8-10 December 2017
Alpen Adria Universität Klagenfurt
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Alpen Adria Universität Klagenfurt - Mensagebäude (Hörsaal 11)

Complementation markers in Early Modern Greek Literature: A corpus-based approach


  • Mr. Konstantinos SAMPANIS
  • Mrs. Eleni KARANTZOLA
  • Mr. Anastassios PAPAIOANNOU

Primary authors


In this paper we examine the distribution of markers introducing complement clauses in Early Modern Greek (henceforth: EMG, 16th – 17th c.) on the basis of two extensive and highly representative corpora: (a) a corpus of 250 extracts from 16th century manuscripts and printed books from various genres (Kakoulidi-Panou, Karantzola & Tiktopoulou, in press), and (b) a corpus of 100 extracts from autograph manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries that have been recently documented (Papaioannou: 2016) and for the first time linguistically investigated – all available in diplomatic edition. By applying a meticulous statistical approach through the corpora, we present patterns at the complementation system of EMG that differ from Standard Modern Greek (SMG), revealing syntactic tendencies in the language that have finally not been established (such as the use of joint complement markers that are ungrammatical in SMG, cf. Karantzola & Sampanis: 2016). These patterns are interesting not only regarding the diachrony of the Greek complementation system but also with respect to how language change processes in general. Therefore, we suggest that tracing the frequency of syntactic patterns in larger corpora, or patterns that “popped up” and disappeared in the history of a language may be supportive for theories such as the one called “Grammars in Competition”, introduced by Kroch (1989).


KAKOULIDI-PANOU, Eleni, Eleni KARANTZOLA & Katerina TIKTOPOULOU. In press. Demotic prose texts of the 16th c. [in Greek]. Athens / Thessaloniki: MIET / Centre for Greek Language.

KARANTZOLA, Eleni & Konstantinos SAMPANIS. 2016. “On the “pleonastic” usage of complement markers in Early Modern Greek”. Journal of Greek Linguistics 16 (2): 202 – 231.

KROCH, Anthony. 1989. Reflexes of Grammar in Patterns of Language Change. In Language Variation and Change 1: 199–244.

PAPAIOANNOU, Anastassios. 2016. Prose texts in vernacular Greek, of writers of the 16th and 17th c., according to autographs anuscripts [in Greek]. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of the Aegean, Rhodes.