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Language on stage. Particles in ancient Greek drama

Drummen, Annemieke

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Ancient Greek particles are uninflected function words, such as γε, δέ, and οὖν. They mainly signal relations between parts of a text and/or the speaker’s attitude towards a text’s content, rather than or in addition to expressing semantic or syntactic meanings. That is, particles indicate to a hearer or reader how to process the surrounding words. This general description in fact encompasses a wide range of very different functions.

Particles populate every page of Greek literature, including tragedy and comedy, with high frequency and great variety. Understanding their uses is therefore helpful for the interpretation of these texts. However, the elusive nature and the multifunctionality of particles make their functions hard to grasp. Despite a long-standing tradition of Greek particle studies, readers of Greek literature often do not fully appreciate these words’ contributions to texts, or even ignore them altogether in interpretation.

The solution lies in adopting a specific approach to particle use: one that takes into account more co-text than only the sentence in which a particle occurs, and more context than merely the co-occurring words. By applying such approach here, I provide new readings of ancient Greek particles, and new tools for analyzing and interpreting them. The resulting understanding of particles is valuable for our reading and interpretation of the dramatic texts in general.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Bonifazi, Dr. Anna
Date of thesis defense: 3 July 2015
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:18
Date: 2017
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Seminar für klassische Philologie
Subjects: 480 Hellenic languages Classical Greek
Controlled Keywords: Sprachwissenschaft, Pragmatik, Altgriechisch, Drama, Tragödie, Komödie
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