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The current Conference time is: 12th Aug 2022, 07:34:40pm CEST

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Parallel session - A.1.2 Linguistic Pluralism And Minorities In A New Global Perpective: Education And Linguistic Policies
Thursday, 03/June/2021:
2:15pm - 4:30pm

Session Chair: Antonietta Marra
Session Chair: Giulia Isabella Grosso
Session Chair: Antonietta De Feo
Location: Room 1

Session Panels:
A.1. Linguistic Pluralism And Minorities In A New Global Perspective: Education And Linguistic Policies

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Carmelo Bruni

Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

The migratory process has been significantly affecting Italy for more than 30 years, but still the policies coping with of the phenomenon appear problematic, not to say inconsistent. The normative regulations still result in a political debate stubbornly encrusted on the "accepting versus rejecting" dilemma, as if such a pervasive macro sociological process might be managed simply relying on an “on/off” entry mechanism. Foreigner citizens officially living In Italy now share 8.5% of the total population, and we owe them a significant contribution to the demographic growth of the country, whereas Italy has been falling short of the demographic recovery rate since 1975.

A presence so massive and so relevant deserves a different reflection and appropriate policies capable to actively value migrant’s contribution to a pluralistic society. The lack of policies oriented for example to the enhancement of the native languages of migrants in conjunction with the learning of the Italian language has meant that integration has been declined, at best, in a very minimal and scattered inclusion, downplaying the educational resources of those who enter Italy with specific human capital coupled with specific training needs in relation to welfare services.

I here intend to present and discuss preliminary outcomes from of a local research on the living conditions of third countries adult nationals hosted at reception facilities in the province of Viterbo and surveyed by local authorities via a questionnaire. The questionnaire is part of the more complex research programme covering both the census of local social services, NGO and associations working in close touch with the migrant population and the mapping of native young people attitudes towards migrants.

The hypothesis that has guided the research concerns the suspicion that foreigners constitute a human capital not fully recognized and appreciated especially in the primal steps after their arrival. Preliminary analyses (212 out of 400 questionnaires) show that from the educational point of view, half of new arrivals have averagely attained high level of formal education, a quarter have achieved the bachelor’s degree and only another quarter are low achievers (primary education. The main problem arises from the difficulties of recognition and equivalence of formal qualifications obtained in the native country: about 60% of respondents declares that their formal qualification is not recognised in Italy. We are thus faced with a situation of underestimation and consequent under-utilization of competencies and skills which could, on the contrary, boost faster integration into the labour market and therefore into the social fabric if only the regional structures and services of the CPIA, vocational education and training system, CPI were targeted by integrated policies and specific resources aimed at the recognition and enhancement of the educational skills of newly arrived migrants in conjunction with existing Italian language learning services. Ultimately, it is believed that more efforts can be made in the context of reception and integration policies, recalibrating the focus of interventions in favour of inclusive learning schemes that recognises and enhances linguistic and educational differences.


Giulia Isabella Grosso

University of Cagliari, Italy

The presence of immigrant prisoners in the penitentiary context in Europe has determined the existence of an environment of forced coexistence that can be defined as superdiverse (Benucci, Grosso 2015, 2017), as it contains linguistic repertoires and multilingual discursive practices. The data collected within different Eu projects revealed a complex and stratified reality. The presence of such multilingual discursive practices must be valued if we want to put into practice the idea that imprisonment should be a moment of reconstitution of the person, a second opportunity offered by the possibilities of education and training present within the penitentiary. The existing projects and others in progress constitute good practices for the enhancement of cultural and linguistic diversity. In this contribution we will provide data and examples regarding the multilingual repertoires of foreign prisoners; illustrate how multilingualism and cultural diversity inherent in the prison context can be enhanced according to the indications and the theoretical-practical model proposed within CARAP (Candelier, 2007); illustrate the results of the mapping, analysis and census of the linguistic-cultural situation present within the penitentiary institutions examined in the five countries involved and the good practices present in them; illustrate the process of developing theoretical models and practical tools for the development of plurilingual and pluricultural skills by both foreign prisoners and teachers and prison workers.
BENUCCI A., GROSSO G, Buone pratiche e repertori linguistici in carcere, Aracne, Roma 2017.
BENUCCI A., GROSSO G., Plurilinguismo, contatto e superdiversità nel contesto penitenziario italiano , Pacini, Pisa 2015.
CANDELIER M. (dir.), CARAP — Cadre de Référence pour les Approches Plurielles des Langues et Cultures, Centre Européen pour les Langues Vivantes / Conseil de l’Europe, Strasbourg 2007.


Ilaria Fiorentini

University of Pavia, Italia

This contribution analyses some aspects of neo-plurilingualism in Italian primary school. More specifically, it aims at identifying the composition of the linguistic repertoires of new (i.e. second-generation) plurilingual speakers, as well as their linguistic attitudes towards their different languages.

Thanks to migratory flows, in the past 40 years Italian linguistic space has welcomed a plurality of “new” languages (Vedovelli, 2015: 96), which are now part of it along with Italian, dialects, and historical minority languages. This peculiar sociolinguistic situation, where Italian already co-existed in a dynamic relationship with other languages, has allowed these new languages to continue to be vital (Vedovelli, 2017). One of the places where the complexity of (linguistic) coexistence emerges most clearly is probably the school context. The data presented in MIUR (2020), relating to the 2018/19 school year, show that Italian schools have welcomed a total of ca. 858,000 students with non-Italian citizenship (10.0% of the overall student population; they were ca. 842,000, 9.7%, in 2017/18). Therefore, it is particularly interesting to investigate the presence of these new languages and speakers in the Italian school context. Here, second-generation students use Italian (which is usually the only language of literacy) in everyday communication, along with their languages of origin. Since the latter are often limited to the family and private sphere, these students are good candidates for the status of heritage speakers (Andorno/Sordella 2018: 187).

The analysis will be based on a survey which involved 250 primary school students in the city of Bologna. The data were collected in the 2018/19 school year in 11 highly multilingual classrooms, where at least 60% of the students spoke more than one language. The students were interviewed by means of a sociolinguistic questionnaire (Chini/Andorno 2018), which investigated the composition of their linguistic repertories, the contexts of use of the different languages, and the self-assessment of the linguistic skills (Fiorentini/Gianollo 2021). The results show that Italian is mostly positively evaluated, and it is indicated as part of the linguistic repertoire by almost all the students. On the other hand, the languages of origin are gradually losing contexts of use, and the linguistic skills are generally considered inadequate. A further, more qualitative analysis, based on 27 oral interviews with students who had participated in the first survey, will deepen the linguistic attitudes towards the different languages of the repertoire.


Andorno C., Sordella S. 2018, I repertori e le competenze. In Chini, M., Andorno, C. (eds.), Repertori e usi linguistici nell’immigrazione, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 173-198.

Chini M., Andorno C. (eds). 2018. Repertori e usi linguistici nell’immigrazione, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Fiorentini, I., Gianollo, C. 2021. L’alfabetizzazione nella classe plurilingue. Un’indagine a Bologna. Lingue e linguaggi 41, 215-232.

MIUR. 2020. Gli alunni con cittadinanza non italiana A.S. 2018/2019.

Vedovelli, M. 2015. Fra 40 anni, l’Italia che verrà. Lo spazio linguistico e culturale italiano fra lingue immigrate, andamento demografico, ripresa economica. Italienisch, 73, 78-109.

Vedovelli, M. 2017, Le lingue immigrate nello spazio linguistico italiano globale. In Vedovelli M. (ed.), L’italiano dei nuovi italiani. Aracne, Roma, 27-48.


Viola Monaci

Università per Stranieri di Siena, Italia

This research aims to collect and analyze the prison jargon, expressive codes with which foreign prisoners come into contact. The prison context, characterized by plurilingualism, pluriculturalism and defined as a space of linguistic-cultural contact and superdiversity (Vertovec 2007), hosts a slang language that reflects on customs, ideologies, attitudes, and the beliefs of those who use it intertwining with different expressive codes, such as the use of jargon, the presence of signs and graffiti on the walls and code mixing. In light of these peculiarities belonging to the linguistic panorama of prisons the first results of research concerning the existence of a prison we-code (Ferrero 1972) are presented through the collection of a corpus, which will then be classified and finally described in the uses and lexical functions. The research involves the involvement of some sectors of interest such as Linguistic Landscape (Gorter 2006), Sociolinguistics, Semiotics, and Foreign Language Didactics. A first collection of the corpus was produced from existing projects in the sector (see Benucci, 2007, 2009; Benucci, Grosso 2015, 2017) and from the study of the literature of reference (Ferrero 1972, 1991; Mathew 2013). Through research tools, which are specially designed and elaborated according to the Mixed Methods (Heigham, Croker 2009), it was possible to carry out a first administration in 4 Italian prisons (located in Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Lombardy), for a total 19 questionnaires submitted to the prison population and 15 to prison staff. From an initial analysis of the data collected up to now, the presence of 152 items of variety of jargon, and this referred us to some reflections: how does the expansion and contagion of these codes between distant institutions take place? Do diatopic variants and dialects influence jargon with alloglot terms? Finally, a first mapping of the linguistic space was carried out, considering the resident/working population and the relative linguistic biography, in such a way as to be able to correlate the extra-linguistic variables for possible application in terms of Didactics of the Italian Language to Foreigners, for the acquisition of a pragmatic competence that can be spent outside the prison.

BENUCCI A. (ed.) (2007), Italiano Libera-mente. Linsegnamento dellitaliano a stranieri in carcere, Perugia, Guerra.

BENUCCI A. (ed.) (2009), Liberare la comunicazione. Atti del seminario pilota per operatori penitenziari, Perugia, Guerra.

BENUCCI A., GROSSO G.I. (2015), Plurilinguismo, contatto e superdiversità nel contesto penitenziario italiano, Pisa, Pacini.

BENUCCI A., GROSSO G.I. (2017), Buone pratiche e repertori linguistici in carcere, Roma, Aracne.

FERRERO E. (1972), I gerghi della malavita: dal Cinquecento ad oggi, Milano, Mondadori.

FERRERO E. (1991), Dizionario storico dei gerghi italiani: dal 400 ad oggi, Milano, Mondadori.

GORTER D., (ed.) (2006), Linguistic landscape: A new approch to multilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual matters.

HEIGHAM J., CROKER R. A. (2009), Qualitative Research in Applied Linguistics – A Pratical Introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, UK.

MATHEW D. (2013), Prison language: a psychoanalytic approach to the language of British young offenders in the twenty-first century, «International Forum of Psychoanalysis», 22(2).

VERTOEC S. (2007), Super-diversity and its implications, «Ethnic and racial studies», 30(6).


Marco Pitzalis1, Antonietta De Feo2

1Università di Cagliari, Italy; 2Università Roma Tre, Italy

Sardinia is one of the Italian regions where schools are a privileged channel for developing language policies. Educational institutions can establish activities for teaching the regional language and promoting the cultural traditions of local communities by setting the methodologies and the procedures for engaging qualified teachers.

The paper presents the results of research carried out between 2017 and 2018 on the use of the regional language(s) in Sardinian schools, commissioned by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia to the research group of the CIRD (Centre for Research on Education and Culture) of the Universities of Cagliari and Sassari. The aim was the analysis of practices, representations and characteristics of school projects and the attitudes among teachers concerning the use of the Sardinian language(s) in schools.

The survey included a qualitative (1) and a quantitative (2) research strategy. In the first case, there was an extensive collection of interviews and focus groups with school and institutional actors involved in policies and practices on teaching in regional language(s). In the second case, a survey was addressed to a sample of teachers in Sardinian schools (excluding nursery schools).

The main hypothesis that drives our research is that the school is not a neutral space with regard to language policies. In the school field, the policy on the protection and promotion of the use of regional and minority languages opens up a range of possibilities that depend on the political will of the school actors themselves (teachers and headmasters). Schools intervene in the language policies starting from teaching and learning purposes, up to the choice of what language should be adopted (e.g. which variety of the minority language to teach). In other terms, school is a field of struggles regarding “language policy”, translated into different practices that touch the cultural, institutional and political dimensions.

Following Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory (1984; 1989) and S. Ball’s micro-political perspective on the analyses of social processes within schools, this article aims to highlight teachers as policy actors i.e. as groups who contribute to disseminate the meanings that define the linguistic policies and its moral and political objectives.


Ball, S. J. (2003), Politics and Policymaking in Education: Explorations in Policy Sociology, London: Routledge / Normal University Press

Bourdieu, P. (1984), Homo Academicus, Paris: Ed. du Seui

Bourdieu, P. (1989), La Noblesse d’état, Paris: Ed. du Seuil.

Pitzalis M., De Feo A. (2019), Micropolitics of School Innovation: Recruiting, Mobilizing and Converting Teachers, in Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 11(1), 69-90.


Igor Deiana

Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Italy

This paper concentrates on the linguistic and educational policies aimed to foster the social and linguistic integration of foreign people and in particular of the ones which arrived with the most recent migratory flow. Focusing on the key role played by public actors, the paper analyses the support offered by the Provincial Centre for Adult Education, commonly called CPIA (Centro Provinciale per l’Istruzione degli Adulti), in particular thanks to its Italian language courses for foreigners (Percorsi di alfabetizzazione e apprendimento della lingua italiana or Percorsi AALI). Starting from the analysis of the educational policies for the linguistics integration of foreigners and the results of the experiences developed in the adult educational field, we try to understand the quality of Percorsi AALI, to identify their critical aspects and to understand their causes. Thanks to the results of a survey administrated to a sample of CPIA’s teachers in 2020, we tried to evaluate if Percorsi AALI can be said to be part of a systematic action plan and a structured approach or if the Italian government still seems to be uninterested in this.

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