The Languages of Aristophanes: Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Classical Attic Greek (Oxford Classical Monographs)
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By examining linguistic variation in Aristophanic comedy, Andreas Willi opens up a new perspective on intra-dialectal diversity in Classical Attic Greek. A representative range of registers, technical languages, sociolects, and (comic) idiolects is described and analyzed. Stylistic and statistical observations are combined and supplemented by typological comparisons with material drawn from sociolinguistic research on modern languages. The resulting portrayal of the Attic dialect deepens our understanding of various socio-cultural phenomena reflected in Aristophanes' work.
mentioned in section 2.1 that a full description of a linguistic register should also point out how much internal variation the register allows, i.e. how broad the range of linguistic register features is, and how much standardization has taken place. This question is difficult to answer in a highly selective register study like the present one, in particular since our corpus includes parodic material. However, a short cut based on typological considerations may give us some clues. It has been
structure of -rrepicppovw makes it easy enough for the audience to infer the (invented) technical meaning. In Nub. 638-45, 651-3, and 659-61 Strepsiades does not know the metrical and grammatical meanings of p-Vpov 'metre', • 'trimeter/tetrameter', 8a«TuAos 'dactyl', and 'masculine'. The audience, on the other hand, is expected to be acquainted with the special reference of these words, so that one may hesitate to classify them as technical. In the case of fxeVpov it is particularly obvious that
the comic cosmogony in Birds, according to which TSptos 'Love' mixes together everything (Av. 700 awe^ei^v a-navTa) so that new beings come into life; the work of "Eptos here corresponds to the uniting and creative force of &MTTJS 'Love' in Empedocles.24 Whether the cuWpos Sivai mentioned in another Empedoclean fragment (31 B 115) are thought of as parts of the all-embracing cosmic 8iV>? is doubtful. Still, the wording is surprisingly close to Aristophanes' aiWpios Sfvos, not least because the
expression fvf\vpa nOeVcu is avoided. It would be bold to infer from Sophron that fifth-century 63 Arist. HA 538bi2—15; Ar. Thesm. 267-8 (where ™ ifSf-y^an •yvvaiKi^etv 'to put on a woman's voice' probably refers to the pitch of the voice); McClure (1999) 38-9; for the question of falsetto voices cf. Taaffe (1993) 105; Vetta (1993) 716; Thesm. 192 (Agathon is ywaiK-dycuro? 'female-voiced'). Female Speech 173 Athenians, too, regarded women's speech as simple or grammatically incorrect, but
opposites as secondary [—x] even when they are not linguistically marked: 'not good' is less likely to be felt as a litotic or indirect expression than 'not bad'. Probably our perception has something to do with frequency. Since oAi'yoi 'few' is a common word itself, ov 77-oAAoi 'not many' is more readily perceived as an indirect expression. Similarly, ov SiVcuoy 'not just" can easily function as an indirect expression because it is synonymous with the well-established aStKos 'unjust'. In the