Negation in Ancient Greek: a typological approach

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2016, vol. 21, iss. 2, pp. 183-200
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
License: Not specified license
This article deals with the application of the concept of negative concord (Giannakidou, Horrocks, Denizot, Willmott), which is not reflected in standard reference books on Ancient Greek (including the most recent books by Basile and Crespo) and is not used in Czech Hellenistic circles. Taking into account the well-known rule of the accumulation of negatives of the same kind (οὐ ... οὐδείς, οὐδείς ... οὐ), the author offers support for certain surprising yet convincing findings by Denizot concerning the sequence of οὐδείς ... οὐ and argues that Ancient Greek is a non-strict negative concord language.
  • This study was written within the Programme for the Development of Fields of Study at Charles University, No. P10, Linguistics, sub-programme Comparative Linguistics.
[1] Basile, N., & Radici Colace, P. (2001). Sintassi storica del greco antico (2. ed.) . Bari: Levante editori.

[2] Bornemann, E., & Risch, E. (1978). Griechische Grammatik (2. ed.) . Frankfurt am Main: M. Diesterweg.

[3] Crespo, E. et al. (2003). Sintaxis del griego clásico (especially pp. 222–225). Madrid: Gredos.

[4] Denizot, C. (2012). La double négation et le tour οὐδεὶς οὐκ ἦλθεν . Revue de Philologie, de littérature et d'histoire anciennes, 86(2), 65–90.

[5] Dočekal, M. (2007). Autonomie syntaxe: negace a NPI [Autonomy of syntax: negation and NPI]. Linguistica online. [Accessed on 31. 8. 2016 from ].

[6] Dočekal, M. (2015). Czech Negation from the Formal Perspective . München: Lincom.

[7] Giannakidou, A. (2006). N-words and negative concord . In M. Everaert et al. (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to Syntax (Vol. III; Chap. 45, pp. 327–391). Oxford: Wiley–Blackwell.

[8] Giannakidou, A. (2011). Negative and positive polarity items . In C. Maienborn, K. von Heusinger, & P. Portner (Eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning (Vol. II, pp. 1660–1712). Berlin: De Gruyter.

[9] Hajičová, E. (1975). Negace a presupozice ve významové stavbě věty [Negation and presupposition in the semantics of sentence structure]. Praha: Academia.

[10] Haspelmath, M. (2013). Negative Indefinite Pronouns and Predicate Negation . In M. S. Dryer, & M. Haspelmath (Eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online (= WALS; chapter 115). Munich: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. [Available online:; Accessed on 31.8.2016].

[11] Horrocks, G. (2014). Ouk Ísmen Oudén: Negative Concord and Negative Polarity in the History of Greek . Journal of Greek Linguistics, 14, 43–83. | DOI 10.1163/15699846-01401003

[12] Humbert, J. (1972). Syntaxe grecque . Paris: Klincksieck.

[13] Kosta, P. (2001). Negace a větná struktura v češtině [Negation and sentence structure in Czech]. Čeština – univerzália a specifika, 3, 117–138.

[14] Kühner, R., & Gerth, B. (1904). Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache . (Vol. II, 2; pp. 178–223). Hannover–Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung.

[15] Mluvnice češtiny [Czech Grammar] = Petr, J. et al. (1987). Akademická mluvnice češtiny, III: Skladba [Academic Grammar of Czech Language – Syntax] (especially pp. 260–278). Praha: Academia.

[16] Muchnová, D. (2014). "Negation" and "Negation (morphology)" . In G. Giannakis et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics (pp. 484–491 and 491–492). Leiden: Brill.

[17] Niederle, J. et al. (1974). Mluvnice řeckého jazyka [Greek Language Grammar]. Praha: SPN.

[18] Penka, D. (2007). A crosslinguistic perspective on n-words . ASJU (Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo"), XLI(2), 267–283. [Retrieved 31. 8. 2016 from].

[19] Pinkster, H. (2015). The Oxford Latin Syntax. (Vol. I: The simple clause) . Oxford: OUP.

[20] Radt, S. (Ed.). (1977). Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta (Vol. 4) . Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

[21] Rijksbaron, A. et al. (2000). Beknopte syntaxis van het klassiek Grieks . Lunteren: Hermaion.

[22] Schwyzer, E., & Debrunner, A. (1950). Griechische Grammatik, II: Syntax und syntaktische Stilistik (especially pp. 590–599). Munich: C. H. Beck.

[23] Smyth, H. W. (1984). Greek grammar (revised by G. M. Messing; especially pp. 608–630). Harvard: University Press.

[24] Swart, H. de (2010). Expression and Interpretation of Negation: An OT Typology . Dordrecht–Heidelberg: Springer.

[25] Štícha, F. et al. (2013). Akademická gramatika spisovné češtiny [Academic Grammar of Standard Czech]. Praha: Academia.

[26] Willis, D. et al. (2013). Indefinites: Basic Concepts . In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the Mediterranean (Vol. I; pp. 27–35). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[27] Willmott, J. (2013). Negation in the history of Greek . In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), The History of negation in the languages of Europe and the Mediterranean (Vol. I; pp. 299–340). Oxford: Oxford University Press.