Workshop Language, Nation, Identity: the “questione della lingua” in an Italian and non-Italian context


Workshop Language – Nation – Identity: the “questione della lingua” in an Italian and non-Italian context

29 -30. September, 2011
University of Oslo

Call for papers

In 2011 Italy is celebrating 150 years of Unification. This is a very
important date not only for the history of the Italian State but also for
the history of the Italian language.

The debates on an Italian standard language that is accessible to everyone
(“questione della lingua”) began in the 13th century with Dante and his
“De vulgari eloquentia” and have continued for almost seven centuries. The
political unification (in 1861) marked a new phase in the discussion on
the language: did it amount to a victory of standard Italian and the
defeat of all other languages present on the territory of the new Italian
state, was it a fortuitous coexistance of different languages?

Is the language one of the main parts of national identity? – This is the
crucial question we would like to explore.
What kind of relationship can there be between political and linguistic
unification? What was the process in other countries?
Does a strong centralized state actually need to have one language?
Can a language actually unify a nation?
What is happening nowadays, as the migration process seems to be leading
us towards plurilingualism?
These are the questions that we will put to the workshop participants.

The discussion will be developed from two perspectives: diachronically, we
will describe the creation of a standard language and its role in the
political centralization and unification; on the other hand,
synchronically, we will analyse the situation in a modern society where
two opposing tendencies coexist. On the one hand, the aspiration to
integrate in a new society and/or to be a world citizen impels us to use
one standard language, while on the other, the desire to conserve a
distinct identity and to ensure the survival of the small languages
explains the opposite movement.

We think that the topic of the workshop will be interesting not only for
specialists but also for the general public concerned with problems of
identity and nation. This is why we plan to contact a publishing house
interested in the topic and to publish the papers delivered at the
workshop. We also see the workshop as a step towards future research on
these issues.

Deadline: 1. of April

Working language: English.

Organized by: Italian section of ILOS

For more information please contact: Elizaveta Khachaturyan, Sergio Sabbatini

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