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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates Latin inscriptions that contain linguistic features which appear to stem from popular, as opposed to elite, usage and are rarely, if ever, found in Roman literary authors, unless these were explicitly seeking to mimic uneducated, semi-literate, or moronic people’s speech. Topics treated include: diastratic, diaphasic, and diatopic varieties of Latin, the now contested concept of “Vulgar Latin,” and the phonology, morphology, and syntax and semantics of such Latin inscriptions. The chapter traces the broader use of the Latin language than that found in the literary corpus and thus widens our understanding of what may be considered “standard” Latin.

Keywords: inscriptions, Latin, linguistic variation, diastratic variety, diaphasic variety, diatopic variety, Latin phonology, Latin morphology, Latin syntax, semantics, colloquial Latin, linguistics, magical language, “Vulgar Latin”

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