Both contributors to this blog (yes, there actually is more than one — Mike and Rachel Aubrey) are contributing to the Greek Prepositions Workshop at Tyndale House, Cambridge this coming summer. We’re co-authoring two papers.
We will be doing an examination of the semantics of ἐκ and ἀπό, the emphasis on how their usage has developed since the Classical period using Luraghi (2003) as the starting point.1 The standard historical view for the period between the Classical era and Modern Greek is that ἐκ diminished in its usage while ἀπό extended its usage. This is fundamentally a result of ἀπό growing more generic in its usage, which allowed it to extend into ἐκ semantic space. Bortone (2010) notes, in fact, that post-Atticism during the Medieval period ἐκ tends to arise from “conscious archaism” (211). The two prepositions effectively at that point differ only in register and even then do so inconsistently.
In the Koine, Swart, Eckhoff, & Thomason (2012) argue that in the gospels, the differences between the two prepositions are still entrenched, with particular preferences depending on contextual or constructional issues. They refer to the ‘out of’ sense for ἐκ as ‘elative’ and the ‘away from’ sense of ἀπό ‘ablative’. Our expectation is that our broader analysis of usage in the Koine will reveal a situation that involves less semantic merger and more a form of semi-complementary distribution between the two prepositions. While we anticipate some overlap, the predication is that the usage will be more akin to puzzle pieces jutting into each other’s space in particular constructional contexts or perhaps like two tectonic plates pushing against each other and one eventually winning out over the other.
Our second paper at the workshop will more specifically be examining ἐκ and ἀπό and their usage for agentative/causal expressions in passive constructions. We will be examining verb-type preferences, contextual factors, and other issues. We will also be interested in how ἐκ and ἀπό interact with pseudo-passives that still have middle morphology.
We will be posting occasional data analysis and note summaries of secondary literature at our Patreon page. Following the workshop, those notes will also be made available here at Koine-Greek.com as well.
1 While Luraghi’s (2003) work exists within the domain of cognitive linguistics, it also represents a summary of the traditional grammar’s consensus in as much as her conclusions collaborate theirs.
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