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IT2: Structures and Varieties of Italian

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.

In this paper you will study the internal structure of the standard Italian language (without regard to its evolution and with particular attention to the so-called 'difficult' points of grammar) together with the internal structure of the minority language systems used in Italy (i.e., the 'dialects'). You will also study the sociolinguistic situation in contemporary Italy.

In the Structures portion of the course you will get to grips with phonetics and phonology (the sounds of Italian and the Italian dialects), morphology (the formation of words), syntax (the structure of sentences), and vocabulary (the words that make up these languages). In the Varieties portion you will become familiar with the dialects, 'popular' Italian, the variety of Italian spoken by the immigrant communities abroad, regional Italian, as well as different registers (literary style, journalistic language, bureaucratic language) and sociolinguistics.



Topics for 2021-22 are as follows:

Michaelmas Term Lectures and Supervisions:

- Giro linguistico dell’Italia

- Phonetics and Phonology: Sound System and Syllable Structure of Italian; Regional Variation

- Morpho-syntax: Nominal Morphology; Pronouns; Auxiliary Selection; Tense, Aspect and Mood

- Lexis

- Interjections

Lent Term Lectures and Supervisions:

- Distribution of Italian Dialects and Regional Italian

- Northern Italian Dialects

- Southern Italian Dialects

- Tuscan

- Italian and Dialects Abroad

Preparatory reading: 

Lepschy, A.L. and Lepschy, G., The Italian Language Today (London: Routledge, 1988)

Sobrero, A., Introduzione all’italiano contemporaneo (2 vols), (Bari: Laterza, 1993) 

Teaching and learning: 

The course is taught through weekly lectures and 4 supervisions per Term.

For the It.2 Moodle site, please see here


The examination for It2 (Structures and Varieties of Italian) will be a take-home examination which you will have two working days to complete. You will have to answer 3 questions, at least one from Section A and one from Section B. The third question can be from either Section A or Section B. The rubric for the exam reads as follows:

Answer three questions, at least one from each section.

For each answer write between 1,200 and 1,300 words

Candidates for this paper may not draw substantially on material which they have used or intend to use in another scheduled paper. Candidates may not draw substantially on the same material in more than one question on the same paper.

If you have any questions, please contact Adam Ledgeway (

Course Contacts: 
Sara Cardullo