Encyclopedia of Slavic Languages and Linguistics Online


The most comprehensive reference work on Slavic languages ever published. It provides authoritative treatment of all important aspects of the Slavic language family from its Indo-European origins to the present day, as well as consideration of the interaction of Slavic with other languages.




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Interview with Marc L. Greenberg on the Encyclopedia of Slavic Languages and Linguistics

In June 2020, Brill released the online Encyclopedia of Slavic Languages and Linguistics (ESLL). Read an interview with Editor-in-Chief, Marc L. Greenberg (University of Kansas).

New at Brill: Heritage Language Journal

The Heritage Language Journal (HLJ) was established in 2002 by the National Heritage Language Resource Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Its aim is to provide a forum for scholars to disseminate research and knowledge about heritage and community languages.

Major Open Access Collaboration between Brill and ERC Project ‘Open Philology: The Composition of Buddhist Scriptures’

Brill is delighted to announce a new Open Access collaboration with ‘Open Philology: The Composition of Buddhist Scriptures’ (OpenPhilology), funded by the European Research Council. The resulting book series Buddhist Open Philology Project will publish translations of scriptures, text editions, and studies on the select corpus of Mahāyāna Buddhist scriptures (sūtra), the Mahāratnakūṭa collection of 49 sūtras. All volumes in the series will be published in Open Access with Brill.


Acquisitions Editors


Seçil Ümitvar



V&R unipress

Marie-Carolin Vondracek


Languages and Linguistics

Blending is a morphophonological process whereby long words are constructed through segment mixing as a result of the detachment and/or fusion of word parts, syllables or sounds. In Greek, blending has occurred throughout its diachrony. It can be either synchronic or across stages through the combination of words from older/different stages, or even cross-linguistic by means of combing words from different languages.

Internal borrowing describes two different procedures, (a) the diachronic borrowing where the source-language is an early stage of the target-language (internal-diachronic borrowing), and (b) the synchronic borrowing between two different forms of the same language (internal-synchronic borrowing), either from one dialect to another, or from one dialect to the standard language or vice versa. Internal-synchronic borrowing occurred in various periods of the history of the Greek language. Internal-diachronic borrowing happens when the newest form B of a language borrows an element from an older form A of the same language. In the history of Greek, diachronic borrowing is more intense during Modern Greek, mainly from the 18th c. onwards, when the need for new vocabulary in the framework of the Greek state increases. Many new concepts were rendered in various ways, e.g. through calquing or diachronic borrowing, which is of various types and has various effects.

This entry shows that the concept of news that we have today is not a modern invention but rather a social and cultural institution that has been passed down to us by the Greeks as a legacy. In order to understand what was considered news in Ancient Greece, we conducted a lexical study of ἄγγελος ángelos  – the word used to denote the messenger in charge of transmitting news – and all of its derivatives attested in an extensive corpus.

The terminology of death varies in terms of register, i.e. literary and ‘official’ terms and ‘substandard’, colloquial and jargon terms, and in that there are terms that speak directly for death and dying, but as death is the prime taboo, talk about it is conducted mostly with metaphorical language. The colloquial terms seem to thrive with the formation of a large and varied range of expressions of death, often not of ‘panhellenic’ use but confined in place, genre, author or type of text. In any case, the resulting language of death is characterized by a profusion of expressive means.

Greek employs a large host of means and mechanisms in carrying out emphasis which can be categorized into lexical, morphological, phonetic and phonological, syntactic, stylistic, and pragmatic, or combinations thereof. In writing, emphasis is in certain occasions signaled with the use of special graphemes (e.g. capitals, calligraphic or bold-faced characters, use of italics, underlining, etc.) or even by punctuation. Such means and mechanisms establish prominence relations between linguistic units and play an important role in the semantic and pragmatic interpretation in language use.  

Explicatives form a rather tricky category referring both to what speakers perceive as an explanation or clarification of a speech segment and to formal theoretical frameworks (Philosophy, Logic, Semantics, Pragmatics) according to which an explanation is a “transfer of understanding” (Walton 2004) in a conversation. In Mod.Gk, as well as in most languages, some words (which in turn may fall into different categories, i.e. particles, conjunctions, adverbs, discourse markers) are considered to be good indicators of explanation (I mean, that is to say, in other words, etc.) even if they do not always lead to explanations. Conversely, prototypical argumentative markers, such as because or consequently, are used to introduce an explanation instead of an argument. Thus, both explanations and arguments trigger sequences of reasoning

Expressive lengthening is the process by which any phonetic segment is prolonged to convey a subjective emotion (affect, endearment, estimation, etc.). The lexical domain of expressive lengthening is the language of children, onomatopoeic words, diminutives, interjections, and personal names. The effects of this process in these, and other, domains are discussed and exemplified here.

Folk etymology is the morphophonological reshaping of a word, normally one with opaque morphology, through its subconscious erroneous association with some other word(s) for the sake of semantic clarity and enhanced morphological transparency. Folk etymology proper is different from conscious re-etymologized coinages (ludative, normative) but also from other phenomena, such as reanalysis, back-formation, etc. Folk etymology has been a common phenomenon throughout the history of Greek.

Greek has always been in direct or indirect contact with other languages, mostly European, but at times also Asian and African ones. Greek background of modern scientific terminology is just an episode in the long history of such contacts. Older Greek borrowings in other languages are not always recognizable to non-linguists. However, the total or partial Greek origin of internationalisms, which make a large part of modern scientific terminology, is a fact known even among non-linguists. Such vocabulary is mostly obtained by neology, neosemy and/or borrowing. Classical Greek, besides Classical Latin, is a traditional and well-established source of neoclassical lexemes, combining forms and affixes that are used to produce scientific terms. Modern Greek is itself a recipient language as far as Greek-based terminology is concerned, although the average Modern Greek-speaker is usually unaware of this fact due to similarities between inherited and borrowed items.