Greek and Latin Linguistics: The Pragmatic Stylistics of Classical Historiography

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Doel vak

Students will be introduced to current views on discoure pragmatics and
narrative style, and on the relationship between these two approaches.
will be trained in those forms of close reading that elucidate the
structure (and meaning) of complex sentences and texts.
The aims of this course are that students
(i) learn to recognize various ‘narrative styles’ and to analyze them in
terms of relevant pragmatic properties, and
(ii) develop a more precise awareness of the ways in which pragmatics
and stylistics contribute to the narrative ‘meaning’ of historiographic
In addition, they will be trained in corpus research, advanced academic
presentation and critical debate.

Inhoud vak

In recent studies in the field of Greek and Latin linguistics, much
attention has been paid to discourse pragmatic aspects of texts, such as
use of tenses, word order, referential systems, and sentence complexity,
while in the past most of these textual properties – and above all
sentence structure - were treated in terms of stylistics.
Every week, we will discuss in a first seminar recent literature that
supports and elaborates (especially) the former, discourse linguistic
type of approach, both for Greek and Latin. In a second weekly seminar
we will apply the discourse pragmatic insights thus introduced to
analyze and interpret passages from various Greek and Latin
historiographic (and incidentally also other) authors, mainly Thucydides
and Tacitus, as well as Herodotus and Livy.
The analysis of discourse pragmatic style will involve close reading of
these texts, with special attention to discourse linguistic aspects of
passages at hand. In preparing the seminars, students will hand in in
advance critical questions and observations about the texts under
discussion. On the basis of the questions and observations, the students
will take turns in preparing, organizing and presiding over the
discussions in the seminars.
They will round of the course by a small individual research, the
results of which will be orally presented in the last week of the


Seminar: 2 x 2 hours per week (both involve both Greek and latin)


Students conclude the seminar with a small scale discourse pragmatic
research, pertaining either to Greek or to Latin. This will involve:
- a written research abstract (around week 6);
- oral presentation, on the basis of an extended hand out (week 8)

Students are, furthermore, expected to hand in observations and
questions with respect to the primary and secondary sources which they
prepare for each class. In addition, each
of them will organize and preside over two discussion sessions. Both
activities will be graded and students will receive oral and written
feed back on these activities.

Vereiste voorkennis

Bachelor degree Griekse en Latijnse taal en cultuur, Latijnse taal en
cultuur or Ancient Studies (with Greek and/or Latin)


Syllabus (on blackboard)


MA Students in Classics and Ancient Civilaztions, Classics program
MA Students in Classics and Ancient Civilaztions, Ancient studies
program with either Greek or Latin
Research Master student Ancient Civilizations, with a BA-level
acquaintance with Greek and/or Latin
Educational MA students in Classics

Overige informatie

Students who have been trained in only one of the two languages involved
will be offered sufficient material to focus their attention on that
language only (usually Latin, but Greek is also possible), and devote
their assignments, research and presentation to texts written in that
language. Core texts in the other language will be offered in
translation and/or alternative texts and assignments will be available.

This module is taught at the UvA by mw. dr. R. Risselada and dr. mr.
R.J. Allan (UvA subject code 172411426Y).
Registration at UvA is required. Please note that course registration
periods at the UvA and VU differ. For a ‘step-by-step guide to course
and exam registration’ and the ‘dates for course and exam registration’
please consult the ‘course and exam registration’-page via the ‘A-Z
list’ of your MA programme on

Aanbevolen voorkennis

Students should be acquainted with the genre conventions of Ancient
historiography and have some experience in (close) reading of Greek
and/or Latin historiographic prose.

Algemene informatie

Vakcode L_AAMAOHS044
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P2
Vakniveau 400
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Vakcoördinator dr. R. Risselada
Examinator dr. R. Risselada
Docenten dr. mr. R.J. Allan
dr. R. Risselada

Praktische informatie

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