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Grammatical ChangeOrigins, Nature, Outcomes$
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Dianne Jonas, John Whitman, and Andrew Garrett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582624.001.0001

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Parametric changes in the history of the Greek article

Parametric changes in the history of the Greek article

(p.179) 9 Parametric changes in the history of the Greek article
Grammatical Change

Cristina Guardiano

Oxford University Press

This chapter accounts for two changes that distinguish Modern Greek from Ancient (Classical and New Testament) Greek: the requirement in Modern Greek that proper names occur with a definite article, and the rise of an indefinite article. It argues that these two changes are related. In Ancient Greek, nominal expressions could receive a singular count interpretation with a null expletive D head. The rise of overt indefinite articles indicates that the feature count had come to be grammaticalized (that is, required spellout). Once this requirement was in place, a null expletive in D became generally unavailable, requiring that the overt determiner in D select a proper name.

Keywords:   Modern Greek, Ancient Greek, proper names, definite articles, indefinite articles, nominal expressions

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