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Language Attitudes and Social Connotations in Jerome and Sidonius Apollinaris

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Jerome of Stridon and Sidonius Apollinaris, two authors particularly sensitive to languages and linguistic differences, frequently evaluate the correctness, adequacy, and aesthetic qualities of ‘classical’ Latin on the one hand, and of ‘foreign’ or ‘barbarian’ languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, or ‘Germanic’) on the other. They also evaluate variation within the Latin language, mostly in a negative way. In this paper, I look at Jerome’s and Sidonius’ evaluative statements about languages and language varieties from the sociolinguistic perspective of language attitude research. I start by defining the concepts of ‘language attitude’ and ‘social connotations hypothesis’, and then proceed to the analysis of linguistic evaluations in Jerome’s and Sidonius’ works. In accordance with the social connotations hypothesis, I argue that these evaluations about languages or language varieties are strongly biased by the socio-cultural stereotypes the authors hold about the speakers of these languages or language varieties.

Affiliations: 1: KU Leuven – Faculty of Arts – Research Unit French, Italian and Comparative LinguisticsBlijde Inkomststraat 21 bus 3308, B-3000


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