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Mother Tongues and Other Reflections on the Italian Language

Mother Tongues and Other Reflections on the Italian Language

  • Book Info
    Mother Tongues and Other Reflections on the Italian Language
    Book Description:

    In this collection of six scholarly essays on the Italian language, Giulio Lepschy discusses issues ranging from Italian literary and spoken history to prosody and a play of the Italian Renaissance .

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7740-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Olga Zorzi Pugliese

    The Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto had the pleasure of hosting Professor Giulio Lepschy as the Emilio Goggio Visiting Professor in Italian Studies for the year 2000. Originally from Venice and now professor emeritus of the University of Reading and honorary professor at University College London, Giulio Lepschy is the author of many studies on Italian linguistics and also on the history of linguistics (e.g.,A History of Linguisticsin four volumes). He spent one academic term in the department together with his wife, Laura, also a recently retired professor of Italian from University College London....

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Mother Tongues and Literary Languages
    (pp. 3-34)

    Native speaker and mother tongue are two symmetrical and converse notions. They seem to refer to the same reality from two opposite viewpoints. Native speakers, by definition, speak their mother tongue, and a mother tongue is the language of a native speaker. In spite of this correspondence, the implications and the history of these two designations are very different; for both expressions part of the difficulty lies in the relation they have to the notion of literary language.

    In this chapter I shall discuss four points: (1) native speaker, (2) mother tongue, (3) the births and deaths of languages, and...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Languages of Italy
    (pp. 35-48)

    In this chapter I should like to deal with the Italian linguistic situation from three points of view - first, linguistic variety in Italy: the standard, the dialects, and the minority languages. Second, how much, by whom, and in what circumstances Italian and dialects are used. Third, language policy: how far the rights of the linguistic minorities are guaranteed by Italian law.

    Concerning the first point (standard, dialects, and minority languages) we need to make some terminological clarifications. Standard Italian is based on literary Florentine of the fourteenth century, as it was codified at the beginning of the sixteenth century...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Popular Italian: Fact or Fiction?
    (pp. 49-70)

    The title of this chapter consists of two parts. The first part presents a topic (Popular Italian),¹ and the second, in the form of a question, suggests that we should try to decide whether in looking at this topic we are examining questions of fact or dealing with subjective problems of our own creation rather than with objective features belonging to an external reality. The question is only apparently straightforward, even if we leave out the distinction of a more general nature, which seems to dominate contemporary theory, between I and E, that is, Internal and External linguistics. However, although...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Secondary Stress: Surface Contrasts
    (pp. 71-92)

    In sections 1–5 of this chapter¹ some observations will be made on the study of stress levels, with particular reference to Italian. In sections 6 and 7 a correlation will be identified between (a) three kinds of word structure, that is, (i) compounds ending in a free form, (ii) compounds ending in a bound form, (iii) simple and derived words, and (b) three corresponding different patterns of stress levels.

    To some of these questions I have returned repeatedly, at extended intervals, during the last forty years, starting with a 1957 B.A. dissertation on the problem of the Latin accent,²...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE La Veniexiana: A Venetian Play of the Renaissance
    (pp. 93-118)

    In this chapter I shall discussLa Veniexiana, an anonymous play of the first half of the sixteenth century, which I consider to be in many ways the most striking play of the Italian Renaissance. I propose briefly to present (1) the manuscript and the history of its publication; (2) the contents of the play; (3) the question of its authorship and date; (4) the main features of the play: its structure and theatrical qualities; (5) the two aspects that seem to me the most interesting: the presentation of the female characters, and their language; (6) finally, I shall analyse...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Carlo Dionisotti, 1908–1998: A Memoir
    (pp. 119-140)

    Carlo Dionisotti, professor of Italian at the University of London 1949–70 and a fellow of the British Academy from 1972, is commonly considered the greatest Italian literary historian of his age.¹ He had unrivalled expertise in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian literature and a passionate interest in questions of Italian culture to which was added in his later years a particular insight into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    He was born on 9 June 1908 in Turin into a prosperous family.² His father, Eugenio (1866–1955), a graduate in law, was also Turinese. His paternal grandfather, Carlo (1824–1899), a...

  11. Index of Names
    (pp. 141-148)