Discourse particles in the LSJ: A fresh look at γε


This chapter contrasts the Liddell and Scott (LSJ) account of the particle γε with an approach that takes advantage of some of the conceptual tools of twenty-first century semantics and pragmatics. It begins by discussing the question of why describing the meaning of discourse particles is so challenging. From here, it homes in on the particle γε, ‘one of the subtlest and most elusive particles’, according to Denniston (1954). After critically reviewing its article in LSJ, it presents the results of a fresh examination of the particle in two Platonic dialogues, Meno and Cratylus, focusing on the most salient aspects of its meaning, especially phenomena that LSJ does not mention. It argues that γε is characterized by two semantic properties: scalar interpretation and non-at issue semantics.

Michael Clarke, Joshua T. Katz, and Chris Stray, ed. Liddell and Scott: The history, methodology, and languages of the world’s leading lexicon of ancient Greek, 268-287. Oxford: Oxford University Press