Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2017

How standard regional Italians set in: the case of standard Piedmontese Italian

Riccardo Regis

Abstract

This chapter will focus on standard Piedmontese Italian, i.e. the standard variety of Italian spoken and written in the northwestern region of Piedmont. First of all, I will sketch the sociolinguistic dynamics lying beneath the formation of both regional and standard regional Italian, and discuss the concepts of destandardization and restandardization, with relation to the Italo-Romance context. I will then examine three syntactic features lato sensu, their degree of standardness in Piedmontese Italian being tentatively proved by their occurrence in spoken and written model texts: 1) a phonotactic phenomenon, i.e. the selection of the definitive articles lo ‘the’ (singular) and gli ‘the’ (plural) before suocero ‘father-in-law’ / suoceri ‘fathers-in-law’, whereas standard Italian would only allow the selection of il and i (thus, il suocero / i suoceri); 2) a lexical/ morphosyntactic element, i.e. the focus particle solo piu ‘lit. only more’, which has no correspondent in standard Italian; and 3) a morphosyntactic construction, i.e. the omission of the preverbal negation when a postverbal negative quantifier or a postverbal negative reinforcer is used (e.g. importa niente ‘it does not matter’, lit. ‘it matters nothing’, as opposed to standard Italian non importa niente, lit. ‘it does not matter nothing’).

The interpretation of the data will be suggested in terms of both simplification/ complexification patterns, assessing if a new standard feature simplifies or complicates the linguistic system, and source language/recipient language agentivity, following Frans Van Coetsem’s model of language contact phenomena.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston