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

£23.99

Part of Cambridge Classical Studies

  • Date Published: July 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107503403

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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.

    • Proposes new ways of understanding the evidence for language contact in the ancient world
    • Places the languages of Southern Italy in context, including a synthesis of the history of Southern Italy from 800–80 BC not available anywhere else
    • Explains the linguistic background to bilingualism and language contact for the non-specialist reader
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume is the first thorough study on the interaction between Oscan and Greek based on the written evidence, but it can also be regarded as an up-to-date collection of the South Oscan inscriptions … We believe that this book will be a reference work for anyone interested either in South Oscan epigraphy or in language contact phenomena of the ancient world.' Manuela Anelli, Ancient History Bulletin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107503403
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 139 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 26 b/w illus. 4 maps 28 tables
    • availability: Available
  • 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.

  • Author

    Katherine McDonald, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
    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.

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