Syntactic patterns of modality in temporal clauses: hóte vs. hótan in the diachrony of Ancient Greek

(2023) Camille Denizot, Liana Tronci and Sophie Vassilaki. In Building modality with syntax. Focus on Ancient Greek.(Camille Denizot and Liana Tronci eds.), Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2023, pp. 85-120.


This paper focuses on the eventuality pattern án + subjunctive and investigates how it interacts with the subordinator hóte syntactically and semantically. The data are taken from three corpora, which are representative of three stages of Ancient Greek, namely Homeric poems (for Archaic Greek), a selection of Classical prose works (for Classical Greek), and the New Testament, compared to the Septuagint (for Koine Greek). In the distributional approach adopted here, temporal clauses with án + subjunctive (i.e. hótan clauses) are compared with the temporal clauses without modal particle, i.e. hóte clauses. Analysis of the data shows that despite the continuity of the eventuality meaning, the syntactic and semantic features that oppose hótan- vs. hóte-clauses changed during the three stages of Greek.