The communicative foundation of contemporary Italian punctuation: the case of the comma and semicolon Cover Image

Il fondamento comunicativo della punteggiatura italiana contemporanea: il caso della virgola e del punto e virgola
The communicative foundation of contemporary Italian punctuation: the case of the comma and semicolon

Author(s): Angela Ferrari
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Pedagogicznego w Krakowie
Keywords: comma; semicolon; pragmatic function; morphosyntactic function; text

Summary/Abstract: Grammars typically describe high-register punctuation in modern Italian as being based on syntax and/or on prosody. The aim of this paper is to show that neither point of view is adequate. Punctuation in modern Italian has a communicative function and contributes to the definition of the semantic-pragmatic content and architecture of the text (i.e. the different textual units and the connections between them). This hypothesis will be illustrated with regard to the comma – which I have already dealt with in previous work – and to the semicolon – providing new findings. As for the semicolon, I will show that it has two main uses: on the one hand, it is used to articulate Utterances in a sequence of nuclear Information Units which belong to the same hierarchical level; on the other hand, it is used to join semantically correlative Utterances or to add an Utterance with a local logic and thematic scope to the co-text.

  • Issue Year: 9/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 152-165
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Italian