The Master’s in Linguistics specialisation in Italian Language and Linguistics at Leiden University examines the Italian language from typological, historical and sociolinguistic perspectives. During the programme you will gain insights into the dialectal and regional variations of Italian, through courses that cover both theoretical and applied linguistics, and topics that include the use of Italian and Italian dialects. This specialisation is taught entirely in the Italian language, giving you the opportunity to greatly improve your command of the language.
Check out the programme in Italian Language and Linguistics.
“Even today nobody is born as a native speaker of Standard Italian.”
“My field of specialisation as a researcher is dialectology and formal linguistics, and in Leiden I will be heading a research group focusing on Italian dialects and linguistic variation.
The Italian linguistic scenario is extremely rich. This is partly because of the central location of Italy within the Mediterranean and partly because of the late Italian linguistic unification. In fact, Italian only became the official language at a relatively late stage with respect to other European official languages. As a result, linguistic fragmentation in Italy is the most significant among European countries, and even today nobody is born as a native speaker of Standard Italian. We are all speakers of a regional variety of Italian that can show different degrees of similarity with the local dialect (which is, like all dialects, a sister language of Italian, not derived from it).
Dialects, that encode our culture and tradition, are fast disappearing, particularly under the influence of television. Note that dialects are generally not written and that the last-remaining speakers are dying because of old age. Therefore, if we don’t document these dialects immediately, they will soon disappear, and with them a piece of European culture. Observe furthermore that, as I said, these dialects are sister languages of Italian, and they derive directly from Latin. Hence, they are fully-fledged Romance languages, and constitute a vast set of additional data that offer an important testing ground for linguistic theories on Romance.
I have studied and worked in many different countries, such as Finland, Germany, Canada, the U.S.A. and England. Leiden is a very good university for a linguist because there are linguists here working on many languages and with different approaches, which I find both stimulating and enriching. The University Library also has a truly impressive collection of works.”
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