BMCR: Nathalie Rousseau’s Du syntagme au lexique: sur la composition en grec

Books such as this one are a good reason to continue to pay attention to non-English scholarship on Ancient Greek:

Rousseau, Nathalie. 2016. Du syntagme au lexique: sur la composition en grec. Collection d’études anciennnes. Série grecque, 154.   Paris:  Les Belles Lettres.

The title translates more or less as “From syntax/syntagm* to lexicon: On compositionality in Ancient Greek.” The book is about prefixed verbs.

The wealth of information it provides and its careful treatment of both the linguistic and philological side of compounds, Rousseau’s study comes as a very welcome addition to the existing bibliography on Greek compounding, most of which is now outdated. Linguists will find a morpho-semantic approach that, in the spirit of the best French philological tradition, carefully combines linguistic theory with a pronounced literary sensitivity. Classicists interested in the meaning and contextual use of many prepositional compounds will profit from Rousseau’s balanced and well-informed discussions, sensitive to textual criticism and the history of Greek literature.

Reviewed by Olga Tribulato, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.07.22

A brief abstract by the author and table of contents of the volume are here (in French): Du syntagme au lexique.

*’syntagme’ normally means ‘phrase’, but it’s also possible that Rousseau is actually referring to the linguistic unit ‘syntagm’ which is a word adapted on the model of phone/phoneme and morph/morpheme, where syntax/syntagm, where syntagm refers to a sign the functions with the syntactic system. It’s also entirely possible that Rousseau is using ‘syntagme’ as ‘phrase’ short for ‘prepositional phrase’ which is what she views as the origin of Greek preverbs, though that’s a whole other topic. I’m sure someone who with a better grasp of French could illuminate the question better.