Brian D. Joseph

The pre-history and latter history of the infinitive in Greek and some relevant issues in grammatical analysis

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Taking modern-era Romeyka Pontic Greek apparently inflected infinitival forms as a point of departure, this paper traces developments with the infinitive in Greek, starting with its Proto-Indo-European origins as a case-marked verbal noun and continuing through its full entry into the verbal system in Ancient Greek and then its gradual loss and replacement by finite forms, a process that started in Hellenistic Greek and continued into Medieval Greek, reaching the Modern Greek state with no infinitive. Throughout the discussion, attention is paid to the proper analysis of the relevant forms, addressing the question of what it means to be finite, to be nonfinite, and to be an infinitive. Consideration is given as well to the Portuguese inflected infinitive and seemingly parallel forms in one Medieval Greek future tense construction as possible parallels to the Romeyka forms. It is ultimately argued that only through such careful grammatical analysis can we fully understand the historical infinitival developments in Greek and get a proper handle on the true nature of the Romeyka forms.

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