Women writing on language

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 writing on language

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  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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This chapter looks at how women finally made their first appearance in the field of linguistic codification, bringing out works on Italian grammar and on language etiquette in a changed political and social context. In their contribution to the creation of a national form of entertainment in the years when radio and television were still far away, women writers took a less traditional approach to the language of their works in order to overcome the fact that discussions on the Questione had come to a standstill. Their first, scattered remarks on the topic show less preoccupation with form and a more generous approach to and understanding of their audience's needs. The language they used, imperfect as it may have been, did not stop women of all classes from being caught up by the fate of young heroines and sharing their passions and misfortunes. Women writers bent language to fit their own requirements, refusing to let it stand in the way of their long-awaited right to express their full imaginative drive.

Keywords: linguistic codification; Italian grammar; language etiquette; Questione; women writers

Chapter.  18885 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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