New Book – Greece’s labyrinth of language: A study in the early modern discovery of dialect diversity

Greece's Labyrinth of Language

The latest book in the open access series History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences at Language Science Press is Raf Van Rooy’s Greece’s labyrinth of language: A study in the early modern discovery of dialect diversity.

This book can be downloaded for free from the Language Science Press website:

Printed copies can also be ordered there.


Fascinated with the heritage of ancient Greece, early modern intellectuals cultivated a deep interest in its language, the primary gateway to this long-lost culture, rehabilitated during the Renaissance. Inspired by the humanist battle cry “To the sources!” scholars took a detailed look at the Greek source texts in the original language and its different dialects. In so doing, they saw themselves confronted with major linguistic questions: Is there any order in this immense diversity? Can the Ancient Greek dialects be classified into larger groups? Is there a hierarchy among the dialects? Which dialect is the oldest? Where should problematic varieties such as Homeric and Biblical Greek be placed? How are the differences between the Greek dialects to be described, charted, and explained? What is the connection between the diversity of the Greek tongue and the Greek homeland? And, last but not least, are Greek dialects similar to the dialects of the vernacular tongues? Why (not)? This book discusses and analyzes the often surprising and sometimes contradictory early modern answers to these questions.


“This work offers readers a thoroughly novel and particularly enlightening perspective on Ancient Greek dialects through its examination of how the study of these dialects developed in ancient up through pre-modern times. Deftly interweaving discussions of dialectological detail with a consideration of the emergence of various classificatory schemes over many centuries, author Van Rooy has produced a fine work that has much of interest to a wide audience of Hellenists, Classicists, linguists, and historians of the language sciences.”

— Brian Joseph, Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics, Ohio State University

Posted in Announcements, Publications

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Upcoming events

28-30 June 2023
Faro, Portugal
International Inter-association (History of Language Teaching) Conference
Language teachers, methodologies and teacher training in historical perspective

4-6 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
2023 Annual Colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society
What counts as scientific in the History of Linguistics?

6-9 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
XXXII. International Colloquium of the “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS)
Controversies in the history of linguistics

%d bloggers like this: