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Lecture | CIEL Seminars

Dative plural endings of the o- and ā-stems in Ancient Greek and a potential early syncretism between Instrumental and Dative in Mycenaean Greek

Friday 21 April 2023
Comparative Indo-European Linguistics (CIEL) Seminars
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


The coexistence of ‘long’ and ‘short’ endings for the syncretic dative plural of the o- and ā-stems is just one of the many peculiarities of the Homeric Kunstsprache: ‘long’ endings (-οισι, -ῃσι) are far more frequent than ‘short’ endings (-οις, -ῃς, -αις), but they are both guaranteed. Before the generalization of -οις and -αις, archaic dialectal inscriptions witness both ‘long’ and ‘short’ forms. Despite the first attempts to explain the 'short' endings as the outcome of a Verstümmelung from the respective 'long' ending, it is now basically accepted that -οισι and -ῃσι derive from PIE Locative and that -οις derives from PIE Instrumental. In Mycenaean tablets, Dative-Locative and Instrumental are still morphologically distinct (-o-i/-o and -a-i/-a-pi), but, as it will be argued, there might be some evidence of an early syncretism between these two cases.

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