Jazyk jako ochrana kultury
Language as a Culture-Preserving Phenomenon
- Číslo 60 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceSvět literatury: Časopis pro novodobé literatury, 2019, 60, 45-54
Neapolitan, Fascism, mass media, George Steiner, Annibale Ruccello, Neapolština, fašismus, masmédia
The article focuses on two main struggles the Neapolitan language had to deal with in the 20th century. In the introduction, the text presents George Steiner’s theory which argues that people all around the world use so many languages because one of the language’s principal function is to protect the culture and identity of its community against foreigners. In this article, this theory is applied on the Neapolitan and used to rationalize the fact that this southern Italian language survived in the last century against all the odds. Two major threats are stated. The first one was the Fascist era, during which the regime tried to abolish all the dialects and make all citizens speak proper Italian. One of the means to achieve this was a school reform which was supposed to make children switch fluently from their dialect to Italian. The second major threat was closely connected to the expansion of mass media. Neapolitan speakers were slowly acquiring the language used on television, which they often did not fully understand. In consequence, the Neapolitan language was separated from its oral tradition and, according to the Neapolitan playwright Annibale Ruccello, became superficial. In the end, the article claims that Neapolitan is still alive, illustrating this point with the quotation of the linguist De Blasi.