Semantic and syntactic demarcations of Classical Greek object cases: An object(ive) study


  • AJ Murphy University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • Stanley Dubinsky University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • Mark Beck University of South Carolina, Columbia



syntax, semantics, Classical Greek, case marking


In Classical Greek, many verbs take direct objects marked with genitive (GEN) or dative (DAT), rather than accusative (ACC) case. Traditional grammars (Smyth 1956, Boas et al. 2019) fail to offer principled descriptions or accounts of the distribution of ACC, GEN, DAT object case for transitive verbs. This paper analyzes a corpus involving case-assigning transitive verbs, and examines Luraghi's 2010 Transitivity Hierarchy in this context. We find that, while her ranking of verbs' transitivity is correct, the features used to determine the hierarchy are not. Our study demonstrates a highly significant correlation between a verb's level of transitivity (as indicated by the case marking on its object) and the Proto-role Properties of Change of State and subject Volitionality (Dowty 1991).

Author Biographies

  • AJ Murphy, University of South Carolina, Columbia

    Ph.D. student

    Linguistics Program

  • Stanley Dubinsky, University of South Carolina, Columbia

    Professor of Linguistics

    Department of English Language and Literature

  • Mark Beck, University of South Carolina, Columbia

    Associate Professor of Classics

    Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures




How to Cite

Murphy, AJ, Stanley Dubinsky, and Mark Beck. 2020. “Semantic and Syntactic Demarcations of Classical Greek Object Cases: An object(ive) Study”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 5 (1): 107–117.