Italicissima is the product of a decades-long obsession with the Italian language and its rich, complex history. Few people are aware that the national language of Italy, known as standard Italian, is a literary language based on an elite 14th-century Florentine dialect. The standard was shaped through the centuries by Italy’s authors and imposed upon the population following the national unification in 1861. The many indigenous languages that were spoken in Italy prior to unification were demoted to the status of dialects after the governmental imposition of the standard, but they did not disappear from usage. Instead, these dialects mixed with the standard to produce twenty regional varieties, which represent not only the true dialects of Italian but also the authentic Italian languages. Ironically, despite the fact that standard Italian is not spoken in Italy, it is taught to students of Italian in classrooms around the world. The intended scope of italicissima is therefore to introduce readers to the many interesting features of the Italian language as it is actually used in spoken and written form. Also of interest are the Italians spoken abroad, such as Ticinese in Switzerland, Cocoliche in Brazil and Italiese in Canada and the United States. Topics include the varieties of Italian, the dialects, slang, jargon and the language of social media. Owing to the privileged, not to mention unusual role that literary prose has played in the shaping of spoken language in Italy, special emphasis is placed on the varieties and forms of Italian as these appear in literature.
About Traci Andrighetti, PhD
My fascination with the Italian language has been the driving force behind my education and career. I worked as a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin for 11 years, and I am a prize-winning literary translator, a USA TODAY bestselling author, an editor and a blogger. Italicissima is my creative outlet for all of the weird and wonderful knowledge I acquired about Italian while I was working toward my PhD in Foreign Language Education (Applied Linguistics).
Promotional samples (from the Italian and Neapolitan dialect) of Pino Imperatore’s Benvenuti in casa Esposito. Le avventure tragicomiche di una famiglia camorrista (Meet the Espositos: The Tragicomic Adventures of a Camorra Family) and Bentornati in casa Esposito. Un nuovo anno tragicomico (Welcome Back to the Espositos’: A New Tragicomic Year), Florence: Giunti Editore, 2013
The Devil in the Decanter by Adolfo Albertazzi, Words Without Borders, 2004
Excerpt of Ada Gobetti’s Diario partigiano (Partisan Diary). In Thresholds: An Anthology of Literature from the Heart of Texas, Austin: Pangloss Publishing, 2003
The Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries traciandrighetti.com
6 Ways Facebook Has Changed Politics, About.com, August 2012
Setting a new standard: A sociolinguistic Analysis of the regional Italian of Sicily in Andrea Camilleri’s Commissario Montalbano mystery series LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, January 2012
Fun and Free World Language Learning, Language Magazine, November 2011
Morphosyntactic features of italiano regionale in Andrea Camilleri’s novels: A contrastive analysis of historical fiction and the Commissario Montalbano mystery series; with Dr. Cinzia Russi. In D. Brancato (Ed.), La terra di Babele. Saggi sul plurilinguismo nella cultura italiana, Ottawa: Legas, 2011
5 Tips for Hiring a Translator, Inc.com, June 2011
5 Innovative Language-Learning Tools, Inc.com, June 2011