Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s De compositione uerborum provides an idealized model of the pedagogical relationship between a Greek teacher and his Roman student. A sociolinguistic investigation of passages addressed to the student Metilius Rufus suggests that Dionysius can assert his professional authority only obliquely, and instead resorts to a strategy of "authority substitution" in which he appeals to alternative sources of authority: classical Greek authors and the world of adult aristocratic Roman speech.

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