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Code-Switching in Luke and Acts

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Jonathan M. Watt

Divergence of style characterizes the Greek dialect that appears in the New Testament books of Luke and Acts. Some parts contain standard Koine while others show varying degrees of Semitic influence. This sociolinguistic study concludes that the continuum of Semitized Greek appearing in the ancient texts functions like the metaphoric variety of code-switching performed by modern bilinguals. The variations can be explained, in part, by Luke's tendency to use Semitic linguistic features when describing Jewish subject matter while retaining standard Koine for Hellenistic interest.