Center for Hellenic Studies

Epathlon Fellowship Winners AY2020-21

Mina Giannoula (graduate student, Linguistics)

Disentangling Use of Preverbs in Modern Greek: A Corpus Investigation

While earlier work on Modern Greek preverbs (Ralli 2003 and subsequent work) provided a descriptive and theoretical analysis of semantic, structural and phonological properties of these words, experimental investigation of this phenomenon is rare. This creates a gap between the linguistic judgments provided by expert linguists on the field and language use by native speakers. Within this context, this project aims at exploring the meaning, productivity and context restrictions of the adverbial preverbs kata– ‘completely’, kalo– ‘well’, iper– ‘over-’, para– ‘over-’, kara– ‘extremely’, apo– ‘completely’, kse– ‘reversatively’, ipo– ‘under-’, poly– ‘much’, miso– ‘half’, psilo– ‘a bit’, koutso– ‘poorly’, psefto– ‘half-heartedly’, and xazo– ‘half-heartedly’ in Modern Greek. The data used for the identification of meanings, the measurement of the productivity, and the identification of the environments of the adverbial preverbs in question will come from the Corpus of Greek Texts (Goutsos 2010). 

The study’s objectives are to enrich the literature on the preverbs in question by (a) providing a holistic investigation of the complete list of preverbs through corpus research (b) identifying their meanings, productivity and contexts on the basis of text data from a existing corpus of Modern Greek by addressing the following research questions: 

  1. Are the preverbs equally productive across (a) different meanings (semantic categories), (b) different grammatical categories of the derived items, and (c) spoken and written registers and text types of the corpus? 
  2. Are there any associations between the grammatical categories of the derived items and the meanings of the preverbs in terms of productivity? 
  3. Are there any associations between the registers and the text types in which the derived items occur and the meanings of the preverbs? 
  4. What are the contexts in which the preverbs appear? Are there any restrictions on the environments the preverbs occur? 

The innovation for this study relies exactly on the very small number of studies on this phenomenon in Modern Greek and the even smaller number of corpus studies conducted so far. In addition, the methodology that will be followed is based on interdisciplinarity combining theoretical linguistics, experimental linguistics, statistical work and data analytics.

Betul Kaya (graduate student, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, NELC)

Judging non-Muslim Religious Practice in the Early 17th Century Ottoman Empire: Politics of Judicial Authority and Competing Legal Perspectives

Social and legal accommodations in the 14th and 15th centuries, in the immediate aftermath of Ottoman conquests in the Balkans and Anatolia, have been studied extensively.1 The 19th century was an equally important period to show social, political, and institutional transitions to a modernizing state, both in independent Greece and in the reforming Ottoman Empire. However, there still exists many lacunae in our understanding of socio-legal changes in the period extending from the 16th to the 18th centuries. To address such missing links in the study of the Greek Orthodox religious life as well as wider Ottoman social world, the timeframe of my project is limited to the early 17th century. 

Several suburban villages such as Yeniköy (Νεοχώρι) and Tarabya (Θεραπειά), which are situated along the western coasts of the Bosporus, will constitute my primary spatial focus. Unlike Galata and the well-known walled city of Constantinople, these villages have not been duly incorporated into the sociocultural study of greater Istanbul prior to the 18th century. Demographic shifts throughout the 16th century and immigration to greater Istanbul in the 17th century create new spatial and social dynamics for all religious communities. Such changes make the timeframe and geographical focus of my study worthy of closer scholarly attention.