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  • Author: Riccardo Regis x
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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.


This contribution offers a sociolinguistic overview of Francoprovençal (FP) in northwestern Italy. Some aspects of the vitality of FP in Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, as well as the linguistic repertoires of the two communities, are outlined in the first part of the article, while a selection of phenomena arising from contact between FP and Piedmontese is discussed in the second.


The aim of this paper is to present a small selection of linguistic facts that describe currents and contrasts in the Cisalpine Valleys, relying on some ALEPO [Atlante Linguistico ed Etnografico del Piemonte Occidentale – Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Western Piedmont] data.

The area investigated is characterized by a close relationship between different languages and cultures. As it is well known, the Gallo-Italic languages of Piedmont are spoken along with local dialects of two Gallo-Romance languages, Occitan and Franco-Provençal; Italian (and, in some areas, French) obviously has to be added to this rich linguistic repertoire. Data have been collected in 42 localities: 32 pertaining to the Gallo-Romance domain (13 Franco-Provençal- and 19 Occitan-speaking); and 10 belonging to the Gallo-Italic one. The localities in question have been chosen ta take account of both social and linguistic dynamics.

Socio-cultural and economic changes that deeply affected the Alpine Valleys in the last century have also had linguistic consequences, with increasing Italian and Piedmontese influence on varieties of Gallo-Romance, and of Italian on Piedmontese; nevertheless, some instances of mutual influencing between Occitan and Franco-Provençal are also documented, as well as significant reactions on the part of these varieties to dominant codes (namely Piedmontese, Italian, and French).

We deal here with language change at three levels of linguistic analysis (lexical, morphological, and phonetic), showing moreover how a traditional reading of the maps may also yield results of sociolinguistic import.


This paper deals with folk etymology from the vantage point of sociolinguistics. After a critical overview of the concepts of «parole-Volksetymologie» and «langue-Volksetymologie» (Heike Olschansky), a new dichotomy based on the Coserian couple of habla (‘speech’; It. discorso) and norma (‘norm’) is proposed, with the aim of depicting the social diffusion of folk etymology. The categories of «paretimologia di discorso» (‘speech folk etymology’) and «paretimologia di norma» (‘norm folk etymology’) are thus coined and discussed, the examples being taken mainly from Italian and the Italoromance dialects.


This paper addresses the use of partitive determiners in Piedmontese as a case in point for the interplay of language variation and change in Italo-Romance. Firstly, a brief diachronic account will be provided of the development of partitive determiners in Piedmontese, ranging from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; such an overview will rely upon the results of recent studies on this subject. Next, the behavior of partitive determiners in contemporary Piedmontese will be examined; we will draw primarily on some unpublished materials collected within the ALEPO research program ( stands for Atlante linguistico ed etnografico del Piemonte Occidentale, “Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Western Piedmont”), which consist of both responses to a questionnaire survey and spontaneous speech data. The study will help to shed light on the similarities and differences not only between different varieties of Piedmontese, but also between such varieties and Italian. The main paradigmatic differences identified will be argued to relate to two different ways of categorizing the relationship between mass nouns and countable plurals, one in which quantification prevails over classification, and the other in which classification is foregrounded. This state of affairs will then be discussed against the backdrop of the sociolinguistic situation under scrutiny, paying special attention to the contact between Piedmontese and Italian (as well as with French up to the end of the nineteenth century) and to the “superposition” of both an official standard language (i. e., Italian) and a regional koine (based on the variety of Turin) over local varieties of Piedmontese.