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Matthew Scarborough on the Language of the Macedonians

Matthew Scarborough: The Language of the Macedonians
When May 21, 2014
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where Room G.21
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cf. Part II Paper E2 Alexander's Legacy: Greek as a World Language

The nature of the language of the Macedonians has been an intensely debated question in recent years. This question is of particular interest for this history of the Ancient Greek dialects; the koiné spread far beyond the borders of Greece through the Macedonian conquests, but very little is known about the local varieties of speech used in the Macedonian kingdom itself prior to the campaigns of Alexander. Several glosses and personal names attributed to Ancient Macedonian are transmitted from antiquity, but official and private inscriptions from the kingdom of Macedon are only attested in the internationalised 'Great Attic' koiné. Numerous proposals have been suggested over the years that characterise the language of the Macedonians variously as an Indo-European language closely related to Greek, a Greek dialect heavily influenced by a 'Balkan' substrate language, possibly related to Phrygian, or a highly aberrant Greek dialect. Up until recently very little progress had been made on the question of the language of the Macedonians, however the recent find and publication of a curse tablet from Pella that may represent the first authentic 'Macedonian' text has reopened much of the speculation on this topic.

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