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For comprehensible pedagogical reasons, these tend to locate Collins within precise sociological traditions, as in the case of Ruth A. Wallace and Alison Wolf who consider the American scholar an heir to the Weberian version of the sociological theory of conflict4, or else to reduce his work to specific themes, as in the case of Patrick Baert and Filipe Carreira da Silva who, rightly of course, emphasise the centrality of the concept of trust and the emotions in his reflections5.

In this regard, it is probably more correct to note that in reality Collins' ambition is apparently to "elaborate a sociological theory in which the principal sociological traditions Weberian, Marxist, Durkheimian, interactionist are combined and integrated into a new synthesis, of which interaction ritual chains or IRC have to date been the heart and the nerve centre" Santoro, Certainly, in Interaction Ritual Chains , the latest and most analytical presentation of his theory, Collins keeps faith with "the idea that a theory is primarily a tool of explanation and not an imaginative construction of more or less apocalyptic social scenarios [ So, although he is well-known, Collins is "still in Italy as in other European countries [ It should be noted immediately that the following pages have a circumscribed objective: to thematise the close relationship Collins has with the sociology of emotions.

And the objective here is not, at least directly, to situate Collins within what is now, especially in the English-speaking world, the nuanced panorama of the contemporary sociology of emotions. If the aim and ambition of this work are therefore limited, it must also be said, however, that the emotions have always been a fundamental element of his sociological theory.

I shall start by briefly outlining Section 2 how the American sociologist contributed to founding the sociology of emotions. I then briefly describe his ritual theory of emotions Section 3 and show how an autonomous approach to the emotions inspired by Collins now appears to be configurable Section 4. Finally Section 5 , I argue that although the criticisms sometimes made of the American sociologist's excessive sensitivity to the emotional factor do hit the target, this should be balanced at least by a consideration which in my opinion is a crucial one: Collins has the merit of having contributed to bringing the emotional actor onto the stage of sociological theory, a merit even more significant if one considers that he is a sociologist and social theorist who cannot be labelled as closely linked to the sociology of emotions and who is absolutely one of the most authoritative figures in contemporary sociological theory in general.

Conflict Sociology, a significant publishing event in the emergence of the sociology of emotions. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. The pan-Italian literary language gained in status and was kept alive for several centuries, almost exclusively by the writings of poets and schol- Linguistic Diversity 23 ars, with the exception of the Papal Court of Rome, where Italian was normally spoken by the clergy, not as a native language but as a lingua franca for this cosmopolitan community.

As literary Italian was not a native language until unification, the local regional languages were the normal means of communication, and they often produced a flourishing literature. This is because before unification, Venetian, Piedmontese, Neapolitan or Sicilian and all the other regional languages , were not only used by peasants in rural communities or the urban working classes, but also by aristocrats and scholars.

Multilingualism, in a modern sense developed in the Peninsula because there was neither interaction nor integration between its distinct languages. With the increased contacts between communities and individuals created by unification, monolingualism in the local language was gradually overcome, and bilingualism became the norm. Italian and Dialects in Contact At the time Tuscan was upgraded to the status of national language, outside Tuscany and Rome this language was learnt virtually only by those who spent many years in formal education.

Most speakers of other languages in the Peninsula never came into contact with this language in their local community. Internal migration expanded access to the national language, establishing the first contacts between the local dialects and Italian. The spread of the national language involved changes in the use of local dialects and this had an impact on the linguistic repertoires of its speakers throughout the country.

Bilingualism with diglossia the coexistence of two languages within the same community was becoming the norm, while monolingualism in Italian or dialect was confined respectively to urban situations where interregional growth accelerated the loss of the dialect and to isolated communities in predominantly rural or mountain areas where people had no easy access to the national language. During the s and s interregional contacts increased, replacing rural conditions of isolation and fostering a more generalised use of the national language.

These changes, which originated in the industrial development of many northern areas, and later encouraged urbanisation in the southern areas as well, found support in the advent of mass education and the spread of the media. The national language came to be adopted more and more widely throughout the nation, not only as a written language, but also as a spoken one. Now that the large majority had become bilingual, because of exposure to, and use of, regional dialect and national language, the alternation of these two languages in everyday life facilitated the interpenetration of the two systems, which in turn consolidated some mixed regional form, that began to be regarded as more acceptable for local use than the over rustic rural vernacular, or the too distant national language.

Firstly, the way that the spoken language entered communities and interplayed with the dialects differed widely from region to region. Secondly, language change began with one generation and involved the Linguistic Diversity 25 succeeding generations, thereby affecting the local dialect, which continued to be spoken in the local community or at home, and began to approach forms of the national language, while the national language began to develop local features. The point is well made by De Mauro who said that the regionalisation of local dialects shows that after years of post-unification promotion of the national language, Italy is no longer plurilingual but still strongly pluricentric.

The linguist Pellegrini was the first to analyse the new condition of linguistic diversity that derived from Italian and dialects in contact. He pointed out that, in most parts of Italy, one needed to draw distinctions between four strata or varieties. As well as 1 the national language and 4 the local dialect, there was 2 a more inward-looking variety of the national language and 3 a more outward-looking variety of the local dialect. This situation was exemplified by Lepschy and Lepschy When speakers have had only minimum exposure to the standard, they seem unable to transfer to national forms, even in a regional variety.

Up to the last major wave of internal mobility in the s, a high percentage of these people lived in rural communities, and were often illiterate. The first I1 is adopted only in writing. Lower middle class people master from I2 to D2 with occasional and often unsuccessful attempts to cover also I1. Peasants normally cover all the dialect varieties, D1, D2 and D3 and are occasionally able to approach forms of colloquial informal Standard. The urbanised working class stands between the lower middle class and the peasants. Although Mioni points out that this representation is only an exemplification of mutable tendencies for oral production except for I1 , the diagram is useful for a general idea of the social distribution of repertoires available to social groups during the late s and the early s and shows that the high language for one social group can correspond to the low language of another.

By the s, the process of socio-economic transformation that turned the country into a modern and competitive industrialised society and moved large sectors of the population from areas of poverty to urban centres was virtually completed. This movement was one of the major factors responsible for the gradual decline of local vernaculars and the growth of three strata of varieties between these vernaculars and the national language.

The diffusion of 3 is due to various conditions, ranging from the spread of literacy to the increased need to use the national language outside the region of origin Berruto, This language change has largely been supported by new conditions of socio-economic emancipation due to wider educational opportunities and higher standards of living.

De Mauro reports this happening in isolated rural communities in the Mezzogiorno and in subproletarian slums areas created by the hasty expansion of many cities. In these city areas, cut off from the language of their community, speakers not only found it difficult to adjust to the national language, but had serious problems trying to express themselves in any language De Mauro, This uniformity is expressed, according to F.

This emergent variety with some old features is one of his typology of four varieties. The first two varieties are characterised by national features, the latter two by regional traits. The debate on the most suitable typology to describe recent sociolinguistic developments significantly concentrates on the intermediate varieties rather than the interaction between dialects and the national language.

In recent years, as Grassi points out , there has been little contact between the two ends of the continuum. Focusing on the stratification of the national language through pressure from the local usage, Berruto studies the spoken varieties of the national language in the same regional area and maps the possible variables of register, morphology and phonology.

The latter are in turn different from more informal varieties of the ordinary standard 5—6 while the two varieties immediately below are characteristic of colloquial informality 7—8. The next variety is typical of slipshod informal language 9. Finally, the two varieties at the bottom of the chart are characteristic of popular Italian.

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Number 10 includes some national and number 11 some regional forms. No longer spoken by monolinguals as alternatives to the national language, they were revitalised by the spread of bilingualism. Dialects are still strong within the family in most regions, and in some cities they have also provided an alternative source of invention for the language of young people. The Veneto region was, however, in second place after Sardinia for the use of dialects with friends and colleagues in This high maintenance of the dialect, in a region that is economically strong, is consistent with the language loyalty noted by Lepschy in a city like Venice, where strong local linguistic traditions across the social spectrum counterbalanced the nationwide stigmatisation of the dialects.

The revitalisation of the dialects was confirmed by the Doxa survey, with some considerable regional variations. Excluding Tuscany and Lazio, the highest percentage for dialect use only is The highest percentage for Italian only is in Lombardy with These data and those indicating the stabilisation of the use of dialects in certain domains, such as family and informal socialisation, suggest to Berruto that the domains of the national language and of the dialects have now reached new compartmentalisation, and that the majority of bilingual speakers can happily switch from one to another.

Historical Minorities and Domestic Minorities The modernisation of Italian society drew the dialects closer to the national language expanding the repertoire of their speakers, and also moved the boundaries between Italian and the minority languages, sometimes modifying the competence and attitudes of their speakers. Minority languages at the time of unification were Catalan in Sardinia, French and Occitan in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, Albanian and Greek in southern regions and Sicily, and their speakers formed 2.

Those in the southern regions have preserved ancestral languages of old foreign settlements, and the domestic minorities have developed structurally autonomous languages due to their conditions of extreme isolation from neighbouring linguistic areas. With the spread of the national language, the pattern that has emerged for most minority speakers is bilingualism with Italian in compartmentalised diglossic conditions, though with a general slight shift towards the expansion of Italian and the decline of minority languages. However, the language roles and repertoires of these bilingual speakers vary greatly even within different communities of the same minority language.

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Moreover, communities are often trilingual or quadrilingual rather than bilingual, for example, with two varieties of the minority language as well as Italian, or two varieties of both. Each situation needs to be assessed separately in terms of both status and competence, to describe current use and forecast possible evolutions. Italian was usually reserved for official use and for higher education. German can be found in a number of valleys along almost all the Alpine range, but today the main concentration is in the non-urban areas of South Tyrol as, in the past, Italian families from other regions were encouraged to migrate and settle in large towns in the area.

While the formation of other German-speaking communities in northern Italy dates back to the 12th or 13th centuries, the presence of German in the South Tyrol region is not due to migration but to the political incorporation of the area after the First World War. The other German dialects, like the Bavarian-Austrian dialect spoken in the mountains from the Aosta Valley to northern Friuli, were used only as the languages of religious functions, and their use today is increasingly endangered by the growing dominance of Italian.

Since German now provides these isolated communities with far better job opportunities, in recent years it has become more attractive, particularly to the young generations. The German-speaking communities in South Tyrol are in favour of the preservation of German even at the cost of maintaining or spreading its use in domains — like education and work — which may seriously hamper the use of the national language. These communities are in the majority, and Italian-speaking families are only slightly more numerous in the main urban centres Bolzano-Bozen, Merano-Meran, Bressanone-Brixen, LaivesLeifers.

Under the agreement separate schools were set up for the two communities. This means, effectively, that the agreed education policy for the area has not taken on the challenge of fostering better community relations, nor of using two languages in schools to develop bilingualism with cognitive and academic use in two languages. This is clearly not a forwardlooking solution as the teaching of the other language as a curriculum subject in monolingual education can hardly offer the intellectual mastery of German to the Italian minority or that of Italian to the local Germanspeaking majority.

This is not a good prospect for majority-minority collab- Linguistic Diversity 33 oration. Nor does it augur well for full socio-economic integration of the region within the national community Fishman, These multilingual communities are increasingly exposed to a third language Italian and occasionally, but recently to a lesser extent, to a fourth language German Francescato, There are 25, Slovene speakers in the areas around Trieste and 28, around Gorizia.

Slovene is protected by a political agreement, which establishes the teaching of the language in schools. The Slovene-speaking villages in the areas around Udine were not included in the agreement Aiello, Croatian is spoken further south in the Molise region, where a community of migrants settled in the 15th century after fleeing the Dalmatian coast, which was being invaded by the Turks. This minority language has been heavily influenced by local Italian dialects and has evolved independently from mainland Croatian.

This makes teaching the language, which is currently done on a voluntary basis to its community of people, more difficult. The Albanian minority live in a few isolated areas in the southern regions and in Sicily. There is a total population of , speakers of a variety of Albanian. They have maintained their minority community language, although this has been heavily influenced by contact with Italian, and have developed a flourishing literary tradition.

There are two main difficulties concerning the educational support for this language today. One is the lack of political protection although Albanian benefits from regional government measures. Another is the distance between the communities, which has hindered the koineization of the dialects and the identification of common models for language description and teaching purposes. Greek is spoken in parts of Calabria and Apulia but it is not rated highly by the speakers themselves nor by their neighbours.

It is still controversial whether these communities are descended from much larger Greek-speaking settlements pre-dating the spread of Latin Magna Graecia or whether they are more recent. This minority language today is, however, diversified into several dialects lacking a common focus. Greek in southern Italy is separated from Italian and its dialects, and remains the medium for informal home interaction, but is in rapid decline because of discontinuous and fragmentary exposure to incomplete repertoires.

The more privileged sectors of the communities are completely Italianised and this acts as an additional factor in the stigmatisation of the language, especially in the villages of Calabria Sobrero, About half of the people living in the town of Alghero on the northern coast of Sardinia 40, altogether have some competence in a Catalan variety, which is to be expected since this town was held by Catalan settlers from onwards, and for over years interethnic marriages with the 34 Part 1: Everyday Language population of either Sardinian or Corsican origin were forbidden.

Today the new generations seem less committed and sometimes have receptive competence only. Although the cultural contacts with the city of Barcelona have increased over the past years, Catalan is currently under pressure from Italian, and to some extent from Sardinian. Several varieties of Ladin — which is also of Raetro-Romance origin — are spoken in some valleys in Switzerland where this minority language enjoys official status , in Italy in the province of Bolzano where it receives some support , and in the provinces of Treviso and Belluno, where it has been granted official status Corriere della Sera, 25 October However, it continues to be exposed to the penetration of the national language Dutto, The number of Ladin speakers in Italian territory has been calculated at about 30, Francescato, , but their dispersion in mountain valleys makes language loyalty and community solidarity difficult.

The situation is further complicated by the writing system which is largely inconsistent since it reflects very different dialect variations. Friulian is the second largest domestic minority language in Italy, with approximately , speakers scattered across different parts of the Friuli Venezia-Giulia region, living more frequently in mountain areas than in cities, and often in contact with other minority language speakers especially German.

The Friulian-speaking community strives to maintain the use of the three languages — Italian, German, Friulian Denison, Friulian has long been granted the status of language of Raetro-Romance origin, and benefited from the official recognition granted to all historical and domestic minorities. This would explain the declining competence noted in most young people as they are less interested in that past. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, when the written forms closely reproduce the local variations there is a high degree of inconsistency.

Secondly, when teachers opt for the supra-local orthography of a hybrid koine, the language seems artificial. Because of the fast developing economy of the region, people tend to adopt the national language at work. This is not true for the old steel and clockwork villages Maniago and Pesariis , where the use of the minority language has developed a special relationship with occupational skills and family traditions.

Sardinian has long been recognised by linguists as a distinct language of the Italo-Romance family, too, and is the most widely spoken minority language of Italy with a million and a half speakers. But it has always been treated as a dialect, both in schools and in society. The separate dialects Gallurese and Sassarese in the North and Campidanese and Logudorese in the South , have distinct identities and variants, and this has not facili- Linguistic Diversity 35 tated the recognition of an orthographic koine to be adopted as the written language of all Sardinian speakers.

Today, many young people are still competent in Sardinian, and use it more frequently than other Italians use their local dialects; but this circumstance is not usually expected to provide secure support for long-term maintenance of this minority language, and stable conditions of bilingualism in Sardinia.

New Ethnolinguistic Minorities The Rom people in Italy are somewhere between the domestic minorities and the new ethnolinguistic groups of immigrants, not only because their ethnic origin from India is very distant, but also because their number has increased considerably since the wars in the Balkan area, where they used to enjoy more hospitality than in most countries.

Today in Italy they occupy a position that is comparable neither to that of domestic minorities nor to that of the new ethnolinguistic groups, in that their language serves a cryptic function as well as one of cultural transmission and can survive as long as the individual chooses to remain in the clan and resist all forms of eradication from its traditions. This is the position in Italy De Mauro, , although it is difficult to generalise a single pattern, as there are old communities that chose Italy as a territory for their travels a long time ago, while other clans have come in recently after the diaspora from Eastern Europe.

Since the Rom groups have distinct needs and aspirations, their situation is, perhaps, not comparable to that of other immigrant groups. Italy, which used to be a country of emigrants, has become a country of immigration over the past 20 years. Since the early s the phenomenon has reached such proportions that it has attracted the attention of several sectors of linguists and educationists. Their debate and often their conclusions are based on the substantial experience of immigration in other European countries.

However, recent meetings on comparative assessment of ethnic relations and language education, often sponsored by the European Union Tosi, , have warned against drawing easy conclusions from transnational comparisons. In particular the focus of the argument is that 36 Part 1: Everyday Language the Italian situation today has little in common with that of immigrants in countries of older immigration, and this calls for a careful comparison between the language resources and the language aspirations of the diverse ethnic communities in different European countries.

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In the post-war reconstruction period of the s and in the great industrialisation of the s many people left southern Europe and settled in north- or west-European states. Typical features in this old migration were attachment to traditional ethnic values and the desire to integrate into the new society. These features were not in conflict: the former was instrumental to the latter. The solidity of the ethnic community was the prerequisite for effective integration, which was often impossible when the ethnic families were disorientated and disorganised.

Favourable conditions for integration in the host society are shown by the aggregation patterns common to many of the older ethnic communities and have had important consequences for language maintenance. From an educational perspective, children who bring to school a fully developed ethnic mother tongue feel that a great part of their everyday emotional and cultural experiences is denied if a language they have learnt from birth in the local environment has no role in the classroom.

The new immigration into Italy began after the energy crisis in the early s. It was soon clear that this new wave of migration was very different from the movement of large numbers of people from southern Europe to northern and western Europe in the s and s. Socially, the new arrivals are from the poorest regions of the world or from countries at war that are close to Europe, and are often individual travellers without a stable job, family support or community infrastructure. The new immigrants seek access and citizenship in southern European countries as these seem to have less rigid immigration policies.

This does not encourage communication and links with other people of the same or other ethnic groups. Often contacts with compatriots are also discouraged by political or religious rivalries that might have been at the very root of the decision to migrate, a decision that was taken perhaps to avoid discrimination or even persecution. The difference between new and old immigration in terms of ethnic relations is twofold. Their increasing isolation, however, tends to promote individual disorientation rather than group aggregation. Language plays an important role, and diverse educational needs and aspirations in immigrant communities need to be understood in the context of ethnic relations and urban cooperation.

It would be wrong to generalise language solutions and curricula applicable in all urban multiethnic environments. Probably, the most important issue to address in the language education of minorities is whether the role of the ethnic language is: 1 to function as a vehicle of cultural identification and maintenance by a well-established community desirous of transmitting to the new generations the values and habits of their ethnic traditions, or 2 to overcome the communicative inadequacies of individuals, whose concentration in the neighbourhood facilitates language maintenance but prevents socio-economic integration.

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In 1 , if children have developed bilingualism because of the homeschool switch, it is important to consider that competence in the ethnic mother tongue is built on experiences that go beyond those of interaction with the parent. They include various types of communication that take place in a rich cultural environment that has been established in the new country by the community efforts of several generations.

In 2 , however, not only do the new arrivals often lack a community life, which can preserve the linguistic and cultural traditions of the country of origin, but competence in the ethnic mother tongue of the new generations is restricted to no more than an exchange of everyday basic information with the parents. These factors are of enormous importance for the policies of language maintenance for the children of immigrants, and by implication for the best language curriculum for acquiring another language. The question of the autonomy of a variety developed by immigrants exposed to Italian and dialects in Italy is still under debate and the attention of scholars is concentrated on the range of dialects, varieties and sub-varieties of Italian with which adults come into contact in different parts of Italy Giacalone Ramat, The phenomenon of contact with the dialects is more evident, but there are contradictory developments, as immigrants react to them differently in different parts of Italy and at different stages of their time in Italy.

Examples of rejection of the dialects are reported when the immigrant has been in the country long enough to operate conscious choices Vedovelli, But in the first months after arrival, especially when large groups are housed in hostels situated in areas where the dialect is predominant, the dialect is assimilated and its idioms are transferred to other areas when the migrants move, often aggravating communication and relations with the local community Tosi, The linguistic background of the new immigrants is usually far more complex than that of the old migrants, who usually came from rural areas and were usually monolingual dialect speakers.

In most cases today immigrants are not monolingual on their arrival. They often have rudimentary knowledge in an international language, which is usually English for most Asians, and French for North Africans, although competence is often far from fluency levels. When there is fluency it is normally in a contact or creolised variety. As regards language maintenance, attitudes vary depending on group experiences and personal circumstances.

This marks another difference from what is known about old migration. Chinese people lack the international experience of other English-speaking Asian groups but are the most likely through their family ties and community infrastructures to maintain the linguistic heritage necessary to transmit Chinese values and traditions. Philippine people in Italy usually have a greater experience of education, internal migration, urbanisation and use of English alongside their ethnic and standard languages.

Because of the political and linguistic fragmentation of their own community and the Roman Catholic religion they share with Italians, they normally aim at integration and make much less effort for linguistic and cultural maintenance than the Chinese. The Arabic speaking groups from North Africa normally speak national variations of this language, which are not always mutually comprehensible, and are often complemented by a completely different tribal language eg Berber for the Moroccans. Although the Moroccans are the largest single group of immigrants in Italy, it is difficult to generalise their attitudes and aspirations.

Some wish to settle, others are used to moving about. Some have a strong sense of the family; others can live away from their families Linguistic Diversity 39 for months or even years. Some have no wish to be identified with western culture and values, others seek full cultural integration, for their children if not for themselves. The same heterogeneity can be found in the aspirations of Eastern Europeans, for whom immigration was an individual rather than community project.

A major variable in language use and attitudes towards maintenance is whether they left with the family or alone. South Americans have in common a strong inclination to accelerate their integration into Italy. They can do so better than other immigrants either because they are of Italian origin themselves or because of their high level fluency in standard Italian.

The picture is complex and does not lend itself to easy generalisations, though some clear differences emerge from the pattern of settlements of immigrants in Italy and that of other countries of older immigration. In Italy the ethnic minority communities, their attitudes towards language aspirations and cultural maintenance will be ruled by regional and urban factors to a much greater extent than elsewhere Tosi, forthcoming, b.

The reason for this is that Italy has still maintained a strong polycentric structure, where cultural and emotional inclinations of people are still dominated by features of regional rather than national identity. Chapter 3 Standard and Non-Standard Variations Standard Italian The notion of a standard language, the linguistic form that is conventionally regarded as correct and acceptable by educated native speakers, has been a matter of much debate in Italy in recent years. The spread of the national language — and of the literary models promoted by schools — resulted in a number of variations, due to contact with the dialects, that Italian linguists have divided into varieties or strata, depending on the main components and the characteristics of speakers.

However, while there was practically no contact between literary language and local dialect — the extreme ends of the continuum — the intermediate varieties increasingly influenced one another, and the rapidly changing situation made it difficult to draw the line between the different strata. But years of contacts with the spoken dialects, and the increasing bilingualism of their speakers, diversified the use of the national language to such an extent that it is difficult to qualify the users and their use of the standard.

The complex system of forms and norms that regulate its ordinary everyday use is still polymorphic and in rapid evolution. Interaction between varieties is constant and, in addition, even the most inaccurate and improvised forms of language became prestigious when promoted by the most popular of the mass media: television. A major challenge therefore, is the need to describe the standard variations in a society where standardisation is still 40 Standard and Non-Standard Variations 41 largely in progress.

At the same time, new forms of stratification, such as special languages, have come into play. The best architecture is that proposed by Berruto , Its components are taken from different varieties of Italian but not from dialects. He starts with divisions based on region diatopic varieties , on social differences, diastratic varieties , on domain and functions diaphasic varieties , and on spoken or written medium of use diamesic varieties.

Berruto establishes the extreme models of each variety and intermediate stages are placed along a continuum. The lowest code is the regional variety with the features typical of use by a dialect speaker. On the diastratic continuum, at the top end, one finds the sophisticated language spoken by the highly educated groups, while at the lowest end there are forms adopted by rural communities and the working classes.

Along the diamesic continuum, which contrasts written use to spoken language, at one extreme there are formal written styles and at the other extreme unplanned colloquial styles a distinction made by Nencioni, Berruto comments that in normal everyday language a given variety may be placed on any of the four different continua. For example, a diaphasic variety such as professional jargon is also confined to use by certain social groups, thus becoming part of the diastratic continuum.

The diatopic and diastratic varieties are practically indistinguishable as nearly every user is a native speaker of a regional variety of the diatopic continuum , but only those who achieve high social position can abandon the lowest levels of that variety and reach the high levels of the standard on the diaphasic continuum.


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Berruto eventually reduced his typology to three main continua only. Le dico che non possiamo venire. Sa, non possiamo venire. Ci dico che non potiamo venire. Mica possiam venire, eh! Literary standard 1 is the Italian of the written literary tradition. The neostandard Italian is the variety including some innovations of the spoken language that is used by most people in formal situations.

Colloquial Italian 3 is the spoken variety of informal everyday conversation. Popular regional Italian 4 is the mainly spoken variety of the less educated social groups. Solemn, very formal, Italian italiano aulico 7 is both a spoken and written variety for the most formal events. Techno-scientific Italian 8 is a spoken and written variety used in professional circles; Bureaucratic Italian 9 is a mainly written variety used by public officials.

They are the results of two evolutions: 1 The late standardisation of the national language, which therefore assumes different connotations for different functions and within different domains. The neo-standard is an extension of the standard and involves an ongoing emancipation of low-variety working-class, colloquial forms and expressions, upgraded either through use by well educated people seeking colourful effects, or by the medium of their use for example TV programmes and telephone interviews on the radio.

Special languages are varieties that were originally developed by specific professional sectors. They are now exercising pressure on ordinary language in two ways: an increasing number of lexical items, idioms and metaphors are transferred into everyday speech; and an increasing number of people from professional sectors forget to translate their specialised jargon into ordinary language, or are no longer able to do so. As a result, the technicisms of the special languages make these varieties seem more prestigious to the general public.

The emergence of slangs among young people, especially in urban areas, expresses their need for external transgression and internal solidarity, now they can no longer tap the reservoir of linguistic inventions once provided by the vitality of dialects. These are the forces at national level affecting the diversification of Italian. At local level, however, the forces and resources are different. Cortelazzo, ; Mengaldo, The regional varieties should not be interpreted as manifestations of a process of destandardisation Berruto, but as expressions of the vitality of the dialects acting as sources of inspiration and not just interferences for Italian speakers Sobrero, Regional characterisation of the national language is frequent in major European languages Telmon, Phonetics are important in regional Italian, but there are also significant lexical and morphosyntactical differences.

These occur more in the spoken language, while in written language they are increasingly infrequent though still acceptable Poggi Salani, A well known example of regional variations being defined by broader cultural boundaries is found in the different semantic values of terms describing parts of the day M. Telmon provides a full survey of phonetic, morphosyntactical and lexical variations He explains that in some areas almost every word of a sentence can be affected by regionalisms and that the most radical regionalisms can coincide with the local dialect.

In the interaction between these regional variations that are often incomprehensible in other regions and the standard language, some new trends have been recognised Telmon, ; Mengaldo, Milan and the North in general seem especially influential in the promotion of industrial terms often from Northern regionalisms which oust terms referring to more traditional manual occupations. Rome as the political capital, as well as headquarters of the media, lends national prestige to regional expressions, when these are borrowed from street life and used to add colour. The following descriptions give an idea of the main variations of regional Italian and the examples are a selection from the works of De Mauro , Lepschy and Lepschy , Telmon and Mengaldo Some idiomatic expressions include: avercela su to be against someone ; andare in oca to go gaga ; fare i mestieri to do the housework.

Codesto is a demonstrative pronoun or adjective between the widespread Standard and Non-Standard Variations 47 standard forms questo this and quello that. One of the two major studies of this intermediate variety M. The other De Mauro, Standard and Non-Standard Variations 49 emphasised its national rather than local character and marked this as the main difference from regional Italian.

The specifics of this variety are 1 the misspelling of lexical forms and 2 the simplification of morphosyntactic structures. These features suggest that the person writing is not over familiar with the standard, is likely to have had little formal education and may therefore have regressed to a state of semi-literacy, although he or she is clearly struggling to achieve communication in the less familiar language.

Several characteristics of this variety differentiate it from regional Italian. It is typical of people who even in the medium requiring a high code or register for example formal writing can only manage a rather low code with simplifications and colloquialisms that are not acceptable in this type of writing, though they may try to rise to a more formal register by adopting old fashioned bureaucratic phrases which they often use inappropriately.

It is likely that this low variety of Italian which is also termed the Italian of the semi-literate is spoken by people whose dominant language is a dialect. De Mauro , who investigated the supraregional features of this approximate mastery of the national language in the past hence the term: italiano popolare unitario , was able to show how its characteristics came from a fluent command of a regional variety of Italian which was badly transcribed because of poor education and lack of practice in the written language.

He placed the emergence and consolidation of this variety in the years after unification, when needs and opportunities for interregional communication and the adoption of a common language increased and affected large sectors of peasants and the urban working classes. Written Italian was needed in military service, in war, migration within Italy, emigration, trade union activities and in correspondence with local authorities. However, the phenomenon of creating effective though approximate Italian in writing by people with little experience of structures and spelling seems to be much older F.

Sabatini, , Early texts analysed showed misunderstandings by writers who were trying to fit models of Italian from safe sources bureaucracy, medical terminology, etc. Cortelazzo, ; Spitzer, ; Rovere, Speakers may misunderstand the functioning of the target standard language and this leads to hypercorrection and generalisations in italiano popolare Berruto, This is, however, not usually due to dialect influence.

Mengaldo finds regional interferences in most simplifications, and he refuses the theory that this variety, which is strongly marked by regional phonological and lexical traits, has developed a single national morphosemantic structure. One morphosemantic feature typical of southern regions is the accusative pronoun or noun preceded by a: vedere a Pietro to see Pietro.

Lexis is not the most characteristic aspect of popular Italian in that there is a conscious effort to free the language from local influence, though some words have achieved national currency. This repertoire is perceived as an elevated register appropriate for written purposes. Whatever interpretation will prevail, there is already consensus that the simplifications of italiano popolare should not be seen as new forms of standardisation anticipating the evolution of the national language now it is no longer governed by literary models Sanga, Consequently this substandard variety needs to be distinguished from two other tendencies: colloquial Italian and the neostandard.

Colloquial Italian in the broad sense of everyday speech that is distinct from formal language may contain innovations that are increasingly accepted in the oral as well as written language of educated people and the media, together with slipshod features of the so-called italiano popolare, typical of the most relaxed styles in speaking or writing Berruto The shaky boundary line between speaking and writing in any language is seen as particularly marked in the case of Italian, where the lack of healthy confrontation with spoken, everyday forms enlarged the gap — with the result that, until recently, there was very little overlapping between spoken and written language.

We will leave the upper and lower ends of the continuum to the section on the neostandard, and look here at a more central part of the differences between speaking and writing. Standard and Non-Standard Variations 53 The physical proximity of the interlocutor automatically alters the rules for effective communication in the mind of the speaker Berruto, In Italian, too, it is increasingly deemed to be the manifestation of a different form of planning Sornicola, , Voghera, Evidence of different planning and organisation is provided by the structure.

It seems incohesive, when the dialogue is transcribed, because oral communication needs the support of frequent and effective interactive signals. Another typical feature of the apparently incohesive organisation regards syntactical hierarchy, in that it is difficult to distinguish fragmented subordinates from adjoining sentences. Berretta distinguishes the former they have an underlying syntactical as well as logical connection from the latter here the morphosyntactical cohesion is completely lost although the logical link is strong.

She concludes that a clear-cut distinction is not always possible, as shown in these two examples: 1 Io — tra le righe penso che ci si capisca, il mio pensiero, no? He will understand at once if you have understood it or not. The same emphatic function is performed by the anticipation of the direct or indirect object.

Emphasis is also created by the posticipation of the subject after the verb. The effect is one of introducing a new actor in the dialogue: 1 Ha chiamato la Piera Piera rang. Standard and Non-Standard Variations 55 An alternative mechanism of emphasis is that of a cleft sentence, one part introduced by essere and the other preceded by che: 1 Ero io che facevo da mangiare It was me who did the cooking. In colloquial Italian there are also frequent modifications of verbal forms, with regional predominance of certain tenses and a national tendency to abandon the subjunctive.

The present tense is also commonly used for past actions and future events. This summer, where are you going? The imperfetto frequently describes past actions, but is also used instead of the past subjunctive and past perfect subjunctive to represent hypothetical situations eg se tu ti sposavi entro due mesi. Berretta feels that spoken language generally prefers active to passive forms. More emphasis is generated by the anticipation of 1 the actor or 2 the direct object.

Morphological peculiarities are singular-plural agreements that follow logical rather than grammatical rules. Berretta offers: 1 La maggioranza parlavano moravo The majority spoke Moravian. The lexis is different in that it tends to be limited mostly to vocabulary from the lower end of the informal register.

There are also generic words with polysemic value which replace a more specific term, forgotten in the course of the conversation, or emphasise a particular item coso, roba, tizio. As in many languages some verbs may have a polysemic function, they can be used in different contexts to convey different meanings. Among the most common in Italian are dare, andare. This variety has some of the simplifications of italiano popolare that are increasingly seen as an influence of the spoken language rather than inaccuracies by semi-literate speakers.

Sabatini Some language historians have pointed out that various divergences from the norms of the traditional standard had been codified from the 16th century onwards and are therefore hardly modern innovations. Sabatini, ; Nencioni, ; Lepschy, ; Bianconi, Mengaldo commented that 1 while all its characteristic features are used in speaking, not all are used in writing, and 2 the features that enjoy higher status are those that stemmed from an unorthodox written language, in contrast with the norms of the accepted literary tradition.

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In Italian the concept of re- or neo-standardisation thus involves not only the acceptance of colloquial forms into the norms Standard and Non-Standard Variations 59 consolidated by the written tradition, but also the recognition that the normative tradition had neglected parallel forms, which were present also in writing. They had survived by virtue of the spoken language despite prescription by scholars and schools. As already pointed out, an important role in this process of legitimisation is played by the media, especially by popular TV programmes.

He identifies a number of key elements of divergence from the norms of the traditional standard. They should, he argues, make all teachers of Italian think about current models of the language Sabatini, The latter should be confined to specific texts a rule followed by Manzoni in his I Promessi Sposi as is shown by Sabatini, Simplification and repetitions are increasingly adopted in both spoken and written Italian.

Some stress the supraregional currency of these forms, as evidence for their being developments in the national standard. Others regret that the evolution of the standard should be determined by the negligence of speakers, and would be inclined to disregard norms arising from personal carelessness and overpermissive trends. As in other countries, some linguists feel the schools are to blame in that they no longer insist on the correct use of language.

Chapter 4 Language in Education Diversity under Fascism In the 19th century Manzoni and his followers suggested spreading the use of Florentine by hiring Tuscan teachers. Most teachers of Italian insisted on rigid rules and models, and based instruction on narrative and poetry, thus turning the teaching of the national language into a foreign language course little different from that of French or Latin. Privileged social groups that had already been Italianised were admitted into higher education, but large sectors of the national community the lower classes in the cities and the rural communities were having to struggle in the primary classroom with a mother tongue that was, in actual fact, a foreign language De Mauro At the turn of the century researchers, doctors and teachers often believed that large sectors of the rural and working population were not competent in Italian because of a mental state of confusion produced by their poverty Berruto, This view, however, was not shared by all intellectuals and educators and the cultural historian Giuseppe Lombardo Radice, concerned about the limited access to schools, proposed an innovatory scheme significantly entitled Dal dialetto alla lingua.

This project was short-lived, partly because of the quiet resistance of conservative teachers, partly because of the overt opposition of the new Fascist government, and its campaign against dialects. On a par with other expressions of local culture and regional diversity, the use of dialects was considered anti-Italian and, if they could not be stifled altogether, they were systematically ignored. Grammar lessons were common in the language curriculum, but its teaching was done prescriptively, for the main purpose 63 64 Part 1: Everyday Language of selecting pupils on the basis of their mastery of the formal rules of the language.

This approach had little to do with the support for the teaching of grammar, favoured by the anti-Fascist scholar and politician Antonio Gramsci. For this reason, he strongly objected to the proposal of the Education Minister, Giovanni Gentile, to remove the teaching of grammar from the school curriculum altogether. Gramsci was against both the old fashioned normative approach to grammar teaching and the idea that schools could stand back and let language teach itself.

Yet at the same time he knew that dialects provided young children with solid emotional and intellectual support. Someone who only speaks dialect, or understands the standard language incompletely, necessarily has an intuition of the world which is more or less limited and provincial, which is fossilized and anachronistic in relation to the major currents of thought which dominate world history. Without the mastery of the common standard version of a national language, one is inevitably destined to function only at the periphery of national life, and, especially outside its national and political mainstream.

It was a mistake, it seems to me, not to let Edmea [his niece] speak Sardinian freely when she was small. This was detrimental to her intellectual development and put her imagination in a straitjacket. This is possibly because the new intellectual groups found it easier to agree in their efforts to understand the past rather than about the reorganisation of the new democratic institutions. While language teaching remained hopelessly unimaginative it was instrumental in maintaining a selective school system.

For at least 15 years language curricula did no more than teach eloquence to those who knew the language, and failed to teach the language to those who did not.


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  • In the school year — only A debate on the national language, the treatment of dialects at school and the need to reform language courses was stimulated by the work of the linguist Tullio De Mauro. He enriched the debate on language education by confronting social class, linguistic diversity and school achievement. Working from the historical division between language and dialect, De Mauro highlighted the fact that the lower classes sought to achieve competence in the national language and that schools and society had often combined to deny them such opportunities. He stressed that children are cut off from reality when schools attempt to eradicate the dialects.

    These, as De Mauro showed, had historically been sources of linguistic creativity for individual speakers and of cultural resources for the national language. Languages are created by the poor, who then go on renewing them forever. The rich crystallise them in order to put on the spot anybody who speaks differently.