The pragmatics of direct address in the Iliad [electronic resource] : a study in linguistic politeness /
Abstract: The purpose of this paper will be to examine, in the text of Homer's Iliad, some of the pragmatic and sociolinguistic factors in the choice of form of address (epithet). Specifically I will look at these in light of the Parry-Lord theory of oral composition and its claims of 'economy of form.' The results of this limited examination have important implications for the viability of such methods and for our understanding of oral, traditional literature. Milman Parry, as is well known, demonstrated that the choice of appellation for any character, between the given-name (e.g., E?Agam?mnvn) and the patronymic (e.g., E?Atre''dhw) was a decision based on metrical considerations alone, and importantly, not on semantic ones. The two terms cannot simply be substituted for the other without changing the meter of the whole line. The choice between the two is, according to Parry, driven by metrical necessity alone and hence any possible distinction of meaning is automatically bleached. The two names mean the same thing (i.e., Agamemnon). In this study I will look specifically at the use types of address within the narrative frame of the Iliad, in light of two potentially contributing factors. From a sociolinguistic standpoint, I will show that the distribution of these forms of address across the whole set of speakers is constrained by the relative social standing of the speaker in respect to the addressee. I will then give evidence for how pragmatic factors as well condition the appearance of one form of address over another. The evidence in this paper, then, will show that both sociolinguistic factors such as degree of social distance and relative position within the social hierarchy combine with specific situationally defined pragmatic factors to place constraints on the appropriateness of competing forms of address, forms whose distribution was earlier ascribable to metrical constraints alone. In other words, forms of address are effected by important matters of social hierarchy a nd the practical movement of the plot. Thus in line A.7 of the Iliad: E?Atre''dhw te e?naj e?ndr<ow as it will be between individuals.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:homer greek language etiquette
Date of Publication: