Women and vernacular grammar

Helena Sanson

in Women, Language and Grammar in Italy, 1500-1900

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264836
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754043 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Women and vernacular grammar

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  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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With the opening up of literary society and the erosion of its hierarchy that came about during the course of the Cinquecento, vernacular grammars ceased to be works only for scholars and authors tried to extend their reach also to beginners, foreigners, and women. This chapter examines this process of relative popularization of grammar works and, at the same time, of the Questione. The first section outlines the shift in the envisaged readers of these works, with reference to social and political issues. The next two sections focus on women as addressees of grammatical works, both at the higher end of the social scale and more in general alongside the less learned, respectively. Continuing to follow the development of grammatical production in time, the last section investigates the reasons for the setback that the relationship between women and grammar suffered in the seventeenth century.

Keywords: grammars; readers; Cinquecento; Questione; grammatical works

Chapter.  16752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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