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CLU44485 Informal Latin

This module is about the relationship between literary and spoken Latin. Classical Latin has been codified through authoritative literary models; but what variations existed between speakers across social levels and over time and space? We will explore the concept of linguistic register, the importance of context in oral and written communication, and the effect of Latin ‘errors’ on modern languages. We will read literary texts that present features normally stigmatized as substandard, sometimes for literary effect – such as the language of freedmen in Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis –, sometimes as evidence of the diversification of Latin beyond codified classical norms – such as informal letters and curse tablets, Pompeian graffiti, papyri and inscriptions from both centre and periphery of the Roman empire. You will enjoy this module if you wish to expand your understanding of Latin and of the ways in which languages work in context.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Professor Anna Chahoud
  • Duration:
    • Semester 2
  • Contact Hours:
    • 22 (one 2-hr seminar per week)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 40% coursework (oral presentation and written assignment), 60% written examination
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Latin; Visiting

Learning Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Translate and critically analyse the primary Latin texts
  • Discuss the historical, social, literary and cultural context in which the primary texts were produced
  • Recognise and critically examine ‘oral’ features in written Latin texts
  • Discuss relevant key concepts in contemporary linguistic studies
  • Evaluate critical approaches to language change and sociolinguistics applied to Latin
  • Articulate well-researched critical views on the main lines of development of the Latin language across space, time and social levels
  • Formulate a well-researched argument in oral presentations and written assignments
  • Translate unseen Latin extracts of similar genre, style or content as the studied Latin texts into idiomatic English