The subject in a simple English sentence such as John runs, John is a teacher, or John was ran over by a car is the person or thing about whom the statement is made, in this case'John'. Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, to say with which the verb agrees. If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the'topic' of the sentence. These definitions seem clear enough for simple sentences such as the above, but as will be shown in the article below, problems in defining the subject arise when an attempt is made to extend the definitions to more complex sentences and to languages other than English. For example, in the sentence It is difficult to learn French, the grammatical subject seems to be the word'it', yet arguably the'real' subject is'to learn French'. Sentences beginning with a locative phrase, such as There is a problem, isn't there?, in which the tag question'isn't there?'
Seems to imply that the subject is the adverb'there' create difficulties for the definition of subject. In languages such as Latin or German the subject of a verb has a form, known as the nominative case: for example, the form'he' is used in sentences such as he ran, he broke the window, he is a teacher, he was hit by a car, but there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive is different from when the verb is transitive. In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of'subject' may not apply at all; the subject is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle, one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject. According to a tradition associated with predicate logic and dependency grammars, the subject is the most prominent overt argument of the predicate. By this position all languages with arguments have subjects, though there is no way to define this for all languages.
From a functional perspective, a subject is a phrase. Many languages do not do this, by this definition would not have subjects. All of these positions see the subject in English determining person and number agreement on the finite verb, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat; the stereotypical subject precedes the finite verb in declarative sentences in English and represents an agent or a theme. The subject is a multi-word constituent and should be distinguished from parts of speech, which classify words within constituents; the subject is a constituent that can be realized in numerous forms in English and other languages, many of which are listed in the following table: There are several criteria for identifying subjects: 1. Subject-verb agreement: The subject agrees with the finite verb in person and number, e.g. I am vs. *I is.2. Position occupied: The subject immediately precedes the finite verb in declarative clauses in English, e.g. Tom laughs.3. Semantic role: A typical subject in the active voice is an agent or theme, i.e. it performs the action expressed by the verb or when it is a theme, it receives a property assigned to it by the predicate.
Of these three criteria, the first one is the most reliable. The subject in English and many other languages agrees with the finite verb in number; the second and third criterion are strong tendencies that can be flouted in certain constructions, e.g. a. Tom is studying chemistry. - The three criteria agree identifying Tom as the subject.b. Is Tom studying chemistry? - The 1st and the 3rd criteria identify Tom as the subject.c. Chemistry is being studied. - The 1st and the 2nd criteria identify Chemistry as the subject. In the first sentence, all three criteria combine to identify Tom as the subject. In the second sentence, which involves the subject-auxiliary inversion of a yes/no-question, the subject follows the finite verb, which means the second criterion is flouted, and in the third sentence expressed in the passive voice, the 1st and the 2nd criterion combine to identify chemistry as the subject, whereas the third criterion suggests that by Tom should be the subject because Tom is an agent.
4. Morphological case: In languages that have case systems, the subject is marked by a specific case the nominative.5. Omission: Many languages systematically omit a subject, known in discourse; the fourth criterion is better applicable to languages other than English given that English lacks morphological case marking, the exception being the subject and object forms of pronouns, I/me, he/him, she/her, they/them. The fifth criterion is helpful in languages that drop pronominal subjects, such as Spanish, Italian, Greek and Mandarin. Though most of these languages are rich in verb forms for determining the person and number of the subject and Mandarin have no such forms at all; this dropping pattern does not automatically make a language a pro-drop language. In other languages, like English and French, most clauses should have a subject, which should be either a noun, a pronoun, or a
The word thou is a second-person singular pronoun in English. It is now archaic, having been replaced in most contexts by you, it is used in parts of Northern England and in Scots, in rural parts of Newfoundland, albeit as a recessive feature. Thou is the nominative form; when thou is the grammatical subject of a finite verb in the indicative mood, the verb form ends in -st, but in some cases just -t, although in some dialects of Old English, this verb form ended in -s, hence the Quaker habit of using what looks like the third person form of the verb with "thee" as the subject. Thou was the singular counterpart to the plural pronoun ye, derived from an ancient Indo-European root. In Middle English, thou was sometimes abbreviated by putting a small "u" over the letter thorn: þͧ. Starting in the 1300s, thou was used to express intimacy, familiarity or disrespect, while another pronoun, the oblique/objective form of ye, was used for formal circumstances. In the 17th century, thou fell into disuse in the standard language regarded as impolite, but persisted, sometimes in an altered form, in regional dialects of England and Scotland, as well as in the language of such religious groups as the Society of Friends.
The use of the pronoun is still present in poetry. Early English translations of the Bible used the familiar singular form of the second person, which mirrors common usage trends in other languages; the familiar and singular form is used when speaking to God in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish and Scottish Gaelic. In addition, the translators of the King James Version of the Bible attempted to maintain the distinction found in Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and Koine Greek between singular and plural second person pronouns and verb forms, so they used thou, thee and thine for singular, ye, you and yours for plural. In standard modern English, thou continues to be used in formal religious contexts, in literature that seeks to reproduce archaic language and in certain fixed phrases such as "fare thee well". For this reason, many associate the pronoun with formality. Many dialects have compensated for the lack of a singular/plural distinction caused by the disappearance of thou and ye through the creation of new plural pronouns or pronominals, such as yinz, yous and y'all or the colloquial you guys.
Ye remains common in some parts of Ireland, but these examples just given vary regionally and are restricted to colloquial speech. Because thou has passed out of common use, its traditional forms are confused by those imitating archaic speech; the English personal pronouns have standardized declension according to the following table: Verb forms used after thou end in -est or -st in the indicative mood in both the present and the past tenses. These forms are used for both weak verbs. Typical examples of the standard present and past tense forms follow; the e in the ending is optional. In verse, the choice about whether to use the e depended upon considerations of meter. to know: thou knowest, thou knewest to drive: thou drivest, thou drovest to make: thou makest, thou madest to love: thou lovest, thou lovedstModal verbs have -st added to their forms: can: thou canst could: thou couldst may: thou mayest might: thou mightst should: thou shouldst would: thou wouldst ought to: thou oughtest toA few verbs have irregular thou forms: to be: thou art, thou wast to have: thou hast, thou hadst to do: thou dost and thou didst shall: thou shalt will: thou wilt must: thou must In Proto-English, the second-person singular verb inflection was -es.
This came down unchanged from Indo-European and can be seen in quite distantly related Indo-European languages: Russian знаешь, thou knowest. The anomalous development from -es to modern English -est, which took place separately at around the same time in the related German and West Frisian languages, is understood to be caused by an assimilation of the consonant of the pronoun, which followed the verb; this is most observed in German: liebes du → liebstu → liebst du. The three languages belong to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages, of which West Frisian is the closest to English. In Dutch, the equivalent of "thou", du became archaic and fell out of use and was replaced by the Dutch equivalent of "you", just as it has in English, with the place of the informal plural taken by jullie. In the subjunctive and imperative moods, the ending in -st is dropped; the subjunctive forms are used when a statement is contrary to fact. If thou be Johan, I tell it thee, right with a good
A Greek–English Lexicon
A Greek–English Lexicon referred to as Liddell & Scott, Liddell–Scott–Jones, or LSJ, is a standard lexicographical work of the Ancient Greek language. The lexicon is now in its ninth edition. Based on the earlier Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache by the German lexicographer Franz Passow, which in turn was based on Johann Gottlob Schneider's Kritisches griechisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch, it has served as the basis for all lexicographical work on the ancient Greek language, such as the ongoing Greek–Spanish dictionary project Diccionario Griego–Español, it was edited by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, published by the Oxford University Press. It is now conventionally referred to as Liddell & Scott, Liddell–Scott–Jones, or LSJ, its three sizes are sometimes referred to as "The Little Liddell", "The Middle Liddell" and "The Big Liddell" or "The Great Scott". According to Stuart Jones's preface to the ninth edition, the creation of the Lexicon was proposed by David Alphonso Talboys, an Oxford publisher.
It was published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford rather than by Talboys because he died before the first edition was complete. The second through sixth editions appeared in 1845, 1849, 1855, 1861, 1869; the first editor of the LSJ, Henry George Liddell, was Dean of Christ Church and the father of Alice Liddell, the eponymous Alice of the writings of Lewis Carroll. The eighth edition is the last edition published during Liddell's lifetime; the LSJ is sometimes compared and contrasted with A Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short, published by Oxford University Press. For comparisons between the two works, see the article on Lewis and Short's dictionary, it is sometimes compared with the Bauer lexicon, a similar work focused on the Greek of the New Testament. Greek scholars use these books so much that two short memorable clerihews have been written to describe the seminal work: 1. 2. Two condensed editions of LSJ remain in print. In 1843, the same year as the full lexicon's publication, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon, sometimes called "the Little Liddell" was published.
Several revised editions followed. For example, a reprint, re-typeset in 2007, of the 1909 edition is available from Simon Wallenberg Press. In 1889, an intermediate edition of the lexicon, An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon, was prepared on the basis of the seventh edition of LSJ. In comparison to the smaller abridgement, this "Middle Liddell" contains more entries covering the essential vocabulary of most read Ancient Greek literature, adds citations of the authors to illustrate the history of Greek usage, provides more help with irregular forms. After the publication of the ninth edition in 1940, shortly after the deaths of both Stuart Jones and McKenzie, the OUP maintained a list of addenda et corrigenda, bound with subsequent printings. However, in 1968, these were replaced by a Supplement to the LSJ. Neither the addenda nor the Supplement has been merged into the main text, which still stands as composed by Liddell, Jones, McKenzie; the Supplement was edited by M. L. West. Since 1981, it has been edited by editor of the Oxford Latin Dictionary.
Since 1988, it has been edited by Anne A. Thompson; as the title page of the Lexicon makes clear, this editorial work has been performed "with the cooperation of many scholars". The Supplement takes the form of a list of additions and corrections to the main text, sorted by entry; the supplemental entries are marked with signs to show the nature of the changes they call for. Thus, a user of the Lexicon can consult the Supplement after consulting the main text to see whether scholarship after Jones and McKenzie has provided any new information about a particular word; as of 2005, the most recent revision of the Supplement, published in 1996, contains 320 pages of corrections to the main text, as well as other materials. Here is a typical entry from the revised Supplement: x ἐκβουτῠπόομαι to be changed into a cow, S.fr. 269a.37 R. The small "x" indicates. Refers to the collected fragmentary works of Sophocles. One interesting new source of lexicographic material in the revised Supplement is the Mycenean inscriptions.
The 1996 revised Supplement's Preface notes: At the time of the publication of the first Supplement it was felt that the Ventris decipherment of the Linear B tablets was still too uncertain to warrant the inclusion of these texts in a standard dictionary. Ventris's interpretation is now accepted and the tablets can no longer be ignored in a comprehensive Greek dictionary; the ninth edition of LSJ has been available in electronic form since 2007, having been digitized by the Perseus Project. Diogenes, a free software package, incorporates the Perseus data and allows easy offline consultation of LSJ on Mac OS X, Linux platforms. Marcion is another open source application that includes the Perseus LSJ. For mobile devices, both the Kindle E-Ink and the iPhone/iPod Touch feature data ported from Perseus; the Android Market currently offers the intermediate LSJ as an offline downloadable app for free or for a small price. A CD-ROM version published and sold by Logos Bible Software incorporates the Supplement's additions to the
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions. Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language; as one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. It is related to Greek and Latin, as well as Hittite, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, it traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as the Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called the Classical Sanskrit emerged in mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini. Sanskrit, though not Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages. Examples include numerous modern daughter Northern Indian subcontinental languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali; the body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, drama, scientific and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity and fidelity; the earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st-century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada. Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.
Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants; the Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam and krta-. It connotes a work, "well prepared and perfect, sacred". According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal qualities, rather than semantic. Sound and oral transmission were valued quality in ancient India, its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. From late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic and religious literature" in India; the sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself, the "mysterious magnum" of the Hindu thought.
The search for perfection in thought and of salvation was one of the dimensions of sacred sound, the common thread to weave all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages; the term prakrta means "original, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in the Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patanjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding; the purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Dandin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar".
Dandin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of the author of the ancient Natyasastra text; the early Jain scholar Namisadhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisadhu stated that the Prakrit language was the purvam and they came to women and children, that Sanskrit was a refinement of the Prakrit through a "purification by grammar". Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is one of the three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as the Proto-Indo-European language: Vedic Sanskrit. Mycenaean Greek and Ancient Greek. Mycenaean Greek is the older recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems. Hittite.
This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. I
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Case is a special grammatical category of a noun, adjective, participle or numeral whose value reflects the grammatical function performed by that word in a phrase, clause or sentence. In some languages, pronouns, determiners, prepositions, numerals and their modifiers take different inflected forms, depending on their case; as a language evolves, cases can merge, a phenomenon formally called syncretism. English has lost its inflected case system although personal pronouns still have three cases, which are simplified forms of the nominative and genitive cases, they are used with personal pronouns: objective case and possessive case. Forms such as I, he and we are used for the subject, forms such as me, him and us are used for the object. Languages such as Ancient Greek, Assamese, Belarusian, Czech, Finnish, Icelandic, Korean, Lithuanian, Romanian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Tibetan, Turkish and most Caucasian languages have extensive case systems, with nouns, pronouns and determiners all inflecting to indicate their case.
The number of cases differs between languages: Esperanto has two. Encountered cases include nominative, accusative and genitive. A role that one of those languages marks by case is marked in English with a preposition. For example, the English prepositional phrase with foot might be rendered in Russian using a single noun in the instrumental case or in Ancient Greek as τῷ ποδί with both words changing to dative form. More formally, case has been defined as "a system of marking dependent nouns for the type of relationship they bear to their heads". Cases should be distinguished from thematic roles such as patient, they are closely related, in languages such as Latin, several thematic roles have an associated case, but cases are a morphological notion, thematic roles a semantic one. Languages having cases exhibit free word order, as thematic roles are not required to be marked by position in the sentence, it is accepted that the Ancient Greeks had a certain idea of the forms of a name in their own language.
A fragment of Anacreon seems to prove this. It cannot be inferred that the Ancient Greeks knew what grammatical cases were. Grammatical cases were first recognized by the Stoics and from some philosophers of the Peripatetic school; the advancements of those philosophers were employed by the philologists of the Alexandrian school. The English word case used in this sense comes from the Latin casus, derived from the verb cadere, "to fall", from the Proto-Indo-European root *ḱad-; the Latin word is a calque of the Greek πτῶσις, ptôsis, lit. "falling, fall". The sense is; this picture is reflected in the word declension, from Latin declinere, "to lean", from the PIE root *ḱley-. The equivalent to "case" in several other European languages derives from casus, including cas in French, caso in Spanish and Kasus in German; the Russian word паде́ж is a calque from Greek and contains a root meaning "fall", the German Fall and Czech pád mean "fall", are used for both the concept of grammatical case and to refer to physical falls.
The Finnish equivalent is sija, whose main meaning is "position" or "place". Although not prominent in modern English, cases featured much more saliently in Old English and other ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Old Persian, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit; the Indo-European languages had eight morphological cases, though modern languages have fewer, using prepositions and word order to convey information, conveyed using distinct noun forms. Among modern languages, cases still feature prominently in most of the Balto-Slavic languages, with most having six to eight cases, as well as Icelandic and Modern Greek, which have four. In German, cases are marked on articles and adjectives, less so on nouns. In Icelandic, adjectives, personal names and nouns are all marked for case, making it, among other things, the living Germanic language that could be said to most resemble Proto-Germanic; the eight historical Indo-European cases are as follows, with examples either of the English case or of the English syntactic alternative to case: All of the above are just rough descriptions.
Case is based fundamentally on changes to the noun to indicate the noun's role in the sentence – one of the defining features of so-called fusional languages. Old English was a fusional language. Modern English has abandoned the inflectional case system of Proto-Indo-European in favor of analytic constructions. The
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l