεν (Pherai); -εν in SEG 27:183.2 ὀνεθε̄́κ<α>εν (Atrax).
5.   Cf. É. Lhôte, Les lamelles oraculaires de Dodone. (Geneva 2006), No. 144.
6.   Elsewhere in this same volume A. Striano attempts to explain this same form via a phonological solution.
7.   For discussion of these factors and an example of research in this area on contemporary languages, cf. Clopper & Pisoni "Free classification of regional dialects of American English" Journal of Phonetics 35 (2006) pp. 421-424, containing a study of monolingual American English speakers' perception of variation in American English dialects tested in a laboratory experimental context.

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