High and Low Arguments in Northern and Pontic Greek

Elena Anagnostopoulou, Dionysios Mertyris, Christina Sevdali

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This paper deals with the distribution of the use of the accusative as an indirect object
in two major dialect groups of Modern Greek, namely Northern Greek and Pontic Greek. The loss
of the dative in Medieval Greek (c. 10th c. AD) resulted in the use of the genitive as an indirect
object in the southern varieties and of the accusative in Northern Greek and Asia Minor Greek. As
Standard Modern Greek employs the genitive, little attention has been paid to the distribution of
the accusative, and our study was aimed to fill that gap by presenting data collected in Northern
Greece from speakers of both dialect groups. According to our findings, the accusative is exclusively
used in all syntactic domains inherited from the Ancient Greek dative in both dialect groups, but the
two groups are kept apart in terms of the obligatoriness vs. optionality or lack of clitic doubling and
availability vs. lack of “high” positions, e.g., for external possessors and ethical dative constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number238
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Primary research for this paper was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the project “Investigating variation and change: case in diachrony ” (award number AH/P006612/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • Modern Greek dialects
  • indirect object marking
  • syntax


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