This article offers new insights on the status of the optative in New Testament Greek, mapping it against the diachronic encoding of modality in Ancient Greek in light of typology and pragmatics. Virtually all available scholarship on the subject focusses on the ‘decline’ of the optative; in this article, we choose to focus on its survival in fixed expressions and specific types of speech acts. Through a comprehensive reanalysis of the New Testament data, we argue that the optative is ‘pushed out’ of the strict domain of modality and syntax and into that of illocution and pragmatics. Evidence from ancient grammatical thought, sociolinguistics, and language contact corroborates this view.

The survival of the optative in New Testament Greek

Elisabetta Magni
2022

Abstract

This article offers new insights on the status of the optative in New Testament Greek, mapping it against the diachronic encoding of modality in Ancient Greek in light of typology and pragmatics. Virtually all available scholarship on the subject focusses on the ‘decline’ of the optative; in this article, we choose to focus on its survival in fixed expressions and specific types of speech acts. Through a comprehensive reanalysis of the New Testament data, we argue that the optative is ‘pushed out’ of the strict domain of modality and syntax and into that of illocution and pragmatics. Evidence from ancient grammatical thought, sociolinguistics, and language contact corroborates this view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/908687
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