BA/MA Thesis

Zantei, Giorgia, Spotto la quarantena e poivorrei Bologna: per un profilo dell'italiano parlato digitato degli studenti UniBo. University of Bologna - BA Thesis in Italian Studies.

Supervisor: Nicola Grandi


Social networks represent a remarkable insight on young generations’ varieties, especially due to such informal communication channels, capable to provide spontaneous writing corpora and therefore to ascertain Italian university students’ range of language choice. Hence, the purpose of this research is to spot and analyze either peculiarities or competence weaknesses by structuring the argument in graphic, textual, morphosyntax and lexical plan, also considering in which way a CMC such as digital spoken Italian combines with the university students’ diastratic variety.

The study has been conducted on corpora constituted by anonymous contributions to three Instagram pages @spotted_unibo_official, @poivorreibolo and @poivorrei_bolo. It underlines a propulsive thrust of ludic-expressive intentions, as well as a heterogenic language competence and some weaknesses thereof, such as uncertain punctuation marks or splice commas. In the second place, neostandard phenomena, traditionally considered at the base of young generations’ varieties, mainly do not seem to take over standard choices, with the exception of interrogative pronouns, by which, to say the least, the standard is outnumbered. Moreover, some strategies often relate to prosodic mimesis, graphically fulfilled by either reiteration of graphemes or caps locked letters, which is very CMC-like. Furthermore, the employment of some anglicisms reveals a possible exposition to informal inputs as well as a preference for non-integrated forms. In conclusion, the amount of meaning attributable to the lemma spottare seems to represent a great example of innovative and creative use of language and immediate imitation of any textual models in a social-aimed perception.

Li Destri, Emanuela, Tratti neo-standard nei testi degli studenti universitari: analisi in prospettiva sociolinguistica e tipologica. University of Bologna - MA Thesis in Linguistics -  24.05.2021

Supervisor: Nicola Grandi

Co-supervisor: Silvia Ballarè

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the presence of neo-standard phenomena in formal Italian written by university students. Studying the language used by university students allows us to evaluate the progress of these phenomena towards the standard: if a neo-standard feature is found consistently in formal texts written by university students, we can presume that this feature is well integrated in the language.

The analysed corpus is made of 257 texts that come from a pilot test done for the PRIN project “UniverS-ITA. The written Italian of university students: sociolinguistic background, typological tendencies, educational implications”. These texts have been investigated for two set of neo-standard phenomena: the first set is made of largely studied phenomena that have different degrees of acceptability in formal and informal situations. The second group, instead, consists of neo-standard phenomena that are more prestigious and that are found in formal language, as the use of the subjunctive instead of the indicative in content clauses. Particular attention has been dedicated to the periphrastic construction “motion verb + a + infinite” due to its widespread presence in the corpus. Moreover, for most of the neo-standard features a typological background is provided, with information regarding the interlinguistic diffusion of the phenomenon.

In conclusion, it seems that the occurrences of neo-standard features in the corpus reflect the judgements of acceptability expressed by Italian speakers and that the phenomena that have not been marked as error in school are more frequent in these texts. Additionally, it is noted that university students seem to prefer phenomena that are less marked from a sociolinguist standpoint.

Bienati, Arianna, Suo di chi? Tendenze di ristandardizzazione nei possessivi di terza persona. University of Bologna - MA Thesis in Linguistics - 19.03.2021

Supervisor: Nicola Grandi

Co-supervisor: Claudia Borghetti


Abstract: This research investigates the alternate use of third-person possessives suo/loro and proprio in the written and oral formal language of 74 university students. The main aim is to ascertain whether the students use suo or loro more than proprio even in the contexts indicated by grammars as typical of the latter form, i.e. the distributive, the synonymic, and the disambiguating contexts. To this end, two experiments were conducted to measure the frequencies of occurrence of the possessive modifiers in the three pivotal contexts. The data collected were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics in order to assess the significance of the differences in the use found. The study shows that proprio is less used than suo/loro only in the synonymic context. Even though proprio seems to hold In the other two contexts, the non-negligible presence of hypercorrections could indicate a certain instability of the norm in this specific area of the linguistic system.