Helma Dik

Biography and Interests: 

Helma Dik

Title: Associate Professor in Classics and the College
Education: Doctorate, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), 1995
Office: Wieboldt 222
Areas of Specialization: Greek language and linguistics; Greek prose style; corpus linguistics; Digital Humanities

My primary interest is in the synchronic linguistics of Classical Greek, especially the interplay of syntax, semantics and pragmatics. To a lesser extent, this leads me to an interest in the specific manifestations of language use (‘stylistics’) in particular authors, such as Herodotus, Demosthenes, and Sophocles.

My long-term goal is to produce a reference grammar of Classical Greek that takes into account the many developments in the field in the last century. Writing such a work, however, requires a good sense of the entire corpus of Greek literature, and accordingly, I have worked in recent years on developing such a corpus, in order to be able to answer more fully than before questions about distribution of forms and constructions over genre and over time.

This has led to collaborative efforts with the Perseus Project (Tufts & Leipzig) and many other Digital Classics projects in various countries, as well as to co-organizing an annual colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science, a regional conference now hosted on a rotating basis by Chicago, IIT, Northwestern, Loyola and DePaul.

At the same time, my digital activities have led to research questions I would not have thought to approach before: on automated parsing algorithms for Greek and Latin, or on gendered language in drama through text mining, for example. This and other topics are the subject of a book in progress.

Current and recent student projects include a dissertation on the style of Demosthenes, a dissertation on gemstones with a network analysis approach, a BA on the application of conditional random field parsers to Greek, and another on text mining approaches to Thucydides. Students of mine with BA degrees in Classics have gone on to work as IT consultants and programmers in industry and in academia, as well as to graduate study in Classics (and in one case, both).

February 2013 lecture: http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/index.php/news/newsDetails/videocast-helma-dik-brute-force-philology-text-mining-the-classics



  • Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue. Oxford University Press. (2007)
  • Word Order in Ancient Greek. A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus. (Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology, 5). Gieben. (1995)

Recent Articles:

  • "Moving into the Future with a Lexicon: LSJ in the Digital Realm," commissioned for volume Liddell and Scott: The Worlds of a Lexicon, Oxford.
  • "Style and Syntax [of Herodotus]," commissioned for volume The Herodotus Encyclopedia, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • "On Unemphatic 'Emphatic' Pronouns in Greek: Nominative pronouns in Plato and Sophocles," Mnemosyne 2003.
  • Review of Andrew M. Devine & Laurence Stephens, Discontinuous Syntax, CW 94 (2001): 408-409.
  • "Words into Verse: The Localization of Some Metrical Word-Types in the Iambic Trimeter of Sophocles," ICS 23 (1998), pp. 47-84.
  • Rev. of Karin Kulneff-Eriksson, On 'have' in Ancient Greek, in BMCR 1999.11.25.

Digital activities, supported by the College, developed in collaboration with students, ARTFL, and ITServices:

  • Perseus under PhiloLogic. Collaboration with Perseus Project at Tufts University and ARTFL project at the University of Chicago. Currently over 200,000 pageviews per month for Greek and Latin texts and corpus-linguistic tools. Available at http://perseus.uchicago.edu.
  • Logeion. Resource for lexicography incorporating corpus-linguistic data. Website (logeion.uchicago.edu) and ‘app’. Ca. 7,000 users (app and website combined).
  • Attikos. Greek reading ‘app’ developed on the basis of Perseus under PhiloLogic data by student Josh Day.


  • Word Order in Ancient Greek. A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus. Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology 5. Amsterdam: Gieben, 1995. xii, 294 pp. Review in BMCR.
  • Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue, Oxford University Press. (2007)

Articles and Contributions to Edited Volumes

  • "On Unemphatic 'Emphatic' Pronouns in Greek: Nominative pronouns in Plato and Sophocles", Mnemosyne 2003.
  • "Words into Verse: The Localization of Some Metrical Word-Types in the Iambic Trimeter of Sophocles", ICS 23 (1998), pp. 47-84. PDF versions: US letter and EU A4 format.
  • Hommage à Milman Parry, Actes du Colloque Milman Parry, edited with Françoise Létoublon, Amsterdam: Gieben, 1998.xii, 414 pp.
  • 'Interpreting adjective position in Herodotus', in E.J. Bakker (ed.), Grammar as Interpretation, Leiden: Brill, 1997, 55-76. Review in BMCR.
  • Entries for the letter rho of the Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos, forthcoming.
  • 'Ancient Greek warfare - a case study in constituent ordering', in E. Engberg-Pedersen et al., eds., Function and Expression in Functional Grammar (Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994), 197-213.
  • 'Vrij maar niet willekeurig: Pragmatische aspecten van constituentvolgorde in twee fragmenten uit Herodotus', in Lampas 27.3 (1994), 252-269.
  • 'Gekloofde zinnen langs de lijn', in F.G. van Werkgem, Dubbel Nederlands. Dordrecht: ICG, 1994.
  • 'Senex: een case-study uit de oudheid', in G. Bakkum et al., eds., Pentecostalia. Bundel ter gelegenheid van de vijftigste verjaardag van Harm Pinkster (Amsterdam, 1992), 23-32.


  • Review of Andrew M. Devine & Laurence Stephens, Discontinuous Syntax, CW 94 (2001): 408-409.
  • Review of Karin Kulneff-Eriksson, On 'have' in Ancient Greek, in BMCR 1999.11.25.
  • Review of Eleanor Dickey, Greek Forms of Address, in BMCR 1997.11.09.


  • Introductory Greek
  • Greek Prose Composition
  • Accelerated Introductory Greek
  • Greek Prose Survey
  • Herodotus
  • Study Abroad Program in Athens