Talk: Features of «Italiano neo-standard» (a modern variant of the Italian literary norm) in the novels of southern Italian writers
Italiano neo-standard (Berruto, 1987) is a spoken Italian language variety used throughout the country. Being rather distinct from codified grammar, it is closer to a more conversational, informal, and regional linguistic variety. This paper examines the sociolinguistic situation in Italy, the nature, and the origins of the “Italiano neo-standard” phenomenon as well as current tendencies and changes in the language, that is, morphological and syntactic features and innovations in the information structure in two novels of southern Italian writers. The choice of detective novels is based on the abundance of spoken language evidence – conversational discourse.
Our research is motivated by insufficient knowledge of how the neo-standard phenomenon is presented in literary works. When looking for sources, we found works that covered only specific features of the neo-standard in fiction literature (Treccani, 2013) and in newspaper texts (Borreguero, 2014). Our goal was to make a more comprehensive study and cover more features of the modern Italian norm using fiction texts. As an outcome, we collected a mini-corpora of the examples from the novels with the features characteristic of the neo-standard, traced the frequency with which certain features occur in the text, and analyzed the examples that contradict certain features depending on the context.
Key words: Italian language; literary norm; modern variant of a literary norm; «neo-standard»; language variation