Commemorating the Death of Dante

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What can Italian teaching learn from Dante not as a poet, but as the world’s first language planner?

Professor Emeritus Joseph Lo Bianco, University of Melbourne

Date: Monday 18 October

Time: ACDT: 5:30-6:30pm

Mode: Via Zoom, to register, go to

In this presentation, Professor Lo Bianco will explore a much less recognised achievement of the great and foundational poet of Italian and Italy. He will discuss the significance of De Vulgari Eloquentia (DVE), a Latin text that Dante wrote proposing the development of a national language as part of the process of national unification. It would take more than six centuries for his dream to be fulfilled, but in DVE Dante established himself as possibly the first serious theoriser of how language change occurs, how vernaculars can be developed, and how multilingualism functions. He will describe the situation of Italian in Australia today and develop some critical lines for future development building on insights from Dante, which, even if they are very old, are still surprisingly fresh and relevant. In this work we find insights also into a precursor of access and opportunity to language, so often an instrument of exclusion and so richly a tool of emancipation.



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