At the Crossroad of Dialectology, Sociolinguistics and Language Education

  • Alberto A. Sobrero Professore emerito, Universit√† del Salento


This paper presents a synthesis of the most significant paths and problems of research in Italy, in the second half of the twentieth Century, seen through an autobiographical testimony. We speak of internal changes, due to the evolution of methodologies: the renewal of tools and methods, after the autarchic parenthesis of the first half of the Century; the intrusion of information technology into the organization and analysis of linguistic data; the openness to the problems of a rapidly changing society, with the sociolinguistic approach; the contrasts and mediations between structuralism and historicism. But we also speak, at the same time, of the brakes and conditioning to research by external factors, mainly attributable to strong management of power and the consequent downsizing of the role of free research, accompanied by the deleterious subordination of research to the logic of the market. Finally, the autobiographical perspective highlights the central role of Tullio De Mauro in the renewal of linguistics studies in Italy and in the stubborn persistence of a democratic and inclusive vision even in times of democratic crisis.