I happened across Nick Nicholas’s thesis while looking for something else; its title is “The story of pu: The grammaticalisation in space and time of a Modern Greek complementiser,” and it has five summaries ranging in length from “I am spending three years looking at the 1000-year history of one word in Mediaeval Greek” to the actual abstract:

This work is concerned with tracing the historical development of the various functions of the Modern Greek connective pu. This connective has a considerable range of functions, and there have been attempts in the literature to group together these functions in a synchronically valid framework. It is my contention that the most illuminating way of regarding the functional diffusion of pu — and of any content word — is by looking, not only at one synchronic distribution (that of Standard Modern Greek), but at the full range of synchronic distributions in the sundry diatopic variants (dialects) of Modern Greek, and that such a discussion must be informed by the diachrony of the form…

An insistence on diachrony is sweet music to this Indo-Europeanist manqué. (The page I’ve linked is HTML, but the chapters linked from it are pdf files.)


  1. I’m glad you link to Nicholas, as I always thought you and him may share a few things (I probably said that here before).

  2. While going at it, I would have added a sixth (or, rather, a zeroeth) summary, consisting of just one word: pu!

  3. (Those interested in artificial languages will also benefit greatly from visiting his site; among other, he is an important figure of the Klingon community; reading him made me more understanding of that field.)

  4. Really? He should also write a thesis on the History of the Klingon suffix -pu’! 😉

  5. or the Yan-nhangu suffix -bu/-pu!

  6. taH pagh taHbe’. DaH mu’tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
    “Whether ’tis nobler…”, etc.

  7. And just to make it clear, since it is not written on the HTML page: it is που.

  8. Nick’s actually one of the reasons I’m as interested in linguistics as I am today; he’s an excellent teacher and as far as I can tell an all-round great guy. (He’s also the only person who might still have a copy of my Klingon translation of a certain Coleridge poem.)

  9. Something tells me it wasn’t “This Lime-tree Bower My Prison.”

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