Contested Languages in the Old World 4

Conference and workshop, Warsaw 2024

  • English

The conference aims to bring together scholars and activists working on the current status and future prospects of contested languages, as well as on issues of corpus and status planning, and how these impact on the speaker communities themselves and on the academic world. The conference will also serve to discuss different sociolinguistic aspects of contested languages functioning in modern society: language ideologies, attitudes and practices.

Researcher Mattia Zeba is taking part to the CLOW4, presenting his article The Protection of Linguistic Diversity in Italy: Between Static Categories and Hidden Political Agendas.

The article explores the complex landscape of safeguarding linguistic diversity in Italy, with a focus on the challenges inherent in the Italian constitutional framework and the resulting status of Italian regional languages (so-called 'dialetti') as contested languages. Starting from recent judgements of the Italian Constitutional Court on the recognition of some dialetti, the analysis aims to shed light on nexus between the contested language status of these regional languages and the uneven legal framework adopted in regard to linguistic diversity in Italy. The article contends that Italy struggles to adopt a cohesive approach to recognizing regional languages, entangled in a historical, political, and ideological web. It critiques the limitations of the current approach, emphasizing the need to overcome a myopic and static interpretation of minority rights and linguistic diversity, which contributes to the implementation of a rigid and exclusionary framework. In shedding light on the politicized nature of language recognition, the article highlights how existing challenges reflect a systemic crossroads where hidden political agendas at all levels intersect with the intricate but necessary task of preserving a rich but often neglected linguistic heritage.

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