Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0192 (AF:308409 AR:170295)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
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The course is part of the Master Degree in Italian Literature and Philology.
The course aims to provide students with advanced competences in the linguistic analysis of written texts, both old and modern, and their historical and cultural contextualization. The achievement of this objective will enable students to apply autonomously the methods and tools of historical linguistics, discourse analysis and stylistics to texts of the past and Contemporary Era, both literary and non-literary.
1. Knowledge and comprehension:
1.1 To be acquainted with the main strategies of linguistic invention in literature and the functions of invented words and expressions in the literary texts.
1.2 To be familiar with the authors of the Italian literature, from Dante until present, who have employed invented languages and with the role of linguistic inventions in their works.
1.3 To be acquainted with the relations between linguistic invention, construction of imaginary languages and the coeval linguistic ideas, according to the authors and their eras.
2. Capability of applying knowledge and comprehension:
2.1 To be capable of identifying the different forms of linguistic invention in literature and the functions of invented lexical items according to the texts and their genres.
2.2 To be capable of contextualizing the authors and texts commented upon during the lessons and to connect the forms of linguistic invention with the coeval linguistic ideas.
3. Judgement ability:
3.1 To evaluate critically the originality and efficacy of invented words, expressions and grammars in literary texts of the past and of the Contemporary Era.
4. Communicative abilities:
4.1 To be able to communicate the strategies and functions of linguistic invention in literary texts, by using a convenient technical lexicon.
5. Learning abilities:
5.1 to be able to study critically the reference texts, by hierarchizing information and making connections between different notions.
Students must possess the basic principles of History of the Italian language and History of the Italian literature, generally acquired through the courses of Linguistics and Literature of the Bachelor Degree in Lettere.
Students must have achieved the formative objectives of History of the Italian language I and II and Italian Literature (13th-20th centuries).
In the Italian literature, as in other European literatures, words, expressions, sentences, even whole texts in invented languages are not rare: famous examples are giant Nimrod's shout "Raphèl maì amècche zabì almi" in Dante's Inferno and the poem in pseudo-Persian contained in Landolfi's Dialogue on the Greater Harmonies. Linguistic invention is also attested in a less "pure" form, i.e. as the elaboration of codes, pastiches and jargons resulting from the contamination or deformation of historical-natural languages: the most known example is the Macaronic literature of the 15th-16th centuries, in which the morphology of Latin is applied to vernacular and dialectal lexicon, but also in more recent times the artificial mixing of languages and even the use of invented words in otherwise grammarly Italian texts have been experimented. Finally, in the fantastic literature of the 20th century descriptions of imaginary (often improbable, if not impossible) languages are found, whose construction is strongly influenced by the coeval linguistic theories.
During the course, Italian literary works containing invented words, expressions, etc. and their authors will be examined, from the Middle Ages until present. For each text (passages of narrative poems, novels, plays, whole poems, short tales), the strategies of linguistic invention and their stylistic functions will be shown. Moreover, attention will be paid to the authors and their periods, especially as far as the main coeval linguistic theories are concerned. A glance at the wider European context will also be necessary, notably at those authors, such as Rabelais and Carroll, who have used invented languages in their works and influenced analogous experiments in Italy. The course aims to thematize a recurring phenomenon in Medieval, Renaissance and Contemporary literature which has not yet been studied organically, attempting a classification of the forms and functions of the invented linguistic items and, if possible, the individuation of a diachrony of linguistic invention in the Italian literature.
Students are required to study the following articles and essays, which will all be available in pdf in the e-learning platform moodle.unive.it:

1. Alessandro Bausani, Lingua e invenzione, in Id., Le lingue inventate. Linguaggi artificiali – Linguaggi segreti – Linguaggi universali, Roma, Ubaldini editore, 1974, pp. 11-49.
2. Peter Dronke, I giganti dell’«Inferno», in Id., Dante e le tradizioni latine medioevali, Bologna, il Mulino, 1990, pp. 65-96.
3. Lorenzo Renzi, Un aspetto del plurilinguismo medievale: dalla lingua dei Re Magi a «pape Satàn aleppe» [1993], in Id., Le piccole strutture. Linguistica, poetica, letteratura, a cura di Alvise Andreose et al., Bologna, il Mulino, 2008, pp. 298-312.
4. Alessio Decaria, «Il filo di un ragionamento»: lettura del «sonetto ebreo» di Burchiello, «Per leggere», a. X n. 18 (primavera 2010), pp. 15-29.
5. Paola Bottalla, Un caso estremo di traduzione impossibile: il «Jabberwocky» di Lewis Carroll, in Gianfelice Peron (a cura di), Premio “Città di Monselice” per la traduzione letteraria e scientifica, Monselice, il Poligrafo, 2003, pp. 164-172.
6. Valeria Caruso, Traduzioni senza senso, in Cristina Vallini et al., Traduttori e traduzioni, Napoli, Liguori, 2011, pp. 63-92.
7. Beatrice Stasi, La lingua impossibile: il problema estetico «spaventosamente originale» del “Dialogo dei massimi sistemi”, «Chroniques italiennes», 81-82/2-3 (2008), pp. 139-159.
8. Daniele Baglioni, Poesia metasemantica o perisemantica? La lingua delle “Fànfole” di Fosco Maraini, in Valeria Della Valle, Pietro Trifone (a cura di), Studi linguistici per Luca Serianni, Roma, Salerno ed., 2007, pp. 469-480.
9. Daniele Baglioni, Lingue inventate e nonsense nella letteratura italiana del Novecento, in Giuseppe Antonelli, Carla Chiummo (a cura di), Nominativi fritti e mappamondi. Il nonsense nella letteratura italiana. Atti del Convegno di Cassino (9-10 ottobre 2007), Roma, Salerno ed., 2009, pp. 269-287.
10. Daniele Baglioni, Odeporica fantastica e lingue immaginarie: su "Viaggio in Drimonia" di Lia Wainstein, in Alessandro Cinquegrani, Ilaria Crotti (a cura di), "Un viaggio realmente avvenuto". Studi in onore di Ricciarda Ricorda, Venezia, Edizioni Ca' Foscari, 2019, pp. 175-187.

Moreover, students are required to learn the notes taken during the lessons and to read carefully the texts commented upon. All readings will be made available in the e-learning platform moodle.unive.it.
Students will have to pass an oral exam of 20-30 minutes. During the exam, students will demonstrate their knowledge of the subjects that have been illustrated in the lessons and that are described in the reference texts.
Frontal teaching. All materials read and commented upon during the lessons will be available in the e-learning platform moodle.unive.it. Although the course is not conceived as a seminar, feedback from students will be constantly solicited, according to an interactive and dynamic idea of teaching. Furthermore, the reading and analysis of texts will be in some cases integrated with audiovisual materials.
Students not attending the classes will have to contact Prof. Baglioni and agree with him a different program.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 10/04/2020