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Nov 23, 2018 06:04
The present study has the aim to assess the linguistic situation of the Eighteen century Italian writer Vittorio Alfieri on the basis of the informations relative to his ‘language problem’ that can be found in this autobiographic book. As a case study, Alfieri`s linguistic situation is quite fascinating; his mother tong was Piedmontese and the first language he employed for writing purpose was French; while Italian was only a prestigious literature language that he studied in school. Such a linguistic condition remained effective until the poet gained awareness of his political status and nationality. Once he realized that his own identity was Italian, he tried to reconnect to it, to employ it in his writing, and in his daily routine. He also moved to Tuscany in the attempt of fully absorbing the pronunciation and vocabulary . His linguistic situation is very interesting for many reasons. First: determining that Italian was not his mother tongue would imply that many of the masterpieces of Eighteen Century Literature are written in a second language, learned through explicit instructions. Second: Alfieri`s linguistic situation was not a single isolate case, but a common one among intellectuals and authors of North Italy, who usually spoke a dialect more similar to French than Italian, and had to make a decision about which language(s) adopting in their writing.
In this study, I will contextualize Alfieri`s language problem in the social and cultural scenario of Eighteen century Europe and more specifically in the norther Italy. I will draw some preliminary conclusion about second language and bilingual writers, and finally, I will pass to analyze, year by year, his relationship with Italian and the other languages he spoke, in order to determine exactly his linguistic situation.
The results will show an interesting situation, possibly peculiar to many writer of the pre-unification Italy that would deserved to be further investigated.