ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

Cardinal directions in Ancient Greek and the systems of spatial orientation

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Yakovleva A. V. Storony sveta v drevnegrecheskom yazyke i sistemy prostranstvennoy oriyentatsii. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2021. 17(2): 289–326.

The paper presents the results of a corpus-based study of Ancient Greek terms for cardinal points. Since cross-linguistically the lexical sources of such terms are usually celestial bodies and events or other landmarks used for large-scale spatial orientation, the following research questions arise: can the original meaning of a cardinal-point term (or its etymology) influence the strategies of denoting spatial relations by cardinal points? If the original meaning of a spatial term does have an impact on morphosyntactic strategies, does it have anything to do with the genre of the text or the preferred type of the spatial narrative (scientific vs common-sense geography, cartographic vs hodological space description)?

The morphosyntax of static location marking by cardinal direction terms demonstrates a tendency for literal interpretation of the terms used for designation of specific landmarks, while some rare exceptions are also possible, especially in scientific geographic texts of later periods. My hypothesis explains the strong preference for these morphosyntactic strategies by the influence of the hodological spatial narrative where spatial relations are presented as routes toward a destination. This way of space description and the lexical sources of the terms formed the conventional strategies for marking static contexts with cardinal directions. The absolute cardinal terms become cognitively salient as abstract directions with the development of geography, when the two-dimensional, cartographic way of describing large-scale spatial relations gradually replaces hodological descriptions and thus influences conventional spatial constructions.

Ancient Greek, spatial relations, cardinal directions, fictive motion, hodological narrative
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Ancient Greek, spatial relations, cardinal directions, fictive motion, hodological narrative
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