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Female Speech in Latin Comedy

  • J.N. Adams (a1)
Extract

Evidence has been accumulating from many languages for the existence of distinctive forms of female speech. A consistently observed characteristic of women is that they are more likely than men of the same social class and age to favour usages which belong to an accepted standard or are of high prestige. Women seem to be more conservative than men. They are also widely believed to be more given to polite linguistic forms. It has, for example, been suggested that men use plain imperatives more often than women; women favour modifiers to soften the impact of an order. Numerous other female traits have been found in different languages. In English certain intonation patterns are said to be typical of women. Other pronunciation differences have been noted in various languages, such as the omission or substitution by one sex of a sound used by the other sex. Women have also been shown to differ from men in their use of such words as particles, personal pronouns, titles and kinship terms.

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1 See Trudgill, P.Sex, covert prestige and linguistic change in the urban British English of Norwich’, in Thorne, Barrie and Henley, NancyLanguage and Sex: Difference and Dominance (Rowley, Mass. 1975), 89; id. Sociolinguistics, an Introduction (Harmondsworth 1974), 90 ff.; Hudson, R.A.Sociolinguistics (Cambridge 1980), 120 f.

2 Trudgill, Sociolinguistics, loc. cit.

3 Lakoff, RobinLanguage and Woman’s Place (New York 1975), 18, 52 f., 64 ff.;Thorne, and Henley, Difference and dominance: an overview of language, gender and society’, in Thorne, and Henley, (cited above, n. 1 ), 17 f.; see also Brend, Ruth M.Male-female intonation patterns in American English’, in Thorne, and Henley, 85.

4 See Crosby, Faye and Nyquist, LindaThe female register: an empirical study of Lakoffs hypotheses’, Lang. Soc. 6 (1977), 314 f.

5 See Bodine, AnnSex differentiation in language’, in Thome, and Henley, 134 f. for a summary.

6 See Brend, in Thome and Henley, 84 ff.

7 See Bodine, in Thome and Henley, 133, 137.

8 See the summary by Bodine, in Thome and Henley, 134 f. For some alleged female words in English, see Lakoff (cited above, n. 3), 12.

9 See Thome and Henley, in Thome and Henley, 12 f.

10 In Thome and Henley, 131.

11 ‘Female speech in Greek and Latin’, AJP 101 (1980), 180 ff.

12 See Dittmar, N.Sociolinguistics, a critical survey of theory and application, translated by Sand, P.et al. (London 1976), 237.

13 Cf. Jerome Epist. 20. 5. 1: ‘sicuti nos in lingua Latina habemus et interiectiones quasdam, ut in exultando dicamus “ua” et in admirando “papae” et in dolendo “heu” et, quando silentium uolumus imperare, strictis dentibus spiritum coartamus et cogimus in sonandum “st” …’.

14 Dissolutus = laxus (cf. Pelagon. 409).

15 Brandt, P.P. Ovidi Nasonis De Arte Amatoria Libri Tres (Leipzig 1902).

16 See Adams, J.N.The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (London 1982), 217.

17 See Adams loc. Cit

18 See Adams, 5.

19 See Gilleland (note 11 above), 182. For the use of obscenities by prostitutes, see also Adams (note 16 above), 120, and for Greek words in brothel-slang, see Adams, 216. Even Roman women affected Greek words in the bedroom, if Juvenal (6. 184–99) and Martial (10. 68) are to be believed.

20 These are collected by Reich, V.Sprachliche Charakteristik bei Terenz’, WS 51 (1933) 91 ff.; cf. Gilleland, 181 n. 8.

21 See Nisbet, R.G.M. and Hubbard, MargaretA Commentary on Horace: Odes Book 1 (Oxford 1970), 89.

22 There is a possible exception at Plaut. Cist. 52 (and Woytek, E.T. Maccius Plautus, Persa, Einleitung, Text und Kommentar [Vienna 1982], 247 would introduce another at Pers. 237 by re-assigning parts). Occasionally in later Latin the oath is put into the mouths of women, as at Sen. Apoc. 3, where mehercules uttered by the goddess Clotho may have been deliberately incongruous. Similarly mediusfidius, said to be a male oath (see Hofmann, J.B.Lateinische Umgangssprache3 [Heidelberg 1951], 30), is assigned to the emancipated Quartilla at Petron. 17. 4, and perhaps to Circe at Petron. 129. 6. The oath by Hercules is also uttered by females in Apuleius (Met. 5. 9,9. 16). Apuleius elsewhere shows himself indifferent to the sex of his characters in his employment of certain sex-exclusive usages: see below, p. 52on pol, andn. 41 on heus. On the oath by Hercules see also Gilleland, 182 n. 12.

23 The topic has been discussed by Nicolson, Frank W.The use of hercle (mehercule), edepol (pol), ecastor (mecastor) by Plautus and Terence’, HSCP 4 (1893), 99 ff., and Ullman, B.L.By Castor and Pollux’, CJT (1943–4), 87 ff.

24 A table can be found in Ullman, 88; I have made only minor alterations.

25 The line-counts are mine; I do not claim absolute accuracy for them.

26 See Ullman (note 23 above), 88.

27 Again the line-counts are mine.

28 See Nicolson (note 23 above), 101 on the text at Asin. 899, 930.

29 See further Nicolson, 101 f., Ullman, 88.

30 See Lodge, G.Lexicon Plautinum (Leipzig 1924–33), 1.545 for examples; cf. Hofmann, Lateinische Umgangssprache, 26 f.

31 McGlynn, P.Lexicon Terentianum (London-Glasgow 1963–67), 2.28 mistakenly includes examples put into the mouth of the ancilla Dorias in the Eunuch in a list of instances spoken by men. Substantially correct statistics can be found in Nicolson and Ullman, though Nicolson does not make enough of the distinction between pol and edepol.

32 Andr. 808, 866, Phorm. 574, Hec. 543, 747, 772, Ad. 450.

33 Old men are given some distinctive linguistic traits by Terence: see Maltby, R.Linguistic characterization of old men in Terence’, CP 74 (1979), 136 ff.

34 Statistics can be found in Nicolson.

35 By 364:243, according to Ullman’s statistics.

36 Of the 13 instances of edepol spoken by men in Terence, 7 are in the Hecyra (83, 88, 499,623,732,786, 799), a play in which women use the word 4 times (160,274,520, 568). Half the examples in Terence are in this one (early) play. On another unusual feature of the Hecyra, see above, p. 50 (on (m)ecastor).

37 See above, n. 22, on Apuleius’ indifference to the sex of the speaker in his use of the oath by Hercules.

38 Edi medi was apparently a male oath: see Walde, A. and Hofmann,, J.B.Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch3 (Heidelberg 1938–54), 1. 389 (cf. mediusfldius, above, n. 22).

39 The dramatic date of the De Oratore was before the time of Cicero’s literary career (91 B.C.); hence this passage does not establish thatpol still had a feminine tone by the late Republic.

40 See TLL 6. 3. 2675. 9; Richter, P.De usuparticularum exclamatiuarum apud priscos scriptores latinos’, p. 576, in Studemund, W.Studien auf dem Gebiete des archaischen Lateins 1 (Berlin 1873);Hofmann, , Lateinische Umgangssprache, 16.

41 Apuleius, in keeping with his disregard for such niceties, assigns heus to women at Met. 1. 13, 1. 22, 2. 18, 8. 10. But perhaps the use of the word had changed.

42 For another possible case of a male word assigned with no apparent motive to a woman by Plautus, see above, n. 22 (cf. Nicolson, 100).

43 Cf. the rich collection of passages in Herter, H.Effeminatus’, RAC 4.636. Courtney, E.A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal (London 1980), 142 on Juv. 2.111 cites also Tac. Ann. 14. 20. 5, Plin. Epist. 2. 14. 12.

44 On pullarius see Rönsch, H.Semasiologische Beitrage zum lateinischen Worterbuch (Leipzig 1887–9), 1. 60.

45 The formation looks authentic: cf. ecastor, edepol, equirine (Paul. Fest. p. 71), edi, and Walde-Hofmann, Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch 1. 389.

46 A discussion can be found in Richter (cited above, n. 40), 415 ff. and Hofmann, Lateinische Umgangssprache, 14.

47 Textual problems are discussed by Richter.

48 Andr. 781, Heaut. 1015, Eun. 656, 899, Phorm. 754, 803.

49 Ribbeck, O.Comicorum LatinorumpraeterPlautum et Terentium Reliquiae (Leipzig 1855).Ribbeck later corrected the punctuation: see Comicorum Romanorum praeter Plautum et Syri quae feruntur Sententias Fragmenta3 (Leipzig 1898).

50 On the text at Cure. 512, see Richter (note 40 above), 418.

51 Amph. 741, 1057, 1080, Cas. 634, Merc. 681, 708, Mil. 1078, Rud 375.

52 For uae ascribed to a female in later Latin, see e.g. Catull. 64.196 (cf. ps.-Acron on Hor. Serm. 1. 2. 129:‘“ue”interiectiositfeminaetimentisacperturbatae’).But there is no tendency for it to be restricted to females (see e.g. Catull. 8. 15,OvidAm. 3.6. 101).

53 See Richter, 469.

54 622, 655, 661, 697; he also uses obsecro + imperative at 679; cf. Heaut. 267, 684, Eun. 356, Phorm. 197, 209.

55 Andr. 955, Heaut. 339, Eun. 362, 1049, Phorm. 473, 486, 553, Ad. 550, 679.

56 Andr. 351, Heaut. 302, Ad. 281; cf. Ad. 325, where the speaker is a woman.

57 For some comments on its use, see Hofmann, , Lateinische Umgangssprache, 130 f.

58 E.g. Plaut. Cist 573, Ter. Andr. 232, 473, Eun. 1049, Phorm. 740, Ad. 487.

59 See Lodge (cited above, n. 30), 2. 230 b.

60 McGlynn (cited above, n. 31), 1. 206b.

61 Note that quotations of Aul. 170 have the reading si audes, whereas the manuscripts have quaeso, in the mouth of a matrona. It is likely that si audes is right.

62 See McGlynn, s.v., sects. I, II. 1, V.

63 Without an object aiLig. 37,Deiot. 20,withie at Phi. 11. 20, and withuos at Mil 103, Phil. 13. 10; at Q. Rose. 20 the more formal expression oro atque obsecro uos is accompanied by an imperative rather than a dependent construction.

64 9..6. 5, 9. 11a. 3, 11..2.2, 11.7.6, 12.4.2, 12.17, 12.19.4, 12.42.2, 13.1314. 3,13. 14–15. 2,13. 31. 3,15. 1. 5,15. 29. 3,16. 7. 8; cf. 3. 9. 2(58 B.C.), 3. 18. 2 (58).

65 Fam. 14. 1. 5,14. 2. 3, Att 3. 18. 2,9.6.5,11.2. 2,11.7.6,12. 19.4,13. 13–14. 3, 13. 14–15. 2, 15. 1. 5, 15. 29. 3, 16. 7. 8.

66 Fam. 14.2.3, Att 3. 18.2, 9.6.5, 11.2.2, 11. 7.6, 12.19.4, 15.1. 5. In the last passage the imperative is implied rather than expressed.

67 In the letter of Antonius,Att 14. 13a. 3 (‘patere, obsecro, te …’), it is possible that an example of te (object of obsecro) has fallen out of the text.

68 Note that the rarer absolute use of oro seems to have given way to oro te in the late Republic: see Hofmann, Lateinische Umgangssprache, 129. See also below, p. 62, on amabo te, which all but replaced amabo.

69 For rogo with questions, see Petron. 7.1, 39. 3,48. 7,55. 5,58. 2,86. 7,90. 3,95. 2, 126. 8, and with imperatives, 20. 1,132. 10. 137.4. Many of these examples (but not all) are in speeches by freedmen. On the colloquial character of rogo under the Empire, see also Hofmann, , Lateinische Umgangssprache, 129 f.

70 With questions at (e.g.) 2. 80. 2,3. 52. 3,3. 73. 3,3. 76. 3,4. 84. 4,5. 25. 7,5. 44. 1, 5. 82. 3, and with imperatives at 2.14.18, 2. 25. 2, 6. 20. 4, 12. 63. 6.

71 With questions at (e.g.) Met 2. 29, 4. 12, and with imperatives at Met 1. 21, 2. 23, 3.13,3.22,5.6,5.31,8.3.

72 The division of speakers adopted by editors here (CA. ‘lepida es. / duce me amabo. DE. caue [ne] cadas, asta’) is probably wrong. Amabo can be given to Delphium, in association with caue, as in the very similar passage Naev. com.fr. 82, quoted below. See also Blase, H. ‘Amabo’, ALL 9 (1896), 488.

73 Exceptions are at Asin. 711 and Most. 467; in the second passage amabo should be changed to ambo with Scaliger. Note too Asin. 707, where the speaker and addressee are the same as at 711 (though the verb does not accompany either a question or imperative). Seyffert, O.Studia Plautina (Berlin 1874), 1 correctly observed that amabo was a term of women or of men addressing women, but his list of examples was not completely accurate. There is a detailed discussion by Blase, , ALL 9 (1896), 485 ff.MacCary, W.T. and Willcock, M.M.Plaufui Cosme (Cambridge 1976), 917–18 n. set out to give complete statistics for the use of amabo in Plautus (whereas I have restricted myself here to the use of the word with questions and imperatives): women are said to have it 84 times out of 91 instances, with 6 of the other 7 instances spoken by men addressing women. These figures are not quite accurate. The claim that Asin. 707 is the only place where a male uses amabo in speaking to another male disregards Aism. 711. MacCary and Willcock point out that Asin. 707 has homosexual undertones.

74 Note Car. 917–18,Pers. 165,Poen. 380; the example atPers. 245 is a joking repetition of a woman’s words.

75 Te is an emendation, printed by Ribbeck in the third edition of the comic fragments. In the first edition he preferred iam.

76 See Hofmann, Lateinische Umgangssprache, 127; Lodge (note 30 above) 1.115.

77 Fam. 2. 7. 2, 8. 9. 3 (Caelius), AtL 2. 4. 1, 5. 12. 3, 5. 17. 4, 15. 29. 3, 16. 16c. 1, Q.Fr. 2. 9. 4, De OraL 2. 278.

78 Indeed it is already infrequent in Terence. Blase (above, note 72) 491 suggested that Cicero may have taken over amabo(te) in his letters from old Latin without noticing the precise details of its earlier use. Hence the deviation from earlier usage. But Cicero is not likely to have used an artificial archaism so often in his letters.

79 That at Heaut 1052 accompanies a mi-form of address, which obviously softens the imperative, that at Hec. 826 follows obsecro and amabo, 3 examples at Hec. 557 f. follow obsecro, another example at Hec. 605 is juxtaposed with the mi-form of address, and examples at Eun. 151 and 534 are in the vicinity of obsecroand amabo.

80 For which see Hofmann, , Lateinische Umgangssprache, 132 f.

81 Cf. Cas. 203, Most. 1,Pers. 412, 422, Ter. Phorm. 59.

82 Cf.Amph. 286, 360, Pers. 835, Pseud. 1143, Ter. Eun. 799.

83 McGlynn, s.v. XIX (2).

84 McGlynn, s.v. XIX (4).

85 See Plaut., Asin. 93, 679, Cap. 619,Epid. 475,Pers. 691. Poen. 713; cf. Amph. 778 (spoken by a woman). In these passages age is of course an imperatival intensifier, and not a full verb.

86 It was seen above, p. 47 that Donatus recognized this form of address as typical of females.

87 Cas. 739: Olympisce mi, Poen. 421: mi Milphidisce, Rud. 352, 364, 374–5: mea Ampelisca, 568: mi Charmides, 878: mea Palaestra et Ampelisca, 1265: mi Trachalio, Stick 736: mea… Stephanium, True. 362, 529: mea Phronesium.

88 Asin. 672: mi Leonida, 691: mi Libane, Cas. 134: mi Olympia, Cist 2: mea Gymnasium, 22: mea Selenium, 53: mea Selenium, 59: mea Gymnasium, 71: mea Gymnasium, 78: mea Selenium, 95: mea Selenium, 107: Gymnasium mea, 112: Gymnasium mea, 631: mea Selenium, Men. 382: mi Menaechme, 541: mi Menaechme, 676: mi Menaechme, Mil. 1248: mea Milphidippa, 1266: mea Milphidippa, Pers. 763: Toxile mi Rud. 354: mi Trachalio, Truc. 499: mea Phronesium, 664–5: mi Strabax, 949: mi Strabax.

89 Andr. 134,Heaut. 291,398,684,692, Eun. 351,455, 1034,Phorm. 478,Hec. 325, 841, 856, Ad. 268.

90 Andr. 286,Heaut. 381, 406, 631, 644, 731, 1052,.Eun. 86, 95, 144, 190, 455, 535, 656, 743, Hec. 206, 232, 382, 389, 585, 602, 824, Ad. 323, 343, 353.

91 Heaut 291,684, 692, Eun. 351, 1034, Phorm. 478, Hec. 841, Ad. 268.

92 Andr. 134, Heaut. 398, 406, 622, Eun. 455, 456, Hec. 325, 353, 358, 856 (twice).

93 Andr. 721: mi homo,788: mi senex, Heaut. 617: meanutrix, 622,1005,1015,1048: miuir, 1028,1062: mignate,Eun. 156:mihomo,834:eramea,Phorm. 991,1002:mi uir, 1005: mi homo,Hec. 235:miuir, 318: meagnata, 352, 577, 605, 606: mignate, Ad. 288: mea nufrix, 336: mi homo.

94 Andr. 889: mi pater, Heaut 622: mea uxor,Phorm. 254: mi patrue, Hec. 353, 358: mea mater, 455: mi pater, 456: gnate mi, Ad. 269: mi germane, 674, 681, 901, 922, 935, 956, 983: mi pater.

95 Heaut 291,684, 692, Eun. 351, 1034, Phorm. 418, Hec. 841.

96 Andr. 134, Heaut. 398, 406, Hec. 325, 353, 358, 856 (twice).

97 Phorm. 254, Hec. 455, Ad 674, 681, 901, 922, 935, 956, 983.

98 The text is doubtful at 523; cf. 206, 232, 235.

99 Even with mea, mulier might have a tone of indifference: note Caecil. 267: ‘quaeso igitur, quisquís es, mea mulier’. Contrast Plaut. Cist. 723: ‘mi homo et mea mulier, uos saluto’, a passage which shows the difficulty of classifying the usage.

100 See Köhm, J.Altlateinische Forschungen (Leipzig 1905), 90.

101 In Plautus, on the other hand, fathers normally say mi gnate or mea gnata (16 times). Gnate is found only at Trin. 362. See Lodge (n. 30 above) 2.120.

102 Examples are listed by Köhm, 89 n. 7. Contrast mea (mulier), which, though usually a male idiom, is put into the mouth of a woman at Plaut Cist. 723.

103 See Lodge 1.130 a. The male examples are at Most 336 and Rud 1265.

104 Examples are in Lodge 2. 913 a.

105 For an endearment passing between (imaginary) females at a later date, see Jerome Epist 22. 29. 5: ‘mi Catella, rebus tuis utere et uiue dum uiuis’.

106 Notice the lack of reciprocity at 190: ‘in hoc biduum, Thais, uale. TH. mi Phaedria, et tu’.

107 Note Eun. 351, 1034, where the slave Parmeno is accorded the mi-address by an adulescens.

108 See Adams, J.N.CQ 28 (1978), 162 f.

109 With a female addressee at 2. 7, 2.10, 2.18, 3. 22, 5.6, 8. 8; cf. 1. 6, 1.11, 1. 24.

110 2. 20, 4. 26, 4. 27, 5. 6 (twice), 5. 13, 5. 16, 6.16, 8. 10, 9.16.

111 5. 1, 32. 1, 32. 2 (twice), 45. 2, 75. 1, 109. 1; cf. 13.1, 28. 3 (mi Fabulle).

112 exclude for the moment predicative examples which are subject of the verb ‘to be’ and the like: see McGlynn (n. 31 above) 1. 363,1. (1) (b).

113 Examples can be found in Lodge (n. 30 above) 2. 69 col. 2–70 col. 1 (3. b).

114 Women: Naevius 134, Turpil. 113, 179, 196, Afran. 127,312, 394; men: Aquilius 3, Turpil. 147, Afran. 409.

115 Women: Ennius 202,257 Vahlen, Pac. 10,134, Accius 36,111 (?); men: Eiinius 308 Vahlen, Pac. 264, Accius 229, 346, 561.

116 Oct. 907, 910, 960, Here. Oet. 1552.

117 Tro. 942, Here. Oet 442, 704, 715, 1214, Oct. 25, 78, 138, 661.

118 Herc. Fur. 439, Oed. 112, Here. Oet 764, Oct. 302, 341, Hipp. 1255.

119 See Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v., 10 a.

120 P. Terenti Afri Andria2 (Melbourne 1960), on 229.

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