History of Italian Language

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Testi italoromanzi di scriventi femminili (secoli XIII-XV)

Women's writing has been carefully observed in the field of palaeographic studies as far back as the medieval age, and by Italian linguistics especially as far back as the later age. This is due to the fact that from the 16th century onwards, the richness and variety of women's writing, both in the literary and non-literary spheres, open the way to a number of issues and approaches that seemed less feasible in the earlier age. The rarity and in many cases the difficult recognisability of texts written by women during the Middle Ages, as well as the clear prevalence among them of vernacular texts in the Low Middle Ages, seem to be sufficient reasons to attempt a comprehensive linguistic reflection on women's Romance writing in Italy up to the threshold of the modern age. Rather than on women literary authors, the focus will be on women private writers, in a similar way to how in many synchronic linguistic investigations female informants are preferred to male informants. Addressing mainly private texts, not intended for publication, questions such as the following will be asked: are there, at all structural levels, linguistic traits peculiar to women's vernacular writing that distinguish it, ceteris paribus, from men's? Are gender differences detectable - and if so, how important are they - with respect to those of class or class of education? Some attention will be paid to some particularly significant unpublished modern texts, as well as to some cases of literary writing.

At least one hour per week will be devoted to reading facsimiles of originals of Italian-language vernacular texts from the medieval period.

Supplementary teaching on lexicographic topics is also planned.

Obiettivi formativi

1) Develop a reflection on the relationship between literary and non-literary documentation in the history of language.

2) Enhance the reading of practical texts from the medieval period.

3) To critically address the problem of linguistic variation in relation to the gender of speakers or writers.

4) Enhance the relationship between historical studies (and palaeographic studies in particular) and linguistic studies.

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