The ancient Greek address system and some proposed sociolinguistic universals
University of Exeter. At the time of publication, the author was at the University of Ottawa
Language in Society
Cambridge University Press
This article summarizes the results of a longer study of address forms in Ancient Greek, based on 11,891 address tokens from a variety of sources. It argues that the Greek evidence appears to contradict two tendencies, found in address forms in other languages, which have been claimed as possible sociolinguistic universals: the tendency toward T/V distinctions, and the principle that “What is new is polite.” It is suggested that these alleged universals should perhaps be re-examined in light of the Greek evidence, and that ancient languages in general have more to contribute to sociolinguistics than is sometimes realized.
© 1997 Cambridge University Press