AI Grammars


Ancient Greek

is one of the most important languages when it comes to the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. It is attested from ca. 1500 BCE onwards, which makes it a fascinating object of diachronic linguistics in its own right. In literary texts and inscriptions, many Ancient Greek dialects are preserved (see introduction). Its phonological inventory differs strikingly from that of Modern Greek – and from the pronunciation used in contemporary Classical studies (see sounds). Ancient Greek is highly inflective with massive allomorphy, part of which is inherited, part of which is due to conditioned sound changes (see words). Ancient Greek is the only archaic IE language which is not clearly OV. On the contrary, SVO is attested already in Mycenean, the oldest stratum of the language. There is reason to believe that the language was discourse-configurational (see structures).


Lucien van Beek

Leiden University

Luuk Huitink

University of Amsterdam


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 1



external history of Greek and main sources, Greek within IE, Mycenaean, Archaic Classic, Koine


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 2



alphabet, quick phonetic details, overview of writing systems, linear B, epichoric alphabets


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 3



dialects in the Archaic and Classical periods, classifications, illustrative dialectal examples



Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 1



segments: consonant phonemes, geminates, vowels, diphthongs, evidence for realization


Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 2



accentuation: evidence and realization, accent laws, accent assignment


Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 3



syllables, suprasegmentals, prosodic words: on dissimilation, epenthesis, assimilation and coda deletion.



Ancient Greek, words, unit 1



derivation: morphological type, roots and suffixes, ablaut, the Caland System


Ancient Greek, words, unit 2



compounding: general grammatical and typological considerations, right-oriented and left-oriented compounds


Ancient Greek, words, unit 3



declension: categories, gender, noun vs. adjective, special issue on confused nominal paradigms


Ancient Greek, words, unit 4



conjugation: verbal categories, verb stem formation, sample paradigms, voice, various forms of reduplication



Ancient Greek, structures, unit 1



overview of morphosyntactic categories, agreement, noun phrases, linearization including discontinuous noun phrases


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 2



voice: active and middle-passive meanings and forms, argument structure, passivization, different kinds of verbs and middle meanings


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 3



tense, lexical and grammatical aspect, the seven indicatives of the Greek verb, imperfect-aorist-present in narrative


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 4



mood and modality: mood and modality in Classical Greek, use of moods in main and subordinate clauses


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 5



constituent order and information structure: word order, prepositives and postpositives, constituent order, clausal peripheries



The listed sources contain materials cited in the lectures as well as additional recommendations.

category references


Giannakis et al. 2013 Bakker 2010


Bornemann & Risch 1978 Kühner & Blass 1890/1892 Kühner & Gerth 1898/1904 Meier-Brügger 1992 Schwyzer & Debrunner 1950 Schwyzer 1939 Smyth 1956 Threatte 1980 van Emde Boas et al. 2019



Adrados 2005 Caragounis 2010 Colvin 2014 Horrocks 2010


Allen 1987 Devine & Stephen 1994 Gunkel 2013 Lupaş 1972 Probert 2003 Probert 2006 Probert 2010 Steriade 1982 Threatte 1980


Blanc 2018 Cassio 2017 Chantraine 1933 Chantraine 1961 Debrunner 1917 Deplazes 1991 Frisk 1934 García Ramón 2011 Hajnal 1995 Keydana 2006 Kümmel 2013 Lühr 2008 Magni 2008 Meissner & Tribulatio 2002 Meissner 2006 Nussbaum 2014 Rau 2009 Risch 1944 Risch 1945 Risch 1949 Risch 1974 Schindler 1986 Threatte 1996 Tribulato 2016 Tucker 1990 Waanders 2008 Willi 2008 Willi 2018


Allan 2003 Allan 2014 Amigues 1977 Bakker 1966 Bakker 1994 Bakker 2007 Bakker 2009 Bary 2012 Buijs 2007 Colvin 2010 Cristofaro 1996 Delaunois 1988 Denizot 2011 Devine & Stephens 2000 Dik 1995 Dik 1997 Dik 2007 García Ramón 2014 George 2005 Golstein 2016 Goodwin 1897 Hettrich 1976 Huitink & van Emde Boas 2010 Jacquinod 2000 Kemmer 1993 Lallot et al. 2011 Lloyd 2006 Luraghi 2010 Matić 2003 Monteil 1963 Nijk 2016 Probert 2015 Rijksbaron 1988 Rijksbaron 2006 Rijksbaron 2007 Scheppers 2011 Slings 1992 Slings 2002 van Rooy 2016 Wakker 1994 Willmott 2007


Colvin 2007


Bérard et al. 2000 Bernard et al. 2004 Bierl & Lardinois 2017 Buck 1955 Chadwick & Ventris 1973 Chadwick 1967 Chadwick 1976 Clackson 2007 Guarducci 1995 Hooker 1980 Jeffery 1990 Miller 2014 Morpurgo Davies 1987 Schmitt 1991 van Emde Boas 2017

online resources


Adrados, Francisco Rodrígues. 2005. A History of the Greek Language from its Origins to the Present. Leiden, Boston: Brill.
Allan, R.J. 2014. Changing the Topic: Topic Position in Ancient Greek Word Order. Mnemosyne 67. 181-213.
Allan, Rutger. 2003. The Middle Voice in Ancient Greek: A Study in Polysemy. Amsterdam: Gieben.
Allen, William Sidney. 1987. Vox Graeca: A Guide to the Pronunciation of Classical Greek (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Amigues, Suzanne. 1977. Les subordonnées finales par ὅπως en attique classique. Paris: Klincksieck.
Bakker, Egbert Jan. (ed.) 2010. A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Bakker, Egbert Jan. 1994. Voice, Aspect and Aktionsart. Middle and Passive in Ancient Greek. In Fox, Barbara A. & Hopper, Paul (eds), Voice, Form and Function. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: J. Benjamins. 23-47.
Bakker, Stéphanie J. 2007. Adjective Ordering in Herodotus: A Pragmatic Explanation. In Allan, Rutger & Buijs, Michel (eds.) The Language of Literature: Linguistic Approaches to Classical Texts. Leiden: Brill. 188-210.
Bakker, Stéphanie J. 2009. The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek: A Functional Analysis of the Order and Articulation of NP Constituents in Herodotus. Leiden: Brill.
Bakker, Willem Frederik. 1966. The Greek Imperative: An Investigation into the Aspectual Differences between the Present and Aorist Imperatives in Greek Prayer from Homer up to the Present Day. Amsterdam: Hakkert.
Bary, Conen. 2012. The Ancient Greek Tragic Aorist Revisited. Glotta 88. 31-53.
Bérard, François & Briquel, Dominique & Feissel, Denis & Petitmengin, Pierre. 2000. Guide de l’épigraphiste. Bibliographie choisie des épigraphes antiques et médiévales. Paris: Presses de l’École normale supérieure.
Bernard, Paul & Pinault, Georges-Jean & Rougemont, Georges. 2004. Deux nouvelles inscriptions grecques de l'Asie centrale. Journal des Savants 2. 227-356.
Bierl, Anton & Lardinois, André. (eds) 2017. The newest Sappho: P. Sapph. Obbink and P. GC inv. 105, Frs. 1-4. Studies in Archaic and Classical Greek Song, vol. 2. Leiden, Boston: Brill.
Blanc, Alain. 2018. Les adjectifs sigmatiques du grec ancien: un cas de métamorphisme dérivationnel. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck.
Bornemann, Eduard & Risch, Ernst. 1978. Griechische Grammatik. Frankfurt: Diesterweg.
Buck, Carl Darling. 1955. The Greek Dialects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Buijs, Michel. 2007. Aspectual Differences and Narrative Technique: Xenophon's Hellenica & Agesilaus. In Allan, Rutger & Buijs, Michel (eds.), The Language of Literature Linguistic Approaches to Classical Texts. Leiden: Brill. 122-53.
Caragounis, Chrys C. (ed.) 2010. Greek: a Language in Evolution. Essays in Honour of Antonios N. Janaris. Hildesheim: Olms.
Cassio, Albio Cesare. 2017. Notes on the Origin and Diffusion of the -εσσι Datives. In Crespo, Emilio & Giannakis, Georgois & Filos, Panagiotis (eds.), Studies in Ancient Greek Dialects. Berlin: de Gruyter. 189-96.
Chadwick, John. 1967. The Decipherment of Linear B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chadwick, John & Ventris, Michael. 1973. Documents in Mycenaean Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chadwick, John. 1976. The Mycenaean World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chantraine, Pierre. 1933. La formation des noms en grec ancien. Paris: Klincksieck.
Chantraine, Pierre. 1961. Morphologie historique du grec. Paris: Klincksieck
Clackson, James. 2007. Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 64-89.
Colvin, Stephen. 2007. A Historical Greek Reader: Mycenaean to the Koiné. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Colvin, Stephen. 2010. The Instantaneous Aorist: The Syntax of the Agora and the Syntax of Parnassus. In Cortés Gabaudan, Francisco., Méndez Dosuna, Julián Víctor. (eds.), Dic Mihi, Musa, Virum: homenaje al profesor Antonio López Eire. Salamance: Universidad de Salamanca.. 113-21.
Colvin, Stephen. 2014. A Brief History of Ancient Greek. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Cristofaro, Sonia. 1996. Aspetti sintattici e semantici delle frasi completive in greco antico. Florence: La Nuova Italia Editrice.
Debrunner, Albert. 1917. Griechische Wortbildungslehre. Heidelberg: Winter.
Delaunois, Marcel. 1988. Encore le temps-aspect en grec classique: essai limité de clarification. L'Antiquité Classique 57. 124-41.
Denizot, Camille. 2011. Donner des ordres en grec ancien: étude linguistiques des formes de l'injonction. Mont-Saint-Aignan: Publications des universités de Rouen et du Havre.
Deplazes, Norbert. 1991. Der griechische Dativ Plural und oblique Dual. Bern: Lang.
Devine, Andrew M. & Stephen, Laurence D. 1994. The Prosody of Greek Speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Devine, Andrew M. & Stephens, Laurence D. 2000. Discontinuous Syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dik, Helma. 1995. Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus. Amsterdam: Gieben.
Dik, Helma. 1997. Interpreting Adjective Position in Herodotus. In Bakker, Egbert Jan (ed.), Grammar as Interpretation: Greek Literature in its Linguistic Context. Brill, Boston: Leiden, pp. 55-76.
Dik, Helma. 2007. Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Frisk, Hjalmar. 1934. Zum Typus ακρόπολις in den idg. Sprachen. IF 52. 282-295.
García Ramón, José Luis. 2011. Mycenaean onomastics. In Duhoux, Yves & Morpurgo Davies, Anna (eds.), A Companion to Linear B (vol. 2). Louvain-la-Neuve Peeters. 213-251.
García Ramón, José Luis. 2014. From Aktionsart to aspect and voice: on the morphosyntax of the Greek aorists with -η- and -θη-. In Bartolotta, Annamaria (ed.), The Greek Verb: Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics. Louvain-la-Neuve Peeters. 149-82.
George, Coulter H. 2005. Expressions of Agency in Ancient Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Giannakis, Georgios & Bubenik, Vit & Crespo, Emilio & Golston, Chris & Lianeri, Alexandra & Luraghi, Silvia & Matthaios, Stephanos (eds.). 2013. Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill.
Goldstein, David M. 2016. Classical Greek Syntax: Wackernagel's Law in Herodotus. Leiden: Brill.
Goodwin, William Watson. 1897. Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb. London: Macmillan & Co.
Guarducci, Margherita. 1995. Epigrafia greca. 4 Vols. Rome: Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato.
Gunkel, Dieter. 2013. Accentuation. In Giannakis, Georgios & Bubenik, Vit & Crespo, Emilio & Golston, Chris & Lianeri, Alexandra & Luraghi, Silvia & Matthaios, Stephanos (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill.
Hajnal, Ivo. 1995. Studien zum mykenischen Kasussystem. Berlin: Walter der Gruyter.
Hettrich, Heinrich. 1976. Kontext und Aspekt in der altgriechischen Prosa Herodots. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Hooker, James Thomas. 1980. Linear B: An Introduction. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.
Horrocks, Geoffrey Charles 2010. Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
Huitink, Luuk & van Emde Boas, Evert. 2010. Syntax. In Bakker, Egbert Jan (ed.), A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 134-150.
Jacquinod, Bernard. (ed.) 2000. Études sur l'aspect verbal chez Platon. Saint-Etienne: Publications des l'Université de Saint-Etienne.
Jeffery, Lilian Hamilton. 1990. The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece. Revised ed. suppl. by Johnston, Alan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kemmer, Suzanne. 1993. The Middle Voice. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: J. Benjamins.
Keydana, Götz. 2006. Die indogermanische Perfektreduplikation. Folia Linguistica Historica 40. 61-116.
Kühner, Raphael, Blass, Friedrich. 1890/1892. Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (vol. 1: Elementar und Formenlehre). Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung.
Kühner, Raphael, Gerth, Bernhard. 1898/1904. Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (vol. 2: Satzlehre). Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung.
Kümmel, Martin Joachim. 2013. Perfect, Formation of. In Giannakis, Georgios & Bubenik, Vit & Crespo, Emilio & Golston, Chris & Lianeri, Alexandra & Luraghi, Silvia & Matthaios, Stephanos (eds.). 2013. Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill.
Lallot, Jean, Rijksbaron, Albert., Jacquinod, Bernard., Buijs, Michel. 2011. The Historical Present in Thucydides: Semantics and Narrative Function. Leiden, Boston, Brill.
Lloyd, Michael. 2006. Sophocles in the Light of Face-Threat Politeness Theory. In de Jong, Irene & Rijksbaron, Albert (eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Language: Aspects of Diction, Syntax and Pragmatics. Leiden: Brill. 225-40
Lühr, Rosemarie (ed.). 2008. Nominale Wortbildung des Indogermanischen in Grundzügen: die Wortbildungsmuster ausgewählter indogermanischer Einzelsprachen (Vol. 1: Latein, Altgriechisch.). Hamburg: Dr. Kovač
Lupaş, Liana. 1972. Phonologie du grec attique. The Hague: Mouton.
Luraghi, Silvia. 2010. The extension of the transitive construction in Ancient Greek. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 42. 60-74.
Magni, Elisabetta. 2008. Contiguità e continuitè nelle categorie verbali: le forme in -θ- del greco. AGI 93. 171-225.
Matić, Dejan. 2003. Topic, Focus, and Discourse Structure: Ancient Greek Word Order. Studies in Language 27.3. 573-633.
Meier-Brügger, Michael. 1992. Griechische Sprachwissenschaft. 2 Vols. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.
Meissner, Torsten. & Tribulatio, Olga. 2002. Nominal composition in Mycenaean Greek. TPhS 100. 289-330.
Meissner, Torsten. 2006. S-stem Nouns and Adjectives in Greek and Proto-Indo-European: a Diachronic Study in Word Formation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Miller, D. Gary. 2014. Ancient Greek Dialects and Early Authors. Introduction to the Dialect Mixture in Homer, with Notes on Lyric and Herodotus. Boston, Berlin: De Gruyter.
Monteil, Pierre. 1963. La phrase relative en grec ancien. Paris: Klincksieck.
Morpurgo Davies, Anna. 1987. The Greek Notion of Dialect. Verbum 10. 7-28.
Nijk, Arjan. 2016. How to Control the Present: A Unified Account of the Nonpast uses of the Aorist Indicative. Journal of Hellenic Studies 136. 92-112.
Nussbaum, Alan Jeffrey. 2014. "Feminine, Abstract, Collective, Neuter Plural: Some Remarks on each (Expanded Handout)." In Neri, Sergio & Schuhmann, Roland (eds.), Studies on the Collective and Feminine in Indo-European from a Diachronic and Typological Perspective. 273-306.
Probert, Philomen. 2003. A New Short Guide to the Accentuation of Ancient Greek. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Probert, Philomen. 2006. Ancient Greek accentuation: synchronic patterns, frequency effects, and prehistory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Probert, Philomen. 2010. Phonology. In Bakker, Egbert Jan (ed.), A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language. Chichester/Malden: Blackwell, 85-103.
Probert, Philomen. 2015. Early Greek Relative Clauses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rau, Jeremy. 2009. Indo-European Nominal Morphology: the Decads and the Caland System. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck.
Rijksbaron, Albert. 1988. The Discourse Function of the Imperfect. In Rijksbaron, Albert & Mulder, H. A. & Wakker, Gerrigje Catharina. (eds.), In the Footsteps of Raphael Kühner. Amsterdam: Gieben. 237-54.
Rijksbaron, Albert. 2006. On False Historic Presents in Sophocles (and Euripides). In de Jong, Irene., Rijksbaron, Albert (eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Language: Aspects of Diction, Syntax and Pragmatics. Leiden, Boston: Brill. 127-50.
Rijksbaron, Albert. 2007. The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Risch, Ernst. 1944. Griechische Determinativkomposita. IF 59 (1). 1-61.
Risch, Ernst. 1945. Griechische Komposita vom Typus μεσο-νύκτος und ομο-γάστριος. MH 2. 15-27.
Risch, Ernst. 1949. Griechische Determinativkomposita. IF 59 (3). 245-294.
Risch, Ernst. 1974. Wortbildung der homerischen Sprache. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Scheppers, Frank. 2011. The Colon Hypothesis: Word Order, Discourse Segmentatoin and Discourse Coherence in Ancient Greek. Brussels: Vubpress.
Schindler, Jochem. 1986. Zu den homerischen ροδοδάκτζλος-Komposita. In Etter, Annemarie (ed.), O-o-pe-ro-si, 393-401. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Schmitt, Rüdiger. 1991. Einführung in die griechischen Dialekte. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
Schwyzer, Eduard & Debrunner, Albert. 1950. Griechische Grammatik (vol. 2: Syntax und syntaktisher Stylistik). München: Beck.
Schwyzer, Eduard. 1939. Griechische Grammatik (vol. 1: Allgemeiner Teil: Lautlehre, Wortbildung, Flexion). München: Beck.
Slings, Simon Roelof. 1992. Written and Spoken Language: an Exercise in the Pragmatics of the Greek Language. Classical Philology 87. 95-109.
Slings, Simon Roelof. 2002. Oral Strategies in the Language of Herodotus. In Bakker, Egbert Jan & de Jong, Irene & van Wees, Hans (eds.), Brill's Companion to Herodotus. Leiden: Brill. 53-79.
Smyth, Herbert Weir. 1956. Greek Grammar. Revised by G.M. Messing. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press
Steriade, Donca. 1982. Greek prosodies and the nature of syllabification. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD dissertation).
Threatte, Leslie. 1980. The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. Vol. 1: Phonology. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Threatte, Leslie. 1996. The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. Vol. 2: Morphology. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Tribulato, Olga. 2016. Ancient Greek verb-initial compounds: their diachronic development within the Greek compound system. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Tucker, Elizabeth Fawcett. 1990. The Creation of Morphological Regularity: Early Greek Verbs in -éō, -áō, -óō, -úō and -íō. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht.
van Emde Boas, Evert. 2017. Language and Character in Euripides' Electra. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
van Emde Boas, Evert & Rijksbaron, Albert & de Bakker, Mathieu & Huitink, Luuk. 2019. The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
van Rooy, Raf. 2016. The relevance of Evidentiality for Ancient Greek: some explorative Steps through Plato. Journal of Greek Linguistics 16. 3-46.
Waanders, F. 2008. An Analytic Study of Mycenaean Compounds: Structure, Types. Pisa, Rome: Fabrizio Serra.
Wakker, Gerrigje Catharina. 1994. Conditions and Conditionals: An Investigation of Ancient Greek. Amsterdam: Gieben.
Willi, Andreas. 2008: Myc. -ca-o, -Co-jo, -Co vs later Greek -ᾱo, -οιο, -ου. Glotta 84. 239-272
Willi, Andreas. 2018. Origins of the Greek verb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Willmott, Jo. 2007. The Moods of Homeric Greek. Cambridge. New York: Cambridge University Press.