This paper sets out to examine a cross-section of books by native English speakers who recount via first-person narration their experience of taking up residence in Italy and moving into a new house, focusing primarily on how their relationship with the Italian language is described. It will be argued that little reference is made to what is arguably the greatest obstacle of all when English speakers and non-Italians in general put down roots in Italy – tackling everyday life and establishing new relationships in a language which they barely know. Central to the analysis will be the reporting of the direct speech of the protagonists of these works, particularly when the language of the original exchange must be Italian. This will lead onto the issues of polylingual discourse through a generally monolingual medium, of stancing between native and non-native speakers, and of how a number of the factors discussed can contribute to excessively seductive representations of Italian life. Lastly it will be suggested that the concept of target orientation, usually applied within the domain of studies on translation, may provide insights into the approaches adopted by the authors of the works examined, perhaps disclosing a general reluctance to engage with the linguistic and psychological difficulties inherent in learning a new language in a foreign land.

The absentee language: the role of Italian in the work of expatriate writers in Italy / Stewart, Dominic. - In: CULTUS. - ISSN 2035-2948. - ELETTRONICO. - 10:(2017), pp. 124-144.

The absentee language: the role of Italian in the work of expatriate writers in Italy

Dominic Stewart
2017

Abstract

This paper sets out to examine a cross-section of books by native English speakers who recount via first-person narration their experience of taking up residence in Italy and moving into a new house, focusing primarily on how their relationship with the Italian language is described. It will be argued that little reference is made to what is arguably the greatest obstacle of all when English speakers and non-Italians in general put down roots in Italy – tackling everyday life and establishing new relationships in a language which they barely know. Central to the analysis will be the reporting of the direct speech of the protagonists of these works, particularly when the language of the original exchange must be Italian. This will lead onto the issues of polylingual discourse through a generally monolingual medium, of stancing between native and non-native speakers, and of how a number of the factors discussed can contribute to excessively seductive representations of Italian life. Lastly it will be suggested that the concept of target orientation, usually applied within the domain of studies on translation, may provide insights into the approaches adopted by the authors of the works examined, perhaps disclosing a general reluctance to engage with the linguistic and psychological difficulties inherent in learning a new language in a foreign land.
Stewart, Dominic
The absentee language: the role of Italian in the work of expatriate writers in Italy / Stewart, Dominic. - In: CULTUS. - ISSN 2035-2948. - ELETTRONICO. - 10:(2017), pp. 124-144.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11572/192494
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