ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 75-79
The Deferment of Postpositive Particles
in Greek Documentary Papyri
Stephen M. Bay Brigham Young University
This article examines instances in Greek documentary papyri in
which postpositive particles occur after their normal "peninitial"
position in a clause or sentence. The ratio between deferred and normally placed postpositives in papyri is given and compared to the
ratio in literary texts. A diachronic analysis of the phenomenon is also
provided, to assess its likelihood of occurrence, century by century,
and finally, a brief analysis follows of the grammatical constructions
that accompany it in papyri to evaluate whether they are at all different from literary texts.
The deferment of postpositive particles beyond second position is a relatively infrequent, but not abnormal occurrence in Attic prose. This paper seeks
to examine the occurrences of this postponement in documentary papyri. The
examination will determine how often the postponement occurs in documentary papyri, whether the frequency of occurrence in documentary papyri is
proportionate to that found in literary texts, and whether or not the frequency
of occurrence is stable throughout the centuries from the Ptolemaic through
the Byzantine periods.
In 1892 Wackernagel observed that in Greek and other Indo-European
languages, certain words must occupy second position in their sentence or
clause.' Denniston pointed out that there is a hierarchy of postpositive usage when multiple postpositives are used in a given clause. When they occur
together with ydp or other connective particles, gtv and/or r should always
appear first.2 Much of the recent scholarship dealing with this phenomenon in
regard to the Greek language has focused on situations in which postponement
1 J. Wackernagel, "Ober ein Gesetz der indogermanischen Wortstellung" Indogermanische Forschungen 1 (1892) 333-436.
2 J.D. Denniston, The Greek Particles (Oxford 1950) lx.