41-50 of 64 Results  for:

  • Linguistics x
Clear all

Article

R. H. Robins

Analogy and anomaly were the titles of two themes in the investigation of the Greek and Latin languages in the classical era. They turned on the question, to what extent can regularity (analogia, analogy) be recognized in rules and classes (e.g. scribo:scribens (I write, writing); lego:legens (I read, reading); equus (one horse), equi (more than one)) and how far must exceptions (anomalia, anomaly) be accepted (e.g. bonus, melior, optimus (good, better, best); Zeús, Zēnós (Zeus, of Zeus); Athēnai, formally plural, the city of Athens). In part this related to the contemporaneous discussion on the natural or the conventional origin of language.The topic arose in the Greek world in Hellenistic times, and was part of the context in which grammatical science itself developed. The Stoics (see stoicism), especially *Chrysippus and *Crates (3), favoured anomaly, and the Alexandrian scholars argued for analogy in the establishing of correct texts in the Homeric poems and in the teaching of Greek. Only on the evidence of analogies could the apparent disorderliness of language be brought into order. In an early statement on the objectives of grammar (c.

Article

Anna Morpurgo Davies

In the course of the 20th cent. new evidence emerged for a family of closely related languages attested in Anatolia (Turkey) from the 16th cent. bce and indirectly known two or three centuries earlier; the evidence for the group spans two millennia and ends with the Roman empire. The best attested language is Hittite, which was spoken by a dynasty which moved from Neša ( = Kaneš = mod. Kültepe in central Anatolia, north-east of Kayseri) to *Hattuša, modern Boğazköy or Boğazkale (east of Ankara), the future capital of the Hittite empire, which eventually dominated most of Anatolia and part of Syria (see hittites). The word nešili, literally ‘in the language of Neša’, means ‘in Hittite’, while Hittite (our term is based on a biblical form) was originally derived from the name of the previous non-Indo-European inhabitants of the area, the Hatti. The Boğazköy archives yielded a very large number of *cuneiform tablets with texts (historical, religious, etc.

Article

Aramaic  

J. F. Healey

Aramaic, a *Semitic language, was used in the ancient near east from early in the 1st millennium bce and through the Roman period. Originating in upper Mesopotamia, it is first known through royal inscriptions from Syria and was used widely by the Assyrian and Persian administrations (note the *Elephantine papyri). After the fall of the Persian empire Aramaic continued to be used in the Hellenizing cities (see hellenism) of *Palmyra, *Edessa, *Petra, etc. , as well as in the *Parthian east (see hatra). There are many Greek–Aramaic bilingual inscriptions, the best known being the long Palmyrene Tariff. The Edessan dialect of Aramaic, later called Syriac, became the main language of the Christian Church of the middle east. Another late dialect of Aramaic, Mandaic, was used for the sacred writings of the Gnostic pagan sect of the Mandaeans or Sabians in southern Iraq. Modern dialects survive in southeast Turkey/northern Iraq and north of Damascus.

Article

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Archaism is the employment of obsolete or obsolescent diction intended as such (not the conservative retention of the language with which one grew up, nor the colloquial preservation of expressions eliminated from literary use). Its normal tendency, reinforced by Roman respect for antiquity, was to impart solemnity, even when the usage had not been solemn while still current: characteristic of epic diction ever since Livius Andronicus admitted to his Odyssia forms not found in his dramatic fragments (e.g., -ās gen., topper ‘thereupon’), it also expressed the mock-grandeur of the Plautine slave (see plautus), and became a feature of historical prose in Coelius Antipater.During the late republic, educated speech evolved so fast that the early writers’ language seemed markedly old-fashioned. The purism of Caesar and the mature Cicero excludes obsolescent usages along with the poetic or informal. This did not exclude the judicious use of an occasional archaism to confer solemnity (Cic. De or.

Article

John Penney

The Celtic branch of Indo-European is traditionally divided into Insular Celtic and Continental Celtic. The records of the Continental Celtic languages consist of names, occurring in profusion in Greek and Roman sources, and epigraphic remains from the Classical period; none of these languages can be shown to have survived beyond imperial times. The best known is Gaulish: in the Greek alphabet (borrowed from Massalia), there are funerary and votive inscriptions on stone, mainly from Gallia Narbonensis (c.200–50bce; see Gaul, transalpine) but also from central Gaul (c.100 bce–50ce), as well as graffiti on pottery. In the Latin alphabet, from the mid-1st century bce onward, from most parts of Gaul, there are inscriptions on stone and a range of other texts, including substantial fragments of a late 2nd-century bronze calendar from Coligny, a sizeable corpus of graffiti in cursive script on pottery from La Graufesenque (c.

Article

Benjamin Fortson

Cuneiform denotes any of at least three writing systems of ancient Mesopotamia and the surrounding areas. It is characterized in its classical form by signs consisting of one or more wedge-shaped strokes (cf. Latin cuneus, “wedge”). The first such script to emerge, and the one most widely used, was Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform, which developed in what is now southern Iraq in the late 4th millennium bce. Its antecedents were more primitive methods of mercantile record-keeping using pictograms and tally marks. The earliest stages of the script contained patently pictographic signs drawn in clay with a pointed stylus. A later shift to the use of a reed with the end cut at an oblique angle produced the classic wedge-shaped impressions. The breaking-up of images into sets of wedges together with a gradual reduction in the number of strokes plus a ninety-degree rotation of the signs increased their abstractness and elevated the wedges (initially just an accidental byproduct of the writing technology) to an important design element. It became aesthetically prized in its own right and was carried over onto other media such as stone. The wedges were also imitated in the two other unrelated scripts that are also called cuneiform: Old Persian and Ugaritic.

Article

Robert Maltby

Etymology in the ancient world was always closely connected with questions concerning the ultimate origin of language. Was the sound of a word merely a matter of convention (the theory of nomos), or was there some natural relationship between the sign and the thing signified (the theory of physis)? In general the latter view prevailed. The popular assumption that the study of a name could reveal τῸ ἔτυμον, ‘the truth’, about the thing accounts for the importance attached to etymology in ancient thought and literature. But as the ancients had little understanding of comparative philology, in practice their etymologies never attained any degree of accuracy.Etymology based on the belief in the significance of names begins with the poets. So *Homer associates the name of *Odysseus with ὀδύρομαι, ‘to grieve’ (Od. 1. 55), and ὀδύσσομαι, ‘to hate’ (Od. 1. 62), and plays on the literal meanings of such compound names as *Astyanax and *Telemachus.

Article

Jay H. Jasanoff

The Germanic languages constitute one of the ten major branches of the Indo-European family. Proto-Germanic, the inferred common parent of the group, was a sister language to Proto-Greek, Proto-Italic, Proto-Indo-Iranian, and other descendants of Proto-Indo-European, which is presumed to have been spoken around 4000bce. Proto-Germanic probably remained a fairly homogeneous speech community until the last four or five centuries before the beginning of the Common Era, when it divided into East and Northwest Germanic dialects; the latter subsequently split into North and West Germanic. The early Germanic peoples were illiterate at this time, so our knowledge of Proto-Germanic is based entirely on comparative reconstruction. Since all the early Germanic languages are still fairly close, however, the sounds and forms of Proto-Germanic are recoverable with reasonable accuracy.The earliest and most archaic Germanic language of which we have extensive remains is Gothic, the only attested representative of the East Germanic dialect group. Our knowledge of Gothic is almost entirely based on the Bible translation made around the middle of the 4th century by the Arian Gothic bishop Wulfila.

Article

R. A. Kaster

The Romans came to study their own language only late, under the impulse of Hellenistic philosophy; the Greek influence was permanent and is clearly indicated by the calques that constitute much of Latin grammatical terminology (e.g. casus∼πτῶσις, coniugatio∼συζυγία). It was the doctrine of the Stoics—represented by the τέχνη περὶ φωνῆς, as part of the theory of ‘dialectic’—that provided the most important model for Roman handbooks. The surviving examples, which include short ‘school grammars’ and massive treatises, generally have three main sections: (a) introductory definitions of essential concepts (e.g. vox, littera, syllaba); (b) an analysis of the parts of speech; and (c) a survey of ‘flaws’ and ‘virtues’ (vitia et virtutes orationis: probably not part of the Stoic legacy). When fully expanded, section (b) treated each part of speech according to its attributes: nomina (nouns and adjectives) according to qualitas (‘proper’ or ‘appellative’), genus ( = gender), figura (simple or compound, e.

Article

Carlo de Simone

At present it is not possible to give a linguistic definition of ‘Illyrian’, a term which has often been used to indicate the languag (s) anciently spoken in the Balkan peninsula (excluding Greek). There are no inscriptions written in ‘Illyrian’. Consequently the features of the ‘Illyrian’ language have been puzzled out (and genetically defined) merely on the basis of personal names and place names from the Balkans; on this basis *Messapic has also been derived from ‘Illyrian’. Yet it is impossible to reconstruct a historical language, with all its complex phonological and morphological structure, merely from onomastic data. The main exponent of ‘Illyrianism’ was the German scholar H. Krahe, who defined as ‘Illyrian’ a vast onomastic complex spread through the whole Balkan peninsula. Krahe himself, however, explicitly recognized (in 1956) that this position was not tenable, thus opening the way to further work. Later scholars (J. Untermann, R. Katičić, C. de Simone) introduced a concept of an ‘onomastic region’ (Namengebiet) which is not based on etymological assumptions.