[B-Greek] Mapping Language changes

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Jun 24 07:48:04 EDT 2003

From: "B J BOLAND" <berean at onetel.net.uk>
To: <b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Mapping Language changes
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 10:29:19 +0100

The recent correspondence on the tenses of GINOMAI makes me wonder if there
have any studies in identifying the changes to the Greek language in place,
time and social class during the second sophistic [about 50-250] and up to
the time of interest of this list -what is that?. Is there enough known to
be enable to date and/or locate their writers? Are the following changes of
value in helping to provide answers? :Word order, spelling changes due to
phonetic changes- shift from pitch to stress, rise of fricatives, Vocabulary
changes-synonyms , Grammatical changes- decline of the optative and dative
rise of the subjunctive? How much do we know?

Brian J Boland
Yorkshire UK
berean at onetel.net.uk

The above has not yet come through yet as an ordinary list-distributed
message, perhaps because it was improperly addressed, but inasmuch as a
copy came to me and I think it a matter of considerable importance, I am
forwarding it and upping the ante because I've been corresponding
specifically with Sylvie Chabert d' Hyères on this subject recently and
don't know where we can look for definitive answers.

The problem concerns several different aspects of linguistic change--not
just pronunciation and orthography but morphology. For instance, I've noted
in working through the text of Mark's gospel in Codex Bezae such anomalies
as an aorist HLQOSAN for HLQON (I've certainly seen HLQAN in NA27/UBS but
never HLQOSAN) and alpha-conjugated imperfects such as EICAN and EICOSAN
(cf. the already standard Attic -MI-verb imperfect forms ETIQESAN and
EDIDOSAN). I've repeatedly called attention in this forum to concurrent
"competing" morphoparadigms and constructions in the Hellenistic period
(especially MHN/SO/TO and -QH- middle-passives, but also hINA substantive
clauses concurrent and competing with articular-infinitive constructions
and other types of substantive clauses. While there's been frequent
discussion on B-Greek of phonetic changes especially as they affect
misunderstood forms (e.g. LEGETAI as 2nd pl.indic. for LEGETE), I'm
wondering whether there's been a compilation of relative dates for earliest
appearance/frequent appearance/standard usage of alternative phonology,
orthography, morphoparadigm, syntactic construction, etc. Geofrrey Horrocks
in his work on the Greek language and its users calls attention to these
changes with reference to characteristic documents of progressive
chronological eras, and long ago George Thomson did this in much more
sketchy terms. There are also several useful summaries of changes from
classical Attic to NT Koine, although I think this is a matter on which
there continues to be considerable confusion. I'm wondering whether anyone
on this list is cognizant of a detailed accounting of these changes in the
language, particularly during the centuries in which the Greek Bible was
being composed and transmitted as individual documents or groups of
documents. It is certainly true, as Brian mentions above and as I noted in
a message yesterday, that the so-called "Second-Sophistic" and its
"Atticist" influence retarded the completion of several changes which had
begun to take place three centuries or more earlier. I know that we can
surely not pinpoint absolute dates for the inception and completion of
linguistic changes, but I wonder whether there's any sufficiently-detailed
account of the range of time over which concurrent forms continued to
compete before one emerged victorious (e.g. -A- conjugation of indicative
past-tense forms).

My impression is that our standard texts of the GNT tend to standardize
orthography and morphology too, to some extent. But those who work
professionally with MSS must know a good deal about these processes of
change as they are reflected in the work of scribes of the different eras.
Are there any standard useful reference works dealing with these matters?
Wieland? Others?


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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