Latin As a Tool for Social Differentiation. a Study of the Italian Juridical and Medical Language.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Franca ORLETTI, Università di Roma Tre, Italy
Rossella IOVINO, Università di Roma Tre, Italy
Sharing language is an important way to encourage social inclusion, while using different languages can be a tool for social discrimination (Philips 2005). In our research, we consider Latin, an ancient language which is no longer used in any context, including the scientific and religious one. Latin gained great importance as the formal language of the Roman Empire. After its collapse, it evolved into a variety of spoken-only languages, Latin being still used for writing. In other words, Latin was used as a lingua franca up until the 18th/19th century, when it was replaced by national European languages. Nowadays, Latin’s social use has radically changed to a point that it is no longer a language of social cohesion, but rather a powerful tool for social differentiation. In this perspective, the main focus of our research is the analysis of its use within Italian languages for specific purposes such as the juridical and medical one, where Latinisms are often found. More precisely, we aim to present the outcome of a research carried out on five hundred judgments rendered by the Italian Supreme Court from 2010 to 2015; also, a wide number of clinical records made available from two Italian hospitals will be taken into consideration. Our study shows that the study of Latinisms’ use in specific scientific areas is crucial, despite instances of simplification of the language of public administrations are more and more perceived.
Our project is inserted in the series of studies dedicated to languages for specific purposes understood not only as specific vocabularies (Beccaria 1973; Berruto 1987; Cortelazzo 1990; Sobrero 1992), but mostly as “discoursive patterns” that express precise and distinctive professional visions (Orletti 2000). Concerning the juridical language, cf. Gunnarson (1984), Shuy (1993), MortaraGaravelli (2001), Bellucci (2005). As for medical language, cf. Mazzini (1989), Serianni (2005), Orletti&Fatigante (2013).