LINGUIST List 9.1610

Sat Nov 14 1998

Qs: Italian dialect, Tone, Speech, Ling/Edu article

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  1. Giampaolo Poletto, Use of subjunctive in Italian dialects
  2. Vincent DeCaen, Tone downstep
  3. ParkerJ, Sister speech communities
  4. Geoffrey S. Nathan, Linguistics and Education article

Message 1: Use of subjunctive in Italian dialects

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 15:50:47 +0200
From: Giampaolo Poletto <>
Subject: Use of subjunctive in Italian dialects

My name is Giampaolo Poletto, and I am collecting material to write a
short article on the use of subjunctive in Italian dialects, in
comparison with the use of it in Italian.

As far as I could observe, native dialect speakers tend to have and
use the subjunctive tenses regularly. Tenses are morphologically
different, according to the areas and due to the variations and
changes typical of a definite area. They can inform us with the
original model influencing or directly giving that specific form; that
original model usually ranges among the options sorted out and
displayed in the group of languages deriving from Latin. Whatever
their form may be, they can always be recognized as belonging to the
subjunctive mode and are used according to grammar rules valid for the
Italian language as well. They thus express doubt, wish, uncertainty
and so on, the way they do according to the Italian grammar set of
rules and because of the need to provide a distinctive form
corresponding to the expression of such feelings, attitudes, emotions,

The difference is that a native dialect speaker makes a regular
use of them, whereas an Italian native - rather than a native Italian
speaker - has many more difficulties both in using the subjunctive and
in using it correctly. A native dialect speaker tends to interiorize
the rule and make the correspondent and correct use of it far more
than an Italian native. The latter may not recognize the Italian
language as their own, or may not recognize the Italian language as
their own the way the former does with the dialect. The former and
the latter in many cases are the same person, born in Italy and grown
up in an area where the presence of dialect is somehow relevant. Even
though he - or she - does not speak or understand dialect, when it
comes to use the subjunctive tenses in the Italian language he or she
can easily resort to the indicative tenses. He or she would not do
that and stick to the rule, if either they were native dialect
speakers or were living or were in constant contact with some. They
do not need to study or learn `dialect` grammar, and they do not
either. They need to study and learn Italian grammar, and they do, on
the contrary.

This is the view I would like to expose. I am looking for witnesses,
examples, texts and comments agreeing or disagreeing, or simply
different. Any contribution is welcomed and I will report them,
together with my conclusions, through the list.

Please, write to:

Giampaolo Poletto
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Message 2: Tone downstep

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:19:25 -0500 (EST)
From: Vincent DeCaen <>
Subject: Tone downstep

I'm looking for something recent and detailed on the tone languages of
Africa, and specifically on the tonal downstep or downdraft. Is this a
current research project for someone? I'm also intensely interested in
the connection between such prosody and the principles of musical
progressions and hierarchical structures. I'm interested in the
putative isomorphism between downstepping and right-branching trees.

Vincent DeCaen, Ph.D. <>

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative
c/o Deparment of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor, University of Toronto, Toronto ON, M5S 1A1
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Message 3: Sister speech communities

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:37:34 -0500
From: ParkerJ <>
Subject: Sister speech communities

 I'm researching familial speech communities, particularly those bonds 
 between sisters. Does anyone have any research suggestions or
 personal experience stories that could help show how, linguistically, 
 a speech community of sisters differs from a non-related female speech 
 community -- beyond the obvious shared history and DNA.
 I'm eternally grateful for help and/or guidance,
 Jennifer Parker
 Graduate Student -- English Literature
 Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Message 4: Linguistics and Education article

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:13:28 -0600
From: Geoffrey S. Nathan <>
Subject: Linguistics and Education article

For someone not on the LINGUIST list I am trying to track down an
article in Linguistics and Education:

Rampton, Ben. 1996. Youth, Race and Resistance--A sociolinguistic
perspective. Vol. 8:159-173.

	Our library's copy is out being bound (returning too late to
meet a deadline). Could someone with a copy contact Ellen Utsinger
<> if they could help. Many thanks,

Geoff Nathan

Geoffrey S. Nathan
Department of Linguistics
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale,
Carbondale, IL, 62901 USA
Phone: +618 453-3421 (Office) FAX +618 453-6527
+618 549-0106 (Home)
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