Linguistic Interaction in Roman Comedy

Linguistic Interaction in Roman Comedy

by Peter Barrios-Lech


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This book presents a comprehensive account of features of Latin that emerge from dialogue: commands and requests, command softeners and strengtheners, statement hedges, interruptions, attention-getters, greetings and closings. In analyzing these features, Peter Barrios-Lech employs a quantitative method and draws on all the data from Roman comedy and the fragments of Latin drama. In the first three parts, on commands and requests, particles, attention-getters and interruptions, the driving questions are firstly - what leads the speaker to choose one form over another? And secondly - how do the playwrights use these features to characterize on the linguistic level? Part IV analyzes dialogues among equals and slave speech, and employs data-driven analyses to show how speakers enact roles and construct relationships with each other through conversation. The book will be important to all scholars of Latin, and especially to scholars of Roman drama.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107129825
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/26/2016
Pages: 410
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Peter Barrios-Lech is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Besides teaching Latin and Greek, and courses in Greek and Roman civilization, he co-directs the Conventiculum Bostoniense, a week-length program in spoken Latin which attracts graduate students, professors, high-school students and Latin enthusiasts from around the country. He has published articles on the language of Plautus and Terence and is currently working on a book on Greek New Comedy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Part I. The Latin Directive: Introduction to Part I; 2. The moods of command – imperatives and subjunctives; 3. Prohibitions in Early Latin; 4. Indirect requests – questions and statements; 5. The 'can you' request and others; Conclusion to Part I; Part II. Interactional Particles in Roman Comedy: 6. How to soften a command; 7. How to strengthen a command; 8. How to soften a statement in Latin; Part III. Structuring Conversation: 9. Interruptions and attention-getters; 10. Openings and closings in Roman comedy; Conclusion to Parts I-III: summary of findings; Part IV. Interpreting Interactions in Roman Comedy: 11. Discourse in Roman comedy; 12. Role shifts, speech shifts; Appendix 1. Speech and character types in Roman comedy; Appendix 2. About the directive database; Appendix 3. Politeness phenomena in Roman comedy.

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