Code Switching in Cicero’s Letters to Atticus

  • Mateja Počkaj
Keywords: Cicero's Letters to Atticus, code switching in Latin


The paper explores the phenomenon of code switching in Latin, focusing on Cicero’s letters to Atticus. Far from being a recent development, bilingualism is attested by many literary or non-literary documents dating back to classical antiquity. The proof of the continuous contacts between Greek and Latin, as the most widespread and best documented languages in the then-known world, is a number of written sources providing information on the position, importance, and prestige of each language across the various social strata of classical society. An interesting case of borrowing between the two languages is code switching, best exemplified by Cicero’s literary heritage, in particular the corpus of his private correspondence. For Cicero, Greek is a sign of intimacy with his correspondent (most frequently his friend Atticus), proof of his own cultural superiority and education, as well as a means of distancing himself from his statements. Bilingualism and code switching in Cicero’s select letters are discussed from the modern perspective on these phenomena.


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How to Cite
Počkaj, Mateja. 2018. “Code Switching in Cicero’s Letters to Atticus”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 20 (1), 5-30.