A relevance-theoretic analysis of the discourse markers 'gar', 'oun' and 'de' in Basil the Great's hexaemeron, Gregory of Nazianzus' contra Julianum and Heliodorus' aethiopica

Start - End 
2013 - 2017 (ongoing)
Department of Linguistics
Research Period 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 



This project will analyze the Ancient Greek discourse markers gar, oun and de in three fourth-century texts - two of them argumentative (Basil the Great's Hexaemeron and Gregory of Nazianzen's Invectives against Julian), one narrative (Heliodorus' Aethiopica). It approaches these items from a modern pragmatic perspective, namely relevance theory. Under this model, these discourse markers are reanalyzed as procedural items which contribute to various aspects of the interpretation process. This project will analyze which semantic information these markers encode - previous studies have focused more on the contexts in which these items appear, or have provided an operational instead of a semantic approach. This is an entirely new approach to Ancient Greek. Only recently has there been a rekindling of interest in these elements, mainly from coherence perspectives which are certainly compatible with this project. Although these studies are certainly valuable (and will inform my own analysis throughout), there are certain lacunae which need addressing. The goal is to give fresh, more cognitively-oriented impetus to the field of discourse marker research, and to demonstrate that these elements make subtle yet important contributions to the meaning and processing of discourse.



Phd Student(s)