28860 - History of the Italian Language (Lm)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Matteo Viale

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/12

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Culture and Language for Foreigners (cod. 0983)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Feb 13, 2023 to Mar 24, 2023


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The student enrolled in this course is expected to have just reached a moderate skill in Linguistics and Italian grammar. On successful completion of the course, the student will be able to learn and apply in practice the knowledge acquired, to use analyzing tools and to apply the methods of learning discussed in the course, in order to examine in depth and revise in complete autonomy his\her own knowledge. The student will be able to use the main instruments for the evaluation of a text, literary or not. He/she will be able to analyze any text and to relate it to the cultural and literary context in which it was produced, to its way of dissemination and reception, in a multidisciplinary perspective.

Course contents

The course is mainly aimed at those who have not already done historical-linguistic studies and aims to provide an overview of the events of Italian linguistic history and the main problems of diachronic reconstruction: internal and external linguistic history, literary language and common language, relationship between the center and periphery, question of the linguistic norm, factors of Italianization.

The course is divided into three interconnected areas:

  1. Birth and evolution of the Italian language: elements of historical Italian grammar.
  2. Moments of linguistic history through the analysis of exemplary texts.
  3. The promotion of Italian through its history: the Museo della lingua italiana.

In particular, this last point is aimed at operationally reviewing the contents studied in the course with a view to the active enhancement of the Italian language inside and outside national borders, reconnecting to the experience of the MUNDi - MUseo Nazionale Dell’Italiano [Museum of the Italian language] that is being established in Florence, in the complex of Santa Maria Novella.


  1. Texts and material available on the e-learning platform of the course.
  2. Paolo D'Achille, Breve grammatica storica dell'italiano, Roma, Carocci, 2019 (nuova edizione).
  3. Giuseppe Antonelli, Il museo della lingua italiana, Milano, Mondadori, 2018.

Non-attending students must complement the programme in place of point 1 with the following text:

  • Roberta Cella, Storia dell'italiano, Bologna, il Mulino, 2015.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars and workshops; round tables with experts.

Assessment methods

For all students, the exam consists of a written exam. The written exam aims at assessing the knowledge of the concepts, methods and tools of the history of the Italian language and assess the ability to use the conceptual tools for the study of texts.

The exam is differentiated between attending and non-attending students. The exam consists of 29 multiple choice items (of 0.5 points each) and 5 open-ended questions (2 of 5 points and 3 of 2,5 points each) about all the readings. For incorrect or not given answers the score is 0 points. The final grade is given by the sum of the points, where 31 and 32 correspond to cum laude.

In the evaluation of the open-ended questions the following evaluation grid will be used:

  • full score (80-100% of the score): detailed knowledge of the contents of the bibliography, combined with a precise and widely effective language;
  • average high score (60-80% of the score): excellent knowledge of the bibliography, expressed through a precise and overall effective language;
  • average score (40-60% of the score): good knowledge of the bibliography and use of a language sufficiently precise and congruous, albeit with inaccuracies and excessive simplifications;
  • low-medium score (within 40% of the score): sometimes uncertain knowledge of the contents of the bibliography and language with inaccuracies and inconsistencies;
  • no score assigned: serious gaps in the preparation and use of imprecise and ineffective language.

Students whose mother tongue is not Italian must have a good knowledge of the Italian language.

Teaching tools

Students who regularly attend the lessons can use the reference material provided online. In particular, an up-to-date calendar of the classes and an e-learning platform reserved to attending students.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Matteo Viale