Appendix:Ancient Greek Dialectal Declension
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Appendix:Ancient Greek Dialectal Declension

The declension of Ancient Greek nouns often differed between dialects. While Wiktionary gives declension in the Attic dialect by default, it is often useful to know how a word was inflected in dialects other than Attic.

The dialects

  • West Greek
    • Northwest Greek
      • Phocian
        • Delphian
      • Locrian
      • Elean
    • Doric
      • Laconian
      • Heraclean
      • Messenian (sparsely attested)
      • Megarian
      • Corinthian
        • Corcyraean
      • Argolic
      • Rhodian
      • Coan (and Calymnian)
      • Theran (and Melian)
      • Cretan
  • East Greek
    • Attic-Ionic
      • Attic
      • Ionic
        • Euboean
    • Arcado-Cyprian
      • Arcadian
      • Cyprian
    • Aeolic
      • Lesbian
      • Boeotian
      • Thessalian
  • Note that here "Lesbian" is used to refer to Lesbian Aeolic, the dialect used by the poets Sappho and Alcaeus. While this dialect is often referred to as simply "Aeolic", the term "Aeolic" can also be used to refer to Lesbian as well as the closely related dialects of Thessalian and Boeotian, and so the term "Lesbian" is used to avoid confusion.

Dialectal inflection tables provided by Wiktionary are often based on conjecture. For example, very few forms of the dual or vocative are attested anywhere, and so they are simply supplied in tables as in Attic in most cases. Additionally, quirks peculiar to a single city, or rare alternate spellings, are omitted in tables for the sake of brevity. "In all other dialects" below should be read as "in all other dialects in which the form is attested" in many cases. For the most part, spellings are given c. 400 BC, and normalized to the polytonic Ionic alphabet.

First declension

Regular sound change caused the theme vowel, originally *?, to change to ? in Ionic, and sometimes in Attic. Specifically, ? appears in Attic after ?,?,?, except when ? was originally followed by *?, as in ? (originally *, and this form is in fact attested in an Arcadian inscription.)

The diphthong was spelled or in the earliest Boeotian inscriptions (the latter being especially common in the city of Tanagra), but became a long open monophthong, and with the introduction of the Ionic alphabet it was regularly spelled ?.

  • Nominative singular: -? or -? in Attic; -? in Ionic; -? in all other dialects.
  • Genitive singular: - or - in Attic; - in Ionic; - in all other dialects. In the Arcadian city of Tegea, - appears, but early inscriptions show - alongside -, and the article always has .
  • Dative singular: -? or -? in Attic (but see below); -? in Ionic. - in Boeotian (but also spelled -, -?; see above), and so probably Arcadian, Elean, etc. as well--see below regarding the second declension dative singular. -? in Lesbian and Thessalian. -? in all other dialects.
    Attic -? was often shortened to -. This pronunciation rose in frequency during the fourth century BC, and was the most common spelling during the third and second, but -? ultimately survived and restored due to analogy.
    Several dialects drop the final iota. In Attic the sound ceased to be pronounced in the second century BC, and thus the final -? was frequently omitted thereafter. In Lesbian and Thessalian this occurred much earlier, as early as the fifth century BC, and after the fourth century the spellings without -? are most common. East Ionic has a few examples dating from the sixth century BC, but most inscriptions show -?. (Note that the iota subscript was never written in classical times, but is rather mediaeval--inscriptions show , /, /, or ?, ?/?, ?/?, etc.)
  • Accusative singular: - or - in Attic; - in Ionic; - in all other dialects.
  • Genitive and dative dual: Arcadian -?. - must be presumed for most dialects.
  • Nominative plural: - in all dialects, but spelled - or -? in Boeotian by regular sound change.
  • Genitive plural: - in Attic; - or (only after vowels) - in Ionic (once -), - in Boeotian (but the article is always ), - in all other dialects).
    - is the earliest form, and this contracts to - in most dialects, but in Attic-Ionic this changes first to -, which then shortens to -, and this regularly contracts in Attic to -.
  • Dative plural: - in Attic (but see below), -(?) in Ionic, -? in Lesbian and rarely elsewhere (but the article is always ?), -, - in Elean (see below under accusative). - in all other dialects (spelled -, -, - in Boeotian; see above.)
    Before 420 BC, Attic shows -(?) or -(?); occasionally -(?) or -(?). But after 420 BC -.
  • Accusative plural: - in Cretan, Arcadian (and so probably Cyprian), Thessalian, Theran. - beside - in Coan. - beside - in Cretan. - in Argolic. - in Lesbian. -, -, or - in Elean (see below). - in all other dialects. This mirrors the development seen in the second declension accusative plural (see below.)
    Early Elean shows - alongside -. Later Elean consistently shows --, but the final -? has become -? by regular sound change.
    -- became -?- before a consonant in proethnic Greek, and the earliest Cretan inscriptions in fact show / before a consonant and ?/? before a vowel.

Masculine

  • Nominative singular: - or - in Attic; - in Ionic; - in all other dialects. A few forms in -? also appear, several in Boeotian, and a few others in Northwest Greece.
  • Genitive singular: - in Attic; - or (only after vowels) -? in Ionic (once -), - in Boeotian, - in Arcadocypriot, -? in all other dialects.
    - is the earliest form, and this contracts to - in Arcadocypriot and to -? in most other dialects, but in Ionic this changes first to -, which then undergoes quantitative metathesis to -.
    Attic - is derived from the second declension.
    - is seen in two metrical inscriptions from Corcyra and Gela. This form is artificial, and in imitation of Epic--the ? is not etymological, and the form -? is already attested in other inscriptions from the same area.
    The genitive -, from the feminine, is found in scattered examples in Megarian, and in various parts of Northwest Greece.
    Proper names in Attic-Ionic often use the genitive -/-, borrowed from -- stems.

Table of forms

The dual is omitted due to lack of evidence.

  Att. Ion. Arc.-Cypr. Lesb. Thess. Boeot. General
West
Greek
Elean Coan Ther. Cret.
Nominative singular (feminine) -?/-? -? ?
Nominative singular (masculine) -/- - - -?(?) -
Genitive singular (feminine) -/- - -
Genitive singular (masculine) - -(?)? - -? -?o -?(?) -?
Dative singular -?/-? -? -? -? -? -? -? -?
Accusative singular -/- - -
Nominative plural - -? -
Genitive plural - -(?) - - -
Dative plural - -(?) - -? - - -
Accusative plural - - - - - -/-/- -/- - -?(?)?

Second declension

The diphthong was spelled or in the earliest Boeotian inscriptions (the latter being especially common in the city of Tanagra). It became a long front monophthong in the third century, and from 250 BC onwards was increasingly spelled with ?. By the end of the century it was uniformly so spelled. In some late inscriptions of Lebadea and Chaeronea is also found.

  • Nominative singular: - in masculine, - in neuter in all dialects.
  • Genitive singular: - in Thessalian. - or -? in Cyprian (usually - in nouns, but the article is always ). -? in Arcadian, Boeotian, Elean, Laconian, Heraclean, Cretan. - in all other dialects.
    The original form - is preserved in Epic, and so this occasionally occurs in poetic inscriptions of various dialects. Thessalian - is derived from it by apocope. Occasionally - is found in Thessalian prose. All other dialects have contraction of -.
    For the division between -? and -, see Appendix:Ancient Greek contraction.
  • Dative singular: - in Arcadian, Boeotian (spelled -, -, -?, -; see above), and Elean. -? in Lesbian. - in Thessalian. -? in all other dialects.
    The form - also appears in late inscriptions from various parts of Northen Greece (Delphi, Aetolia, Acarnania, Epirus, Cierium in Thessaly, Euboea). This form appears to not be a shortening (except possibly in Euboea), but rather derived from the original Proto-Indo-European locative. This form may be present in the older (before the introduction of the Ionic alphabet) inscriptions of other dialects, as the length of ? is ambiguous.
    Thessalian has for all cases of original ?. (For the lack of final iota, see also above under the first declension dative singular.)
  • Accusative singular: - in all dialects.
  • Genitive and dative dual: Elean -, -. Arcadian -?. Most dialects in which the form is attested have -.
  • Nominative plural: - in all dialects, but spelled -, -, -?, - in Boeotian by regular sound change (see above).
  • Genitive plural: - in Thessalian by regular sound change; - in all other dialects.
  • Dative plural: -?(?) in early Attic and Ionic, as well as Lesbian (but the article is always ?). - in Elean. -, -, - in Boeotian (see above).
    Ionic -?(?) survives somewhat longer than Attic, but some early examples of - are also seen, especially in West Ionic.
  • Accusative plural: - in Cretan, Arcadian (and so probably Cyprian), Thessalian, Theran. - beside - in Coan. - beside - in Cretan. - in Argolic. - in Lesbian. - or - in Elean (see below). - in Boeotian, Laconian, Heraclean; - in all other dialects. This mirrors the development seen in the first declension accusative plural (see above).
    Early Elean shows -. The intermediate form - is not attested in the second declension. Later Elean consistently shows -.
    -- became -?- before a consonant in proethnic Greek, and the earliest Cretan inscriptions in fact show / before a consonant and ?/? before a vowel.
    For the division between -? and -, see Appendix:Ancient Greek contraction (the process is not contraction but compensatory lengthening; however, the division mirrors that of contraction.)

Table of forms

The dual is omitted due to lack of evidence.

  Att. Ion. Arc. Cypr. Lesb. Thess. Boeot. General
West
Greek
Elean Lac./Heracl. Coan Ther. Cret.
Nominative singular (masculine) -
Nominative singular (neuter) -
Genitive singular -? -?(?) -? - -? - -? - -?
Dative singular -? - -? - - -? - -?
Accusative singular -
Nominative plural -
Genitive plural - - -
Dative plural - -?(?) - -? -
Accusative plural - - - - - - -/-/- - -/- - -?(?)?

Third declension

Consonant stems

  • Accusative singular: -? in most dialects, but - appears in Cyprian ( ?j), ? ( ?(?j)); in Thessalian , in Elean ? (if not - from a nominative -), and in late inscriptions of various dialects.
  • Nominative plural: - in all dialects, but - appears in late Cretan due to a complex process of analogy. The spread of Koinê Greek led the first person plural - to be replaced by (Attic) -, and thus by analogy the pronoun ? was replaced with ?. From there the ending - spread to other pronouns and eventually to participles.
  • Dative plural: -? (as in Epic) in Lesbian, Thessalian, and Boeotian (i.e. the Aeolic dialects), and in early Delphian, East Locrian, once in Elean, and in inscriptions of various Corinthian colonies (Corcyra, Epidamnus, Syracuse.) -? in the present participle in Heraclean (, , etc.) - in Locrian, Elean, and later the Northwest Greek Koinê. - in all other dialects.
    -? is probably formed by analogy from stems in -?- (for which see below.) - is taken from the first declension.
  • Accusative plural: - in two Delphian inscriptions, regularly in Elean (-) and Arcado-Cyprian (an Achaean feature), and in very late inscriptions of various dialects (including Attic.) - beside - in Cretan. - in all other dialects.
    - is taken from the nominative, and may have originated in ?, analogized from . Cretan - is analogized from the first declension.

?-stems

The contraction of , is in most cases Attic only.

  • Genitive singular: From original - we have - in Boeotian, Cyprian (in Idalium), Cretan, early Laconian, rarely Heraclean, Argolic, Thessalian, Lesbian by regular sound change; for more details see Appendix:Ancient Greek dialectal phonology. Contracted to - in Attic, - in later Ionic, etc.; see Appendix:Ancient Greek contraction.
  • Accusative singular and neuter plural: From original - we have - in Boeotian, Cyprian, etc. by regular sound change; see above. Contracted to -? in Attic, and occasionally other dialects; see Appendix:Ancient Greek contraction.

-?

The original form is -, gen. -?, from Proto-Indo-European *-klew-?s, gen. *-klew-es-os. However, only Cyprian retains -?-. Attic has - beside -?; Boeotian -, - until c. 400 BC; Euboean -, -? (for -?, see below) regularly, but all other dialects have -?, gen. -.

Proper names

Proper names such as often show forms borrowed from the first declension. In Attic-Ionic this was largely due to the frequency of first declension names in - (e.g. ), but this occurs also in other dialects by analogizing forms in -, -, etc. with -?-. Hence:

  • Genitive in -? (analogized for -?; see above): appears in Lesbian; - (for the feminine) may appear in Thessalian (but perhaps use of the nominative by mistake), ? (but perhaps to be read -?(?)?.)
  • Dative in -?: appears in Lesbian .
  • Accusative in -: appears in Boeotian (-), Arcadian, and even in appellatives in Lesbian ( etc.), and Cyprian ().
  • Vocative in -?: appears in Arcadian, Delphian , in -? (like ?) in Lesbian . Boeotian hypocoristics in - (, , etc.) are best understood as vocatives of this type used as nominatives.

?-stems

The declension type in -, -, -, etc. is almost exclusively Attic. All other dialects have -, -, -? etc. Ionic has in early inscriptions of Chios (once) and Thasos, and ? in one inscription of Teos. All other attestations of this declension type are late and to be attributed to Attic influence. In general the datives - and - are the first to be borrowed, followed by the nom. pl. - and then the gen. sg. -.

  • Nominative singular: - in all dialects.
  • Genitive singular: - in Attic and rarely in Ionic (see above), - in all other dialects. Koinê, and late inscriptions of various dialects, have -, borrowed from ?- and ?-stems.
    - derives from -, which is seen in Homer, by quantitative metathesis.
  • Dative singular: - (-) in Attic, -? in all other dialects.
  • Accusative singular: - in all dialects.
  • Nominative plural: - in Attic (contracted from -), - in all other dialects. Lesbian has in one inscription, which may be use of the accusative as nominative.
  • Genitive plural: - in Attic, - in all other dialects.
  • Dative plural: -(?) in Attic, -(?) in all other dialects.
  • Accusative plural: - in Attic, evidently borrowed from the nominative. - in Cretan (see above under the first and second declension). - or rarely - in all other dialects.

Cyprian has gen. sg. , dat. sg. ?, with ? apparently analogized from ?- and -stems. Euboean proper names are frequently declined as consonant stems in -, -?, as in Attic.

?-stems

Nearly all inscriptional forms occurring are of the type -, -, as Attic , ?.

-stems

The original stem is --. Thus:

Most dialects, however, shorten the initial vowel (and lose intervocalic -?-), yielding -?-. Thus:

  • Nominative singular: - in Arcadian (and some proper names in - are occasionally found elsewhere), in all other dialects.
  • Genitive singular: - in Attic with quantitative metathesis, but - in other dialects. This is sometimes contracted to - (e.g. Megarian ), but due to confusion with the nominative this is much less common than in other words.
  • Dative singular: - (-) in all dialects.
  • Accusative singular: - in Arcadian (h), - in Attic with quantitative metathesis, but - in most other dialects. Delphian and most Doric dialects regularly contract - to -?.
  • Nominative plural: - in early Attic, Coan (), Laconian, and Arcadian (), either from - or -. - appears in Cretan and elsewhere, but most dialects contract to -. Cyrene (a Theran colony) has nom. and acc. pl. .
  • Genitive plural: - in all dialects.
  • Dative plural: -? in all dialects (Attic-Ionic -?(?)).
  • Accusative plural: - in Attic, - in most other dialects, but after the fourth century this was largely replaced by Koinê -.

In Miletus (an Ionic city) and its colonies there is a nom. sg. -, gen. sg. ; likewise at Ephesus gen. sg. ?.

References


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Appendix:Ancient_Greek_dialectal_declension
 



 



 
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