Domenica Romagno

Sociolinguistic variation and diachronic evidence: A case of Laconian rhotacization in the Lysistrata

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In the present paper, we discuss the debated evidence of the rhotacization of s in Aristophanes and its relationship with the Spartan inscriptions dated to the 2nd century A.D. We advance the hypothesis that the Laconian rhotacization of s dates back to the 5th century B.C., but had a low diastratic status and was, therefore, excluded from written language until it was revived in the Hellenistic period. The present paper shows how the dynamics of sociolinguistic dimensions may shed light on both historical patterns of language and philological disputes.

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