History of the Italian language II (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Serenella Baggio
Serenella Baggio
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre - sede Trento dal Sep 18, 2017 al Dec 22, 2017.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course proposes an enhancement of master students’ knowledge and capacity of morpholexical analysis in a field analysable by various points of view and through different methods: the history of chromonymy in the Italian language.

At the end of the course the student will be expected to be able to:

a) know colours taxonomy, the semantic fields centred on basic denominations, the secondary denominations with their morpholexical rules in contemporary standard Italian;
b) compare the standard with other chromonymic systems, recognising and describing them in popular texts, written and spoken, and ancient texts, literary and practical, with a special focus on artistic works;
c) reflect on universalistic and relativist ethnolinguistic interpretations, apply the methods of structural semantics, reflect on the connections between language and culture, between vision physiology and colours denomination.


Theme units of the course:

a) ethnolinguistics of the colours: basic and secondary chromonyms; the universalistic hypothesis, relativist hypotheses; semantics of the colours: lexical morphology;
b) dyeing matter and pictorial matter; the chromonyms in the artistic literature;
c) social and symbolic aspects of the colours; heraldry and iconography.
The course will be carried out through lectures and seminars.
Oral and written texts will be analysed during the lectures.
Images of artistic works will be shown and analysed with reference to artistic literature and topics of chromatic symbology.
Foreign linguists will be invited to talk about their chromonymic systems in order to have a chance of linguistic and cultural comparison.
The bibliography corresponding to the theme units is the following:
a) Berlin & Kay, Basic color terms, Stanford University;
b) Motolese, Italiano lingua delle arti, Il Mulino;
c) Pastoureau, Blu, storia di un colore; Nero, storia di un colore, Ponte alle Grazie.
The course will take place in the first semester.
Since the activities consider various forms of interaction, the attendance is strongly recommended. The active participation guarantees the guided exercise of the techniques of analysis and the collective construction of the course contents.
However, didactic material will be available online on a moodle.
Non-attenders will add to the bibliography:
Brusatin, Storia dei colori, Einaudi.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
B. Berlin and P. Kay Basic color terms Stanford University 1999
M. Pastoureau Blu, storia di un colore Ponte alle Grazie 2008
M. Motolese Italiano lingua delle arti Il Mulino 2012
M. Pastoureau Nero. Storia di un colore Ponte alle Grazie 2016
M. Brusatin Storia dei colori Einaudi 1985

Assessment methods and criteria

Skills assessment will occur at the end of the course, with an oral exam with the professor on the topics studied during the lectures.
The assessment takes into account the methodological and terminological maturity achieved by the students, namely their ability to apply independently the web of concepts learnt during the course to the analysis of an iconic or verbal text.