Synonymy (or how to choose the right word)

The exploration of the differences between the synonyms arises from the need to make the value of the terms used in philosophy clearer and more precise; only later this practice passed to grammar, giving rise to the lexicographical genre of the Differentiae verborum. We will try to reconstruct the history of the practice of the distinction between synonyms,  thus tracing out in outline a picture of its late ancient and medieval fortune.

  • Aims and content
    • LEARNING OUTCOMES

      The course aims to provide students with methodologies and tools for a critical study of the Latin linguistic system; to make known the evolution of the Latin linguistic reflection and the intersections between the grammar, reception and transmission of the works; to develop the ability to interpret texts, recognizing their structural and grammatical characteristics.

      AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

      At the end of the course, students must:


      - possess methods and tools for a critical study of the Latin linguistic system;
      - know the evolution of Latin linguistic reflection and the intersections between the grammar, reception and transmission of the works;
      - develop the ability to interpret texts, recognizing their structural and grammatical characteristics;
      - know the history of grammatical and lexicographical reflection in Latin culture.

      SYLLABUS/CONTENT

      Synonymy (or how to choose the right word)


      The exploration of the differences between synonyms is born with the Sophists, following the need to make the value of the terms used in philosophy clearer and more precise. It was in particular Prodicus of Ceo to deal with the distinction between apparently equivalent words, and Plato makes a very parodic and amusing imitation of his strange way of speaking, all interwoven with differences between synonyms. Stoicism, particularly in its theory of passions, also feels the need to distinguish between synonyms to construct what appears to us as a real taxonomy of affects. Significant traces of this use of the distinction between synonyms in the classification of the passiones can be found in Cicero, and particularly in the Tuscolanae disputationes. From philosophy the technique of the distinction between synonyms passed to grammar, giving rise to the lexicographical "genre" of Differentiae verborum, of which we find a good example in the fifth book of Nonius Marcellus' De conpendiosa doctrina. At the same time the study of synonyms acquires a grammatical  value, and also a stylistic value, researching what is the most appropriate term both for meaning and for stylistic register.

      During the course we will try to reconstruct the ancient history of the practice of the distinction between synonyms in the Greek world, analysing a series of passages taken from Cicero's Tuscolanae disputationes and the fifth book of the De conpendiosa doctrina by Nonio Marcello and his sources, thus tracing out in outline a picture of the late ancient and medieval fortune of the study of synonyms.

       

      RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

      1) Reading and commenting of selected pieces taken from Cicero's Tuscolanae disputationes (we recommend the BUR ed.: Cicerone, Tuscolane, Milan 1996); the list of the commented passages will be uploaded at the end of the course on Aulaweb.

      2) Reading and commenting on the fifth book of the De Conpendiosa doctrina by Nonius Marcellus (we recommend the Sismel ed.: Nonio Marcello, De conpendiosa doctrina III, books V-XX, ed. P. Gatti e E. Salvadori, Firenze 2014 , a copy of which is available in the Library).

      3) Reading of the essay by  G. Moretti, Introduzione al De differentia similium significationum di Nonio, in  Studi Noniani IX, Genova 1984, pp. 179-203 (the article file will be uploaded to Aulaweb)

      URL Aula web
      LATIN GRAMMAR
      https://2018.aulaweb.unige.it/course/view.php?id=4533
  • Who
  • How
    • TEACHING METHODS

      Lectures and seminar discussion

      EXAM DESCRIPTION

      Seminar work and oral exam

      ASSESSMENT METHODS

      During the course, students will be asked to actively work on the proposed texts, which will contribute to the evaluation together with the final exam: frequency will therefore be fundamental.
      A sufficient level will be obtained with sufficient knowledge and interpretative skills of the proposed texts, and demonstrating a good understanding of the historical evolution of the practice of the distinction between synonyms.
      An excellent level will be obtained with an excellent knowledge and an autonomous interpretative capacity of the proposed texts (demonstrated with active frequency  during the course, and possibly with a paper), and demonstrating a full understanding of the historical evolution of the practice of distinction. between synonyms.

  • Where and when
    • URL Aula web
      LATIN GRAMMAR
      https://2018.aulaweb.unige.it/course/view.php?id=4533
      LESSONS START

      Monday, February 18, 2019

      OFFICE HOURS FOR STUDENTS
      Gabriella Moretti

      During the first semester the reception will take place on Tuesday, from 15.00 to 16.00 pm, in the teacher's office.

      Sessions
      Date Time Type Place Notes
      17 dicembre 2018 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      14 gennaio 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      31 gennaio 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      20 maggio 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      31 maggio 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      14 giugno 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      19 luglio 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
      9 settembre 2019 10:30 Orale Prof.ssa Moretti Genova Locali DAFIST, via Balbi 4, 3° piano
  • Contacts