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Language Change in Epic Greek and other Oral Traditions - 27-28-29/10/2016, Leiden (Netherlands)





The language of Homer (epic Greek) contains linguistic forms from different periods and dialects, as well as numerous artificial forms. Epic Greek is therefore commonly described as an artificial language, a Kunstsprache. This conference is dedicated to language change in the Greek epic tradition and in other oral traditions. The leading question is: to what extent can oral traditions develop autonomously?


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 27-28-29/10/2016


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Leiden University (Leinden, The Netherlands)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Lucien van Beek, Alwin Kloekhorst, Sasha Lubotsky, Tijmen Pronk

INFO:  web -



Sin cena /without dinner/senza cena: 20 €


Con cena /with dinner/ con cena: 55 €


PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA:  también disponible en PDF /also available in PDF/ anche disponibile in PDF


Thursday 27 October  

12:30-13:00 Registration
13:00-13:15 Opening (Lucien van Beek)


Session 1: principles of language change I


13:15-14:00 Keynote: Alain Blanc (Université de Rouen) Les procédés linguistiques artificiels de la langue épique


14:00-14:30 Chiara Bozzone (UCLA) Homeric Constructions, their productivity, and the development of epic Greek

14:30-15:00 Ronald Blankenborg (Radboud University Nijmegen) Heroic rhythm as ‘situational context’: Language Change in Homer due to phonostylistics

15:00-15:30 Coffee and Tea

Session 2: principles of language change II

15:30-16:15 Lucien van Beek (Leiden University) Principles of language change in epic Greek

16:15-16:45 Emanuel Karlsson (Uppsala University) Epic Greek as second language: implications of acquisition, autonomy, and dialect contact

17:00-18:30  Drinks


Friday 28 October


Session 1: Syntax


9:30 – 10:00 Asimakis Fliatouras (Democritus University of Thrace) Adverb-initial compounds as a case of grammaticalization in epic Greek

10:00 – 10:30 Tom McConnell (Oxford University)  Traditional and Individual use of Tmesis in the Epic Kunstsprache

10:30 – 11:00 Antonia Ruppel (Ashford, Surrey) Absolute, Yet Changing: Developments in the Use of Absolute Constructions in Epic Language


11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break


Session 2  


11:30 – 12:15 Keynote: Rudolf Wachter (Université de Lausanne) 

12:15 – 12:45  Annette Teffeteller (Concordia University)  Recursive embedding of complement clauses in Epic Greek: Od. 15.156-9 

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

Session 3: Greek and other traditions


14:00 – 14:30  Rostislav Oreshko (University of Warsaw; Centre for Hellenic Studies) Anatolian Substratum Influence in Homeric Greek? A Critical Review of the Evidence
14:30 – 15:00 Zsolt Simon (LMU München) Alleged Anatolian phraseological borrowings in Homer’s language: A Reconsideration
15:00 – 15:30 Holger Gzella (Leiden University)  Change in Literary Syriac During its Formative Period: A Reassessment of the Impact of Greek


15:30 – 16:00 Tea / coffee break


Session 4  


16:00 – 16:45 Keynote: Jeremy Rau (Harvard University)  Archaism and Innovation in Homeric Language  16:45 – 17:15 Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna)  Verses, Melodies, Prose Sequences, Songs: the interdependency and interference of poetry, prose and (narrative) song in archaic ritual and epic traditions in India, Iran and Ancient Greece 


Saturday 29 October  


Session 1: Greek epic diction 

9:30 – 10:00  José Antonio Fernández Delgado (University of Salamanca) Changes in the formulary diction of genealogical epic

10:00 – 10:30 Xavier Gheerbrant (Université de Lille) Between two canons? The construction of epic verse in the 5th century B.C.

10:30 – 11:00   Simon Pulleyn (independent researcher) Imperatives in Homeric prayer: continuity and change
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee/tea break 


Session 2 

11:30 – 12:15 Keynote: Andreas Willi (Oxford University)   Autour de ἐ- épique

12:15 – 12:45 Hannes A. Fellner (Universität Wien)   Epic Compounds  

12:45 – 14:00  Lunch 

Session 3: the Greek dialects in Epic Greek 

14:00 – 14:45 Keynote: Albio C. Cassio (Università di Roma “La Sapienza”) Looking into the distance: the Homeric futures of the verb “to be”.

14:45 – 15:15 Stefan Höfler (Universität Wien) A Night Reconnaissance: On Νύξ and its epithets in Homer   15:15 – 15:45  Coffee/tea break  Corridor 
15:45 – 17:00 Session 4: Round Table 
19:00 –  Conference dinner

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