Michele Ainis

Linguistic Policy and Legislation in Republican Italy

  • Abstract

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The author offers a systematic treatment of the theme of linguistic policy and legislation in republican Italy, analysing four facets in particular. The first part examines the normative measures that have followed one another from the Constitution on with respect to the protection and valorisation of the Italian language, to the safeguarding of its essential features and to its diffusion. The second part examines the legislation in support of the linguistic minorities. The third part deals with the matter of linguistic policies vis-à-vis immigrants who ask our country for hospitality. The fourth part looks at what is required here, i.e. whether a constitutional duty exists in the matter of linguistic policy. The examination of these four different aspects enables the author to affirm that there is no constitutional duty with reference to linguistic policy, just as in the case of cultural policy, if for no other reason than because in any manifestation of cultural life there is a spark that cannot be planned or else it will die out. Language must be accepted as it is and as it spontaneously evolves, even when it takes on extraneous sounds. But at the same time language is a cultural asset; it is at once the memory of fathers and the horizon of their children. And unhappy is the republic that fails to properly care for its cultural heritage.

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