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The Accusative of Respect in Ancient Greek: Animacy Hierarchy, Semantic Roles and Event Type.

Domenica Romagno


In the present paper, we address the function and the distribution of the so-called “accusative of respect” in ancient Greek, from Homer to the fifth century B.C.E. We show that the accusative of respect, which involves an inalienable possession relationship, represents a strategy to promote the most animate argument of the construction (i.e., the possessor) to the subject position and, consequently, to align syntactic roles and case marking with animacy hierarchy. Moreover, we show that a common principle underlies the distribution of the accusative of respect among different types of predicate and that this principle relies on specific semantic dimensions.


Greek accusative; inalienable possession; animacy hierarchy; event type

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