Bilingualism and the Latin Language by J. N. Adams

By J. N. Adams

This e-book bargains systematically with communique difficulties within the Roman global the place a number of languages except Latin and Greek have been spoken. How did the Romans converse with their topics within the remoter elements of the Empire? What linguistic rules did they pursue? Differing kinds of bilingualism constructed, which had an important impact at the method the Romans and their matters notion, spoke and wrote. quite a lot of cultural, ancient and linguistic questions in regards to the various advancements in bilingualism are addressed.

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Cicero was also capable of writing an artificial literary Greek, as he did in two letters to Atticus apparently as a form of coding (see above, n. ). .  Introduction knowledge of individuals . . ’ It emerges from this section that, while anecdotal evidence concerning the bilingualism of the Roman e´ lite has its interest, it is difficult to interpret, because tendentious assertions cannot always be distinguished from objective linguistic statements. It seems to me pointless to engage in a debate about the extent and quality of e´ lite Roman bilingualism.

It would be wrong though to ascribe this Ciceronian ideal of achieving correctness in one’s Greek to Cato as well, on the basis of a well-known story. The fact that Cato rebuked A. Postumius Albinus for inserting in the preface of his Greek history an apology for any errors which he might have committed in Greek (Plb. , Plut. ) does not permit the conclusion that it was Cato’s view that ‘Romans who try their hand at writing Greek should do so at least as well as the Greeks themselves’ (so Gruen (: )).

At least one of the freedmen in Petronius (Hermeros) speaks a form of Latin which must have been meant to suggest a Greek or bilingual background.  In epitaphs, particularly but not exclusively from Rome, it is not uncommon for a Latin text to be either preceded or followed by a Greek tag, the tag generally having formulaic status in Greek epitaphs; conversely, a Greek text may have a Latin tag or formula. ) single-word exclamations (the latter requiring no competence in the second language whatsoever), and for that reason it might be felt that tags should be classified as ‘inter-sentential’ switches (for which see below), but I include them here because they are so distinctive in type and in their placement.

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