Chapter published in:Space in Diachrony
Edited by Silvia Luraghi, Tatiana Nikitina and Chiara Zanchi
[Studies in Language Companion Series 188] 2017
► pp. 147–178
New evidence for the Source–Goal asymmetry
Ancient Greek preverbs
This paper provides new evidence for the Source–Goal asymmetry by analyzing the synchronic behavior and the diachronic developments of Ancient Greek preverbs. This investigation is based on a diachronic corpus, including Homer as well as later prose, obtained by selecting a number of verbs representing different verb classes. Ancient Greek preverbs show both synchronic and diachronic asymmetries. The Goal is expressed by a larger number of preverbs than the Source, and is often associated with Location. Source-preverbs are more advanced in grammaticalization than Goal-preverbs: they are more obligatory, more easily repeated, and show a stronger tendency to develop actional meanings. Moreover, compounds with Source-preverbs often take a Goal-participant, whereas the opposite is not attested. These asymmetries are due to the syncretism undergone by Ancient Greek cases, which turned the genitive into a highly polysemous case.
Keywords: Ancient Greek, preverbs, Source–Goal asymmetry, grammaticalization, case syncretism
Published online: 14 August 2017
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