Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language and Civilization

Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language and Civilization

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The source and nature of earliest speech and civilization are puzzles which have intrigued people for many centuries. This study explores ancient Greek views on the source and nature of the world's first society and first language. Two of the book's chapters are based on close readings of passages in Homer and Herodotus, while the remaining chapters are broader surveys of a variety of Greek literary texts. Topics covered include the nature of the language used both by men and animals in the idyllic golden age, accounts of humans' ascent to civilized life and their acquisition of language, and exotic creatures and peoples who have only limited linguistic capacities. Discussions of Enlightenment thinkers and modern theories of glottogenesis and language acquisition set Greek assumptions in a wider perspective.

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  • Hardback | 268 pages
  • 144.8 x 218.4 x 20.3mm | 385.56g
  • 11 Dec 2003
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 0199256160
  • 9780199256167

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Author Information

Deborah Levine Gera is Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Classics Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Review quote

Review from other book by this author this is a lively and interesting book, and one more widely informative than its title might suggest...I have to admit that I myself have never yet read more than the odd bit of it. Nevertheless this lucid and lively book succeeds in leaving me with the strong feeling that, by not reading more, I am missing a rare treat. Greece and Rome ...it contains much that is worth reading. I myself found a number of points at which useful and enlightening information was presented. Antony G Keen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 4.6 1993 G.'s exploration of the Cyropaedia provides a different and richly documented mode of reading Xenophon's most ambitious work. Philip A. Stadter, University of North Carolina, Chapel HIll, The Classical Review, Vol. XLIV, No. 2, 1994 this immensely learned and well-organised book will be indispensable. Journal of Hellenic Studies

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