Article published in:Clitic Doubling in the Balkan Languages
Edited by Dalina Kallulli and Liliane Tasmowski
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 130] 2008
► pp. 89–103
3. The genesis of clitic doubling from Ancient to Medieval Greek
The study of the development of clitic doubling in Greek and its possible connection with the other Balkan languages amounts to ascertain when it came into being, and why and under which conditions it occurred. Greek has no subject clitics. As for object clitic doubling, the oldest – isolated – examples can be found in the (private) papyri of the Hellenistic Age, but they hardly appear in literary texts. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that object clitic doubling existed in its modern form in the oldest texts that use the demotic language (from the twelfth century onwards), but that it was avoided by scribes who wanted to maintain strict standards. This popular, or even vulgar, character seems to be due to the essentially redundant nature of clitic doubling in Greek: it concerns only topics, i.e., given information, already marked for its “givenness” by specific devices, such as the anteposed definite article. It does not depend on object agreement marking through clitic doubling. In the period under study (up to ca 1600), clitic doubling is facultative, and even if the clitics cannot be separated from their verb, their position with respect to the verb (pre- or postverbal) is determined by a combination of syntactic and pragmatic factors. They are certainly not yet to be considered as verbal morphemes.
Published online: 12 November 2008
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