The Italian language

Redemption for dialect speakers


  • Teresa Carbutti Centro Internazionale di Dialettologia, Università degli Studi della Basilicata



dialects, Italian, phonetic features, Italianization


Lucanian dialects, as other Italo-Romance dialects, are conditioned by the socio-cultural pressure of Italian. The analysis of linguistic data from some lucanian dialects shows that native speakers are replacing some of their original features with those of Italian. This situation can be observed at all levels, especially at the lexical level and at the phonetic and phonological level. The paper aims to demonstrate that the loss of some original phonetic features of dialects in favour of phonetic features of standard language does not occur casually. Some original phonetic features are replaced by phonetic features of Italian because they are considered as “vulgar” by native speakers. Thus, in the eyes of dialect speakers, standard language appears to be a social advancement instrument and a form of emancipation from their past poverty condition as symbolized by dialects.