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Bilingualism in Ancient SocietyLanguage Contact and the Written Text$
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J. N. Adams, Mark Janse, and Simon Swain

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245062

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245062.001.0001

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Bilingualism at Delos

Bilingualism at Delos

(p.103) 5 Bilingualism at Delos
Bilingualism in Ancient Society


Oxford University Press

In the second century BC, a substantial number of Italian and Greek traders of comparable status came together on the island of Delos, setting up a potential competition between the two public languages on a roughly equal footing. This chapter deals with questions of linguistic identity, that is, the perception which the negotiatores had of themselves and the part played by bilingualism and language choice in the establishment of identities. Other issues, more technical or linguistic, are also considered, such as the distinction between interference, code-switching, and accommodation. Code-switching is a speaker’s switch from time to time into another’s language as an act of solidarity or politeness. There are inscriptions in which the adoption by a Greek of the Latin pattern of filiation may be seen as a form of accommodation.

Keywords:   bilingualism, Delos, language choice, linguistic identity, interference, code-switching, accommodation, Greek, Latin

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