HISTORY OF ITALIAN (UNIT A)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Unit A. Offer a general overview of the main phases and main issues in the linguistic history of Italy. Readings from key texts of the various phases (for example, “Promessi Sposi” in the 1827 and 1840 editions) and teach the tools required for linguistic analysis.
Unit B. New, non-Tuscan-centred approach to the northern writings of the Late Middle Ages. Knowledge of northern old and modern dialects; role of Latin in late medieval legal writings. Historical importance of the so-called “koine” languages
Course contents summary
Unit A: Fundamentals of the history of the Italian language: fields of research, methods and tools in this subject. Historical overview of the main phases in Italian linguistic history.
Unit B: Linguistic evolution of the ancient municipal scriptae and formation of the koine in the fifteenth century, through a number of key examples (Mantua, etc.).
F. Bruni, L'Italiano. Elementi di storia della lingua e della cultura , Torino, Utet libreria, 1984 e segg.
M. Durante, Dal latino all'italiano. Saggio di storia linguistica e culturale, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1981
Gh. Ghinassi, Dal Belcalzer al Castiglione. Studi sull'antico volgare di Mantova e sul 'Cortegiano', Firenze, Olschki, 2006.
lassroom lectures supplemented by readings from old and modern texts (found in the textbooks by Bruni, Durante or Ghinassi, or photocopies or the original texts); these readings are designed to provide concrete examples of the material covered in lectures.
Presentation in class of the main texts, bibliographies and lexicons for this subject.
Presentation in class of the main collections of Italian classics and anthologies of the history of the Italian language.
Evaluation starts by ascertaining that students have acquired the basic notions covered in class or texts recommended for preparing the exam. Following this one of the texts read in class is analysed, starting from a description of the text involved, its type and linguistic and cultural significance and followed by a number of more linguistically-oriented questions (phonetics, morphology, etc.). Technical information is always requested as an example of a wider process, concept or linguistic and cultural question.