When speakers of different languages meet they often develop some contact language or pidgin containing elements of both languages. Surely speakers of Greek and Latin met in the antiquity at several places (e.g., sea ports or the border between Latin speaking Italy and the Greek speaking stretch of land around Naples) and probably there were some contact languages.

My question is: Are there any fragments of such contact languages attested?

  • 3
    Excellent question! It stands to reason that such a creole should have existed somewhere, to some extent. But the Greeks probably felt very superior and all about their language, and the Romans really didn't like non-standard language, so they probably resisted wider application of creoles, and we have little or no evidence left.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 4:16
  • I can think of potential sources like grafitti, votive offerings, or maybe some lines in a comedy play. Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 10:30
  • Yes, exactly. It will be hard to find if you don't know what to look for, exactly, but I'm sure some people must have researched the subject?
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 16:42
  • Surely the Greeks would have just made them speak Greek... Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 21:03
  • @Cerberus: those Greeks who "felt very superior" and those Romans who "really didn't like non-standard language" would surely not generally be the people who were actually trying to do everyday business with the foreigners at the ports.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


J.N.Adams discusses this in Bilingualism and the Latin language. According to the author, there are examples of imperfect Greek and Latin by second language speakers, but not evidence of a pidgin language.

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