Tra imperi e leggerezza: l’italiano lingua illustre? / Among empires and lightness: Italian, illustrious language?
Intellectual achievements, which were barely conceivable until very recently, are now possible in our contemporary global society. However, the world of Internet and its digital inhabitants raise new issues in several fields. In this paper, I will focus on the role written language plays on the social and educational stage dominated by cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices. This new human framework, strongly ego-centered and deictic (i.e. the emphasis is on I-here-now) poses questions related to the role of reading, writing, and thinking. Proposing a new approach to European humanistic tradition should be, in my opinion, the main target at this time in schools and universities. So far, the bulk of linguistic research has been devoted to oral communication as the foremost or unique subject worth studying. Writing competence and more generally the “superior” functions of human language (written communication, fluency in projecting and writing professional texts, adequate comprehension of written texts and, last but not least, so-called critical thinking), deserve greater attention from linguistic research as well as a new approach to teaching at all levels of instruction. For many years, the Girona School has devoted special attention to language in a cultural dimension. The historical development of Catalan or Italian is, needless to say, different. Furthermore, in Italian culture literary and, more precisely, intellectual language played a fundamental role in literature, politics, court life in early modern society, artistic and musical terms, and so on. However, as we are now in a global deictic society, poor in meanings and ideas (what would involve a ruthless dictatorship), conveying meanings and the values of humanistic culture is a major task for education.