Oscan in Southern Italy and Sicily: Evaluating Language Contact in a Fragmentary Corpus

Oscan in Southern Italy and Sicily: Evaluating Language Contact in a Fragmentary Corpus

by Katherine McDonald


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In pre-Roman Italy and Sicily, dozens of languages and writing systems competed and interacted, and bilingualism was the norm. Using frameworks from epigraphy, archaeology and the sociolinguistics of language contact, this book explores the relationship between Greek and Oscan, two of the most widely spoken languages in the south of the peninsula. Dr McDonald undertakes a new analysis of the entire corpus of South Oscan texts written in Lucania, Bruttium and Messana, including dedications, curse tablets, laws, funerary texts and graffiti. She demonstrates that genre and domain are critical to understanding where and when Greek was used within Oscan-speaking communities, and how ancient bilinguals exploited the social meaning of their languages in their writing. This book also offers a cutting-edge example of how to build the fullest possible picture of bilingualism in fragmentary languages across the ancient world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107503403
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 07/11/2018
Series: Cambridge Classical Studies
Pages: 326
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Katherine McDonald is Research Fellow in Classics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and an affiliated postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC-funded project 'Greek in Italy'. Her current research interests include the Italic languages, ancient bilingualism, personal names, and gender linguistics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Bilingualism and language contact in written texts; 3. Alphabets, orthography and epigraphy; 4. Dedicatory inscriptions; 5. Curse tablets; 6. Legal and official texts; 7. Shorter texts: funerary inscriptions, graffiti and signatures; 8. Conclusions; Appendix 1. Datings of inscriptions; Appendix 2. Catalogue of sites.

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