Linguistik online




Polysynthetic Tendencies in Modern Greek

Chariton Charitonidis (Köln)



The aim of this paper is to provide a more accurate typological classification of Modern Greek. The verb in MG shows many polysynthetic traits, such as noun and adverb incorporation into the verbal complex, a large inventory of bound morphemes, pronominal marking of objects, many potential slots before the verbal head, nonconfigurational syntax, etc. On the basis of these traits, MG has similarities with polysynthetic languages such as Abkhaz, Cayuga, Chukchi, Mohawk, Nahuatl, a.o. I will show that the abundance of similar patterns between MG and polysynthesis point to the evolution of a new system away from the traditional dependent-marking strategy and simple synthesis towards head-marking and polysynthesis. Finally, I will point to the risk of undertaking a direct comparison of different language systems by discussing the pronominal head-marking strategies in MG and the North American languages.

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