Linguistica Berolinensia
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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It has been the main interest of numerous studies in modern linguistics, in particular since the 1980s, to analyse gender-specific language and modes of communication. However, the vast majority of these contributions completely ignores the fact that some ancient authors already raised the problem of gender-specific language and thus made at least a first step towards a diaphasic sketch of the linguistic levels and varieties of both Greek and Latin. The ancient sources on women’s language are admittedly not very ample and, moreover, rather scattered. It is the aim of this contribution to bring together relevant metalinguistic passages and provide a close reading in order to obtain a more differentiated impression of the ancients’ views on gender-specific language and style. It is highlighted that differences are pointed out by ancient authors not only in pragmatic respects, but also for the phonological, morphological and lexico-semantic levels. The focus is on excerpts from Plato, Aristophanes, Roman comedy and rhetorical writings, but further (sometimes indirect) sources are also included. The final part of this contribution considers the evidence on “women’s speech” in Giovanni Boccaccio’s treatise De mulieribus claris.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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