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Talk A - 'Neutering' nominal inflection in Asia Minor Greek

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In this talk, I look at the spread of the genitive singular and plural endings of i-neuters such as σπίτι(ν) to nouns belonging to other inflectional paradigms, both neuter and masculine or feminine, in the Asia Minor Greek dialects. Based on the examination of a wide range of dialectal material, I illustrate how an array of linguistic factors were operative in this instance of language change:

  • semantic factors such as animacy,
  • morphological factors such as gender, and
  • phonological factors such as stress.

I further discuss the implications of the spread of the neuter genitive endings for the organisation of nouns into inflectional paradigms in the Asia Minor Greek dialects and show how it is just one aspect of more extensive tendencies that render nouns more neuter-like in terms of their morphology in these dialects. I, finally, propose that these tendencies probably go back to the common ancestor of the Modern dialects, which can be couched in the terms of an Asia Minor Greek Koiné spoken in the area in the Medieval times.

This talk is part of the Linguistics PhD seminars series.

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