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Women, Language and Grammar in Italy, 1500-1900$
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Helena Sanson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264836

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264836.001.0001

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Women writing on language

Women writing on language

(p.302) 6 Women writing on language
Women, Language and Grammar in Italy, 1500-1900

Helena Sanson

British Academy

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

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