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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ITAL2025 Linguistic Variety in Modern Italy

20 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Dr Gigliola Sulis

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

Knowledge of Italian A2/B1 level in CEFR


ITAL1010Ital Language, Level 1
ITAL1030Beginners Italian 1
ITAL1035Beginners Italian 2

This module is mutually exclusive with

ITAL2026Linguistic Variety in Modern Italy

Module replaces


This module is approved as a discovery module

This module is approved as a skills discovery module

Module summary

Would you like to find out why well over half of Italians speak local dialects, both within the family and outside it? Are you curious about linguistic changes related to space, time, social class, and gender?This course will help you to recognise the varieties of language used in Italy today, and to understand the historical causes of this variety.You will learn about the differences between informal and formal Italian; the recent emergence of a new, less formal standard; the formation of regional Italians (the variations from region to region in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary); the evolution of the use of tu, voi and Lei; the roots and the changing use of the dialects of Italy, as well as of the linguistic features that distinguish one dialect from another.The second part of the module will address varieties of Italian used in specific sectors ('sectional' languages), such as youth language, the language of advertising, the language of newspapers, bureaucratic Italian, the language of politics, Italian in TV, cinema songs. Also gender issues in relation to Italian language will be debated.This module is taught with weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars, in semester 1 and 2. It is suitable for students with previous knowledge of the Italian language and a strong interest/curiosity in the connection between language and society.


- To provide an introduction to the analysis of varieties of languages used in modern Italy
- To provide, through the analysis of the language, an awareness of the social and economic life of contemporary Italy
- To improve students' linguistic skills
- To prepare students for term/year spent abroad

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should have a knowledge and understanding of language in use in modern Italy, including formal, informal, and regional varieties of the standard; dialects; and sectional languages.

They should also have an understanding of the historical causes of linguistic variety and standardisation in Italy.

Students should be able to discuss these topics critically in writing and orally.


The module will focus on the language used in speech and writing in modern Italy, and it will cover the following topics:
- Causes of linguistic variety and unity in Italy
- Types of Italian: Informal and formal Italian, Regional Italian, Pronouns of Address, Neostandard Italian
- Dialects of Italy: Morphology and syntax of dialects, Changing Uses of Italian and Dialects
- Sectional languages: Youth language, Italian in Advertising, The Language of newspapers and the mass media, The language of politics/politicians
- Gender issues

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Module blog: Students contribute regularly to the module blog, and they receive formative feedback on it in class.
Seminar presentations: Students are expected to give one oral presentation in seminars, on which they receive oral feedback.
Other individual feedback is given by the tutor to students at office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Assignment2 x 1,000-word commentary50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:15:16


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