Piera Molinelli

Building intercultural communicative competence in antiquity: evidence from the Colloquia scholica

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This paper focuses on the "Colloquia scholica", a collection of bilingual didactic texts used in antiquity for the purpose of teaching Latin and Greek. Such "Colloquia" were read and probably partially learnt by heart in the manner of a conversation manual, where the aim was to train learners in oral skills and help them acquire an active speaking competence in a colloquial variety of the language. This analysis looks at some pragmatic and discursive aspects of the Colloquia , focusing on their role in the construction of intercultural communicative competence, that is, the complex of skills needed to perform effectively and appropriately when interacting with interlocutors who differ linguistically and culturally from oneself. It emerges clearly from these texts that in the Roman multilingual and multicultural world linguistic competence and intercultural competence were learnt together: grammatical constructions and the basic vocabulary of the L2 were taught through dialogues set in a Roman environment. This study takes a pragmatic approach in its attempt to demonstrate how the concept of intercultural communicative competence can profitably be applied to texts of antiquity.


  • Intercultural Communicative Competence
  • Latin and Greek
  • Bilingual Didactic Texts
  • Colloquia Scholica


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