This project will be a close linguistic study of the language of the Greek text of the New Testament as well as its translations into the old Indo-European languages Latin, Gothic, Armenian and Church Slavonic. In its first stage, the project aims at desc ribing and accounting for the so-called 'pragmatic resources' of these languages, i.e. the resources that the grammar makes available for information structuring.
In producing oral or written discourses, speakers/writers mark discourse referents (events , times, places and individuals that are spoken about) as old, new or contrastive information in order to make it easier for listeners/readers to keep track of them. Word order is one resource that can be used for this purpose. In many languages, for exam ple, old discourse referents tend to come at the beginning of the sentence and new ones at the end.
Different languages offer different resources and we intend to study the variation between Latin, Gothic, Armenian and Church Slavonic in this area. For this purpose, we will develop a parallel corpus, i.e. an electronically searchable collection of the texts of the New Testament in these languages.
In the second stage, the project will examine how these resources developed from Proto-Indo-European with a particular emphasis on the trends in the linguistic area of Western Europe towards stricter word order, development of definite articles, obligatory anaphoric pronouns and subordination instead of participial constructions. Modern Greek, Germanic and R omance are all much more restrictive in the use of word order for pragmatic purposes than they were in their older stages. On the other hand, Germanic and Romance have developed definite articles (Ancient Greek already had one), which can mark information as old. As an example of seemingly interrelated changes over a large, continuous area, the study of this evolution promises also to give a better understanding of this kind of linguistic evolution ('drift').