Constructional paradigms across word classes – evidence from Greek of un-orderly constructions forming orderly grammatical paradigms – Københavns Universitet

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Constructional paradigms across word classes – evidence from Greek of un-orderly constructions forming orderly grammatical paradigms.

Sandra Lucas, assistant professor

The project is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

This project is concerned with language change from both an empirical and a theoretical point of view.

The aim is to demonstrate how linguistic constructions with components from differing word classes make up orderly grammatical paradigms, i.e. oppositional relations of meaning. To this end it is suggested that three very different constructions from Post-Classical Greek form paradigmatic relations to take over the functional domain of the dying infinitive. This analysis of the verbal system challenges a common assumption about the development of the Greek verbal system, namely that it becomes increasingly simple. The assumption originates on the one hand in the fact that the new forms do not resemble classical grammatical forms and on the other hand the fact that the systemic developments accompanying the demise of the infinitive are not yet clear to us – a deficiency this project aims to remedy.

Further, I dispute in this project the definition of constructions as it is formulated within Construction Grammar, one of the 21st century’s  most influential theoretical approaches to grammar. I argue that the common definition of constructions should be extended to include combinations of word with compositional meaning, i.e. with a meaning that can be deduced from the separate meanings of the words and is not necessarily an abstraction of the combination. Such compositional meaning is relevant with regard to the constructions analyzed in this project.