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Open Access Pain as process in Modern Greek

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Pain as process in Modern Greek

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image of Journal of Greek Linguistics

This paper presents the results of a pilot study of the verbal expression of pain in Modern Greek and forms part of an on-going, large-scale, corpus-based investigation. On the basis of a first taxonomy of lexico-phraseological forms and syntactic structures derived from authentic doctor–patient dialogues, it will be shown that, in Greek, pain is primarily viewed as process, secondarily as participant and only marginally as quality. In the light of Halliday’s (1985/1994) functional analysis, we shall focus on the wording of pain through the verb ponao ‘hurt’, viewed from the standpoint of transitivity. On the strength of our spoken data, it will be argued that in Greek there is a clear tendency for pain to be predominantly configured as an intransitive personal process, with the body part only rarely being construed as the locus of pain. This tendency reveals that pain is understood as residing in the sufferer’s self as a whole rather than in just some part of the body.

Affiliations: 1: University of Athens


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