My doctoral research intended to analyse the Italian commonly used in Avellino, the main town of the Irpinian province in the Campania region of southern Italy. Subject of this research is therefore one of the regional varieties of Italian; these varieties are particularly interesting since they are languages of “contact”, joining links between Italian and the different dialects of Italy. Albeit to varying degrees, they are also used by all social classes and in all the communication contexts. The adjective ‘regional’ does not refer to administrative regions. Administrative and linguistic boundaries do not coincide because – as is well-known – there are linguistic phenomena that cross regional boundaries and others that are specific to just one area or one province, or even a single locality, in connection with the similarities and/or differences between the substratum dialects. Campania provides an excellent illustration of this variegated linguistic reality. In fact, in this region one can find on the one hand dialectal features – then assimilated into spoken Italian – typical of a large part of southern Italy; on the other, beyond the common feeling that identifies all of the Campanian dialects with the Neapolitan one, an uneven linguistic reality, which is due to the fact that no dialect, not even the Neapolitan, has ever reached the status of regional dialect. The lack of a dialectal koinè is the reason of the absence of an uniform regional Italian. A specific comprehensive study of the Campania regional Italian is missing. In particular, the variety of Italian spoken in Avellino has never been examined (if not as one of the Atlante linguistico italiano localities), even though studies focused on local varieties of Italian are not uncommon and they have been further stimulated in Italy by the recent research project “LinCi – La lingua delle città”. With my research, I aim to provide a description of this variety of Italian, while simultaneously trying to clarify the connections between dialect, regional Italian, conversational Italian and standard Italian; also analysing the mixing of varieties (code switching and code mixing) widely used in speech. In order to gather the data, I prepared a questionnaire divided into two parts: 54 sociolinguistic questions and about 360 lexical, semantic and morpho-syntactic questions; taking into account specific aspects of this regional Italian and focusing particularly on morphosyntax, the knowledge of which is especially lacking in this area. To further investigate morpho-syntax, I also asked the subjects to freely talk about a suggested topic or to describe a series of picture and a video. Moreover, to obtain a better overall picture of the investigated language, I worked with informants of different gender, age (born between 1930 and 1996) and education.
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