Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue

Hardcover | August 26, 2007

byHelma Dik

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Helma Dik approaches word order in Greek tragic dialogue from the perspective of language rather than metre. The tragic poets engaged in mimesis of natural dialogue; therefore the analysis of the linguistic characteristics of the dialogue precedes exploration of the metrical dimension, on theassumption that poets would not be overly constrained by the iambic trimeter, which, after all, was the most natural speaking verse according to Aristotle. Dik analyses the word order of tragic dialogue in pragmatic terms, arguing that, in sentences, words functioning as Topic (the 'starting point'of an utterance) or Focus (the most salient piece of information) will come early, and that other less important words will follow. Similarly, the position of adjectives within noun phrases is analysed as a function of their relative salience rather than in terms of their semantics. This approachaims to account for word order in sentences generally, but it also allows for a new interpretation of familiar phenomena in Greek, such as 'postponed interrogatives'. The book concludes with a commentary on the word order in four passages of Sophocles' Electra.

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Helma Dik approaches word order in Greek tragic dialogue from the perspective of language rather than metre. The tragic poets engaged in mimesis of natural dialogue; therefore the analysis of the linguistic characteristics of the dialogue precedes exploration of the metrical dimension, on theassumption that poets would not be overly co...

Helma Dik is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:298 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:August 26, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199279292

ISBN - 13:9780199279296

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Accounting for word order variation in Greek3. Tragic ways of dying: word order in the clause4. Word order in the noun phrase5. Enter dialogue: questions in Sophocles and Euripides6. Back to the trimeter7. Back to the text: four readings in Sophocles' Electra8. Conclusion: reading word order, slowly