Dr Cicioni on foreign words in Italian (9 April)

Dr Mirna Cicioni  (Monash University)


will talk on

Purists, Neo-Purists and Anti-Purists: Foreign Words in Italian, from the Fascist Campaigns to 2015

Thursday 9 April, 6.30pm

Italian Institute of Culture

233 Domain Rd, South Yarra

My talk is an examination of the attitudes to foreign words in Italian in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My starting point is the 2014 documentary Me ne frego! Il fascismo e la lingua italiana, which shows how between 1929 and 1943 linguists and journalists close to the Fascist government participated in various campaigns for what was then called l’autarchia della lingua . I then look at a number of 21st-century publications which express concern that contemporary Italian may be “flooded” and “swamped” by foreign words, most of which “unnecessary” and “snobbish”. My analysis is based on theories of lexical borrowing and on attempts to assess the actual use and comprehension of words from other languages by Italian speakers.