Dialect in Aristophanes: The Politics of Language in Ancient Greek Literature

Hardcover | September 1, 1998

byStephen Colvin

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Did the Greeks find it amusing, irritating or threatening when they heard another Greek speaking in a different dialect? Were they rude or tolerant when they heard Persians or Scythians speaking fractured Greek? And what about low-class varieties of the Greek spoken in the docks of Piraeus?Our evidence for the sociolinguistic culture of the ancient world is sadly limited, and modern linguistic assumptions and prejudices are often unconsciously projected onto old and alien cultures. This book exploits the evidence of ancient Greek comedy in an attempt to answer some of the questionsabout language attitude which are important for understanding ancient ideas about language and ethnicity. Conclusions are based on a comparative study of the language of dialect speaking characters and other foreigners in Old Comedy, and on an examination of linguistic attitudes in other genres ofGreek literature.

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Did the Greeks find it amusing, irritating or threatening when they heard another Greek speaking in a different dialect? Were they rude or tolerant when they heard Persians or Scythians speaking fractured Greek? And what about low-class varieties of the Greek spoken in the docks of Piraeus?Our evidence for the sociolinguistic culture...

Stephen Colvin is at Yale University.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198152493

ISBN - 13:9780198152491

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`a wide range of readers will find both pleasure and profit here ... excellent book ... presented clearly, fairly and scrupulously, with learning and documentation'W de Brummond, CHOICE Vol 37 no 7 March 2000