A first approach to ἡμεῖς in place of ἐγώ in Sophocles and Euripides: a deactualising device and expression of self-dignity

Author: Conti, Luz
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2021, vol. 26, iss. 1, pp. 23-35
Extent
23-35
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
Abstract(s)
This paper focuses on the use of ἡμεῖς in place of ἐγώ in Eurpides' Alcestis, Electra, and Medea and Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus and Philoctetes. As the data reveal, ἡμεῖς functions as a strategy to both reinforce the speaker's I and blur the identity of the person or group associated with the speaker. Contrary to the claim of some scholars, ἡμεῖς does not seem to be particularly connected with female speech. In the analysed tragedies, ἡμεῖς tends to co-occur with expressions of non-actuality and may be interpreted as a deactualising device. Furthermore, the use of ἡμεῖς is linked to a pragmatic meaning of self-dignity.
Note
  • This paper was written in the framework of the research project "Cortesía y descortesía verbal en el diálogo literario del griego antiguo" (PGC2018-093779-BI00).
Document
References:
[1] Battezzato, L. (Ed.). (2018). Euripides: Hecuba . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2] Bond, G. W. (Ed.). (1981). Euripides: Heracles . Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[3] Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness. Some Universals in Language Usage . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[4] Bruno, C. (2017). Dietro la maschera. Apparizioni della prima persona nell'Antigone di Sofocle In P. Poccetti, & F. Logozzo (Eds.), Ancient Greek Linguistics: New Approaches, Insights, Perspectives (pp. 49‒63). Berlin ‒ Boston: De Gruyter.

[5] Clark, H., & Carlson, Th. (1982). Hearers and Speech Acts . Language, 58(2), 332–373. | DOI 10.1353/lan.1982.0042

[6] Conti, L. (forthcoming). Solidarity and Power: First-Person Plural Forms in The Iliad . In G. Giannakis, E. Crespo, & J. de la Villa (Eds.), Classical Philology and Historical Linguistics. Berlin ‒ Boston: De Gruyter.

[7] Culpeper, J., & Qian, K. (2020). Communicative Styles, Rapport, and Student Engagement: An Online Peer Mentoring Scheme . Applied Linguistics, 41(5), 756–786 [retrieved 02.04.2021 from https://academic.oup.com/applij/article/41/5/756/5529176]. | DOI 10.1093/applin/amz035

[8] Cysouw, M. (2005). A typology of honorific uses of clusivity . In E. Filimonova (Ed.), Clusivity: Typology and case studies of the inclusive‒exclusive distinction (pp. 213–230). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

[9] Daniel, M. (2005). Understanding inclusive . In E. Filimonova (Ed.), Clusivity: Typology and case studies of the inclusive‒exclusive distinction (pp. 3–48). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

[10] De Jong, I. (1991). Narrative in Drama, The Art of the Euripidean Messenger-Speech . Leiden ‒ New York: Brill.

[11] Haugh, M. (2010). Respect and deference . In M. A. Locher, & S. L. Graham (Eds.), Interpersonal Pragmatics (pp. 271–288). Berlin ‒ New York: De Gruyter.

[12] Helmbrecht, J. (2002). Grammar and function of we . In A. Duszak (Ed.), Us and Others. Social identities across languages, discourses and cultures (pp. 31‒49). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

[13] Helmbrecht, J. (2015). A typology of non-prototypical uses of personal pronouns: Synchrony and diachrony . Journal of Pragmatics, 88, 176‒189. | DOI 10.1016/j.pragma.2014.10.004

[14] Ide, S. (2005). How and why honorifics can signify dignity and elegance . In R. Lakoff, & S. Ide (Eds.), Broadening the Horizons of Linguistic Politeness (pp. 45–64). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

[15] Kerbrat-Orecchioni, C. (2004). Il fait vraiment chaud aujourd' hui! Vous voulez boire quelque chose? Le 'travail des faces' dans l' echange initie par une offre . In A. Auchlin et al. (Eds.), Structures et discours. Mélanges offerts à Eddy Roulet (pp. 417‒432). Québec: Éditions Nota bene.

[16] Kühner, R., & Gerth, B. (1898). Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (Teil 1). Hannover ‒ Leipzig: Hahn.

[17] Lloyd, M. (2006). Sophocles in the Light of Face-Threat Politeness Theory . In I. de Jong, & A. Rijksbaron (Eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Language. Aspects of Diction, Syntax and Pragmatics (pp. 225‒240). Leiden ‒ Boston: Brill.

[18] Mc Clure, L. (1995). Female Speech and Characterization in Euripides . In F. de Martino, & A. H. Sommerstein (Eds.), Lo spettacolo delle voci (pp. 35–60). Bari: Levante.

[19] Meluzzi, Ch. (2016). Pragmatic use of Ancient Greek pronouns in two communicative frameworks . International Pragmatics Association, 26(3), 447‒471. | DOI 10.1075/prag.26.3.05meh

[20] Pieroni, S. (2010). 'Nos' as expression of the 'ego' in Cicero's Letters to Atticus (books I‒IV). In P. Anreiter, & M. Kienpointner (Eds.), Latin Linguistics Today: Akten des 15. Internationalen Kolloquiums zur Lateinischen Linguistik, Innsbruck, 4‒9. April 2009 (pp. 595‒607). Innsbruck: Institut für Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck.

[21] Schwyzer, E., & Debrunner, A. (1950). Griechische Grammatik (Abt. II, Teil 1, Bd. 2). München: Beck.

[22] Searle, J. (1975). A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts . In K. Gunderson (Ed.), Language, Mind, and Knowledge (pp. 344–369). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[23] Siewierska, A. (2004). Person . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[24] Slotty, F. (1927a). Der sog. Pluralis modestiae . Indogermanische Forschungen, 44, 155‒190. | DOI 10.1515/if-1927-0128

[25] Slotty, F. (1927b). Die Stellung des Griechischen und anderer idg. Sprachen zu dem soziativen und affektivischen Gebrauch des Plurals der ersten Person . Indogermanische Forschungen, 45, 348‒362. | DOI 10.1515/if-1927-0197

[26] Sommerstein, A. H. (2009). The language of Athenian women . In Idem (Ed.), Talking about Laughter and Other Studies in Greek Comedy (pp. 15‒42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[27] Wackernagel, J. (1924). Vorlesungen über Syntax: mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Griechisch, Lateinisch und Deutsch (Vol. 1). Basel: Kommissionsverlag von Emil Birkhäuser.

[28] Willi, A. (2003). The Languages of Aristophanes . Oxford: Oxford University Press.