Laboratorio di Linguistica
'Giovanni Nencioni'









Workshop on Ancient Grammars

Derivations and connections between the Greek, Arabic and Syriac traditions


Workshop Information
Organizing Commitee


Texts avalaible in pdf


The connections between the Greek, Syriac and Arabic ancient grammatical traditions have been singled out and studied, in the western world, since the XIX century. A derivation of the last two from the first one has also been generally acknowledged, even if with some difficulties as regards Arabic.
Nevertheless, the details about the moments and the modalities in which such traditions came in contact with each other have not been made clear yet.
Moreover, the problems related to the connections between Greek, Syriac and Arabic linguistic thinking mingle also with the ones that are specific to each single tradition. However, it could be the case that research in one field can contribute to shed some light on the other.
The aim of this workshop is to individuate and discuss a number of problems in the current understanding of ancient grammars, both within the single traditions and specific theories, and with respect to their correlations.
The workshop is meant to be, most of all, an opportunity to share knowledge, for scholars from different fields and with different interests. For this reason, beside the main contributions, there will be a large space for discussion, open to all the participants.

Workshop Information

• The workshop will be held at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa on May the 29th 2009.
• There will be two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with two presentations each. At the end of each session, there will be a discussion open to the ‘auditory’.
• The workshop will be entirely recorded. The official communications will be published, together with a transcription of the discussions, by the Scuola Normale Superiore.

Organizing Committee

Pier Marco Bertinetto
Sara Eco Conti
Margherita Farina


Morning session

9:30 Jean Lallot
Décrire le verbe grec: points délicats de l’analyse d’Apollonius

10:15 Pierangiolo Berrettoni
Teorie del tempo verbale da Aristotele agli Stoici

11:00 Discussion

Afternoon session

14:30 Kees Versteegh
A perfect mess: The distinction of tense and aspect in grammatical traditions

15:15 Sara Eco Conti & Margherita Farina
The accidents of the verb: Greek sources and Syriac grammars

16:00 Discussion


BERRETTONI, Pierangiolo (1989a). “An Idol of the School: the aspectual Theory of the Stoics”, Rivista di Linguistica, 1: 33-68.
BERRETTONI, Pierangiolo (1989b). “Further remarks on the Stoic Theory of Tenses”, Rivista di Linguistica, 1,2: 251-275.
BERRETTONI, Pierangiolo (1992). “Un passo di Aristotele e la consapevolezza dell’aspetto verbale nella cultura greca antica”, Archivio Glottologico Italiano, LXVII, 1-2: 38-65.
BERRETTONI, Pierangiolo (1997). Atene e Lipsia: saggi di storiografia del pensiero grammaticale, Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso.
CONTINI, Riccardo (2000). “The role of linguistics in Syrian society”. In Auroux, S., E. F. K. Koerner, H.-J. Niederehe & K. Versteegh (Eds.), History of the Language Sciences. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
CONTINI, Riccardo (1998). “Considerazioni interlinguistiche sull'adattamento siriaco della Techné Grammatiké di Dionisio Trace”. In Finazzi, R. B. & A. Valvo (Eds.), La diffusione dell'eredità classica nell'età tardoantica e medievale - Il Romanzo di Alessandro e altri scritti. Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso.
ILDEFONSE, Frédérique (1997). La naissance de la grammaire dans l’antiquité grecque. Paris: Vrin.
LALLOT, Jean (1988). ‘Origines et développement de la théorie des parties du discours en Grèce’. Langages, 92: 11–23.
LALLOT, Jean (1989). La grammaire de Denys le Thrace. Paris: CNRS.
LALLOT, Jean (1997). (introduction, texte, traduction et commentaire), Apollonius Dyscole, La syntaxe, Paris, Libraire philosophique J. Vrin.
MERX, Adalbertus (1889). “Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros”. Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 9(2).
PINBORG, Jan (1975). “Historiography of Linguistics: Classical Antiquity: Greece”, in T. A. Sebeok (ed.) Current Trends in Linguistics 13, La Haye-Paris, Mouton: 69- 126.
ROBINS, Robert H. (1951). Ancient and medieval grammatical theory in Europe. With particular reference to modern linguistic doctrine. London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd.
VERSTEEGH, Cornelis H. M. (1977). Greek elements in Arabic linguistic tradition. Leiden: Brill.
VERSTEEGH, Cornelis H. M. (1980). “The Stoic verbal system”, Hermes, 108, 338- 357.

Texts avalaible in pdf

- List of Syriac grammatical terms: section1 - section2 - section3
..DUVAL, Rubens (1881). Traité de grammaire syriaque. Paris [Amsterdam 1969]

- Syriac translation of the section "On verb" of the Téchne Grammatiké.
..MERX, Adalbertus (1889). Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros. Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 9(2).

- Section on verb of Moberg, Axel (1922). Le livre des splendeurs. La grande grammaire de Grégoire Barhebraeus. London, Oxford, Paris, Leipzig.












Jean Lallot

Pierangiolo Berrettoni

Kees Versteeg

Sara Eco Conti &
Margherita Farina