Linguistic Descent, Diversification, and Convergence. The History of the Ancient Greek Dialects, ca. 2000-600 BCE


ACLS Fellowship Program


Classics and Linguistics


One of the most remarkable aspects of Ancient Greek is the tremendous amount of dialectal diversity that is attested for the language as it was spoken throughout Greece, the islands of the Aegean, the coast of Asia Minor, Cyprus, and the wider Mediterranean. This project is a full-scale linguistic history of the Ancient Greek dialects from their earliest beginnings through the mid 1st millennium BCE. Using new developments in Ancient Greek and Indo-European historical linguistics and in Mycenaean archaeology and palaeography, it seeks to resolve three long-standing questions: When did the Ancient Greek dialects first emerge and what linguistic innovations are responsible for their creation? What was the dialect situation in Ancient Greece throughout the 2nd millennium BCE? And what does the linguistic history of the Ancient Greek dialects mean for the study of Ancient Greek history and prehistory?