Ancient Greek Accentuation: Synchronic Patterns, Frequency Effects, and Prehistory

The accent of many Greek words has long been considered arbitrary, but Philomen Probert points to some striking correlations between accentuation and a word's synchronic morphological transparency, and between accentuation and word frequency, that give clues to the prehistory of the accent system. Bringing together comparative evidence for the Indo-European accentuation of the relevant categories with recent insights into the effects that loss of transparency and word frequency have on language change, Probert uses the synchronically observable correlations to bridge the gap between the accentuation patterns reconstructable for Indo-European and those directly attested for Greek from the Hellenistic period onwards.