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Research project

The influence of dialect in Italian fiction and its consequences for translation

This research project intends to examine the influence of dialect and of other ‘non-standard usages’ in contemporary Italian literature and look at the consequences that this influence has for translation into English. The project is intended to open up new approaches to the study of literary works in which the presence of multiple linguistic codes is particularly significant and to the translation of dialect and linguistic varieties.

While ‘pure’ dialect literature has received exceptional academic attention, very little has been done on dialect as a linguistic variety used in combination with other varieties within the same literary text. The literary use of dialect, exploited by writers particularly in contemporary prose, in a polylingual context seems, so far, not to have raised much interest in the academic world, despite the fact that such works are translated.

Dott.ssa Andreucci's research aims at:

  • examining the way in which Italian literary works in which vernacular and standard language coexist have been translated, at both micro and macro textual level;
  • analysing the range of strategies open to translators when faced with variation and non-standard usages from Italian into English in an attempt to bring a significant contribution to the study of translation and dialect;
  • investigating the way in which translation strategies relate to the (changing) status of dialect and of polylingual literature, and also the way in which those strategies are linked to the marginality or otherwise, i.e. to the status, perception and reception, of dialect literature; this aspect will be investigated in relation to the case of Italian dialect over the last century.

In this research, Dott.ssa Andreucci will ask questions not only on translation but also on the ‘Italian canon’, ultimately hoping to use translation to illuminate some of its blind spots. In particular, she will question the traditional opposition between 'standard language' and dialect, examining the way in which twentieth-century writers have exploited multiple codes to create a complex literary language.