Arbeitspapier / Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Köln
- A.F. 12
Abstract structures for moods in Greek
- It is my intention to make two major points in this paper: 1. The first has to do with finding a frame within which the modal expressions of one particular Ancient IE [Indoeuropean] language – I have chosen Classical Greek – can be best described. I shall try to point out that the regularities which we find in these expressions must depend on an underlying principle, represented by abstract structures. These structures are semanto-syntactic, which means that the semantic properties or bundles of properties are arranged not in a linear order but in a hierarchical order, analogous to a bracketing in a PS structure. The abstract structures we propose have, of course, a very tentative character. They can only be accepted as far as evidence for them can be furnished. 2. My second point has to do with the modal verb forms that were the object of the studies of most Indo-Europeanists. If in the innermost bracket of a semanto-syntactic structure two semantic properties or bundles of properties can be exchanged without any further change in the total structure, and if this change is correlated with a change in verbal mood forms and nothing else, then I think we are faced with a case where these forms can be said to have a meaning of their own. I shall also try to show how these meanings are to be understood as bundles of features rather than as unanalyzed terms. In my final remarks: I shall try to outline the bearing these views have on comparative IE linguistics.