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Auteur: Elena Maria PANDOLFI

Italian as a Pluricentric Language? Lexical and morpho-syntactic variation

Abstract/Résumé: As it is well known, Italian in Switzerland is a national and official language and is spoken as a mother tongue by the native inhabitants of Canton Ticino and four valleys of Grisons; it represents, indeed, the only remarkable case of Italian as a national language outside the Italian State. Nevertheless, Swiss Italian has usually been considered as a regional variety of standard Italian, as the varieties spoken in the various regions of Italy. Although Italian is not usually numbered among the pluricentric languages (cf. Ammon 1989, Clyne 2004), some lexical and morpho-syntactic features of the standard language in Italian speaking Switzerland, as well as its political and administrative status, may configure it as a national variety endowed with its particular, partially autonomous norm (cf. Pandolfi 2009, 2011; Berruto 2011). In this perspective, Italian therefore appears to have two centres: a major, full endonormative centre (Italy) and a minor, mainly exonormative centre (Italian speaking Switzerland). We will then illustrate some phenomena of geographic (diatopic) variation concerning not only lexical (e.g. neologisms, foreign words, loan words, etc.) but also morpho-syntactic features, be they related or not to the linguistic contact with the other two main national languages in Switzerland (German and French), e.g. quantitative and qualitative aspects of word formation and marked syntactic structures. The analysis is based on a corpus of spoken Swiss Italian of 400.000 graphic words and on a smaller corpus of 100.000 graphic words from Swiss Italian newspapers, both PoS tagged and lemmatized. Cited references Ammon, Ulrich, ed. (1989), Status and Function of Languages and Language Varieties, Berlin-New York, de Gruyter. Berruto, Gaetano (2011), Italiano lingua pluricentrica? In Overbeck Anja, Schweickard Wolfgang, Völker Harald (eds.), Lexikon, Varietat, Philologie. Romanistische Studien, Gunter Holtus zum 65. Geburtstag. Tübingen, de Gruyter: 15-26. Clyne, Michael (2004), Pluricentric Language. In: Handbooks of linguistics and communication science, Vol. 3 Sociolinguistics 2., completely rev. and extended ed. Berlin-New York, de Gruyter: 296–300. Pandolfi, Elena Maria (2009), LIPSI. Lessico di frequenza dell’italiano parlato nella Svizzera italiana, Bellinzona, Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana. Pandolfi, Elena Maria (2011), Contatto o mancanza di contatto nell'italiano della Svizzera italiana.Considerazioni quantitative. In R. Bombi, M. D'Agostino, S. Dal Negro, R. Franceschini, eds., Lingue e culture in contatto, Atti del X Congresso AItLA, Bolzano, 18-19 febbraio 2010, Perugia, Guerra: 235-258.