A study of Cappadocian Greek nominal morphology from a diachronic and dialectological perspective

Karatsareas, P. 2011. A study of Cappadocian Greek nominal morphology from a diachronic and dialectological perspective. PhD thesis University of Cambridge Department of Linguistics

TitleA study of Cappadocian Greek nominal morphology from a diachronic and dialectological perspective
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsKaratsareas, P.
Abstract

In this dissertation, I investigate a number of interrelated developments affecting the morphosyntax of nouns in Cappadocian Greek. I specifically focus on the development of differential object marking, the loss of grammatical gender distinctions, and the neuterisation of noun inflection. My aim is to provide a diachronic account of the innovations that Cappadocian has undergone in the three domains mentioned above. Αll the innovations examined in this study have the effect of rendering the morphology and syntax of nouns in Cappadocian more like that of neuters. On account of the historical and sociolinguistic circumstances in which Cappadocian developed as well as of the superficial similarity of their outcomes to equivalent structures in Turkish, previous research has overwhelmingly treated the Cappadocian developments as instances of contact-induced change that resulted from the influence of Turkish. In this study, I examine the Cappadocian innovations from a language-internal point of view and in comparison with parallel developments attested in the other Modern Greek dialects of Asia Minor, namely Pontic, Rumeic, Pharasiot and Silliot. My comparative analysis of a wide range of dialect-internal, cross-dialectal and cross-linguistic typological evidence shows that language contact with Turkish can be identified as the main cause of change only in the case of differential object marking. On the other hand, with respect to the origins of the most pervasive innovations in gender and noun inflection, I argue that they go back to the common linguistic ancestor of the modern Asia Minor Greek dialects and do not owe their development to language contact with Turkish. I show in detail that the superficial similarity of these latter innovations’ outcomes to their Turkish equivalents in each case represents the final stage in a long series of typologically plausible, language-internal developments whose early manifestations predate the intensification of Cappadocian–Turkish linguistic and cultural exchange. These findings show that diachronic change in Cappadocian is best understood when examined within a larger Asia Minor Greek context. On the whole, they make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the history of Cappadocian and the Asia Minor Greek dialects as well as to Modern Greek dialectology more generally, and open a fresh round of discussion on the origin and development of other innovations attested in these dialects that are considered by historical linguists and Modern Greek dialectologists to be untypically Greek or contact-induced or both.

Year2011
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