The history of Greek conditionals & one modal cycle

Upward reanalysis in the life of an

  • Aikaterini Chatzopoulou Association of Ancient Greek Philosophy 'syn Athena'
Keywords: conditionals, operator movement, nonveridicality, Greek


It has been argued that the syntax of conditionals involves leftward movement of an operator (Lycan 2001, Haegeman 2003, 2009a,b, 2010). Conditionals have been analyzed specifically as involving movement of a worldoperator (Bhatt & Pancheva 2002, 2006) or clause typing operator (Haegeman 2010, 2012) to the left periphery of the clause. This paper provides evidence from the development of conditional clauses in Greek that support this analysis. Based on data from Homeric Greek up to Standard Modern Greek, I argue for the functional transformation of the lexical particle ἄν /an/ from purely modal particle to purely conditional particle. The Greek data, combining generative approaches on syntactic change such as structure economy and ‘up-the-tree’ movement (van Gelderen 2001, 2004, Roberts & Roussou 2003) with the Nonveridicality theory in the semantics (Giannakidou 1998 et seq.), provide the basis for the instantiation of operator movement in conditionals. The modal ἄν /an/ particle is analyzed as an element directly linked to the Nonveridicality Phrase (Chatzopoulou 2012, 2019), but the modal function was gradually taken by the (i)na particle of Late Medieval and Modern Greek, resulting in a full modal cycle, in the sense of cyclicity of van Gelderen (2011, 2016b).