A NEW STANDARD ITALIAN: SURVEY ON THE ACADEMIC WRITING OF STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITIES OF PALERMO AND MESSINA
In the mid-1980s, Sabatini and Berruto theorised the need to support the Italian standard via non-standard varieties (“average use,” or neo-standard) towards which the norm’s barycentre progressively had shifted. Thirty years later, and in light of the dynamism that the uses of speakers have impressed on the system, the issue has become a central one yet again.
This paper investigates the main features of university students’ written language. The corpus consists of 300 e-mails sent to professors and 150 drafts of degree dissertations, produced by students of the degree courses in Humanities, Foreign Languages, Education, and Communication of the Universities of Palermo and Messina.
Despite lacking any quantitative relevance, the results of this research allow us to identify which features of neo-standard Italian are now accepted by speakers in their language uses at the level of (semi-)formal writing, such as academic writing, and to propose a new reflection on the need to redefine the norm of contemporary Italian.