The ancient Greek and Byzantine notion of <italic>dialektos</italic>

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By studying the different definitions from the Hellenistic era up to Byzantine times, the present paper aims at contributing to tracing the vicissitudes of the term dialektos – and the concept intertwined with it; for this aspect as yet lacks an extensive and systematic treatment. In particular, it shows that Hellenistic authors conceived of dialektos as an ethnically and/or a diatopically restricted speech form, as an anomalous variety of the koinè, and/or as a speech form vaguely characterized by a certain ‘peculiarity’. Later on, Byzantine authors both adopted and enriched this tradition. The pivotal role of the widely used image of kharaktèr also receives attention.


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