This one-day event will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the publication of the first grammar of the Italian language, Fortunio’s Regole grammaticali della volgar lingua (1516), ahead of its anniversary in 2016. The event intends to be a re-assessment of the Italian grammatical production in the last five centuries, examining its development from Fortunio’s Regole, which established a long-lasting tradition of ‘grammatica degli autori’ (based on the language of the great authors of the past), until contemporary speaker-based grammar production, a ‘grammatica dell’utente’, which responds to the needs of the public (by means of online dedicated webpages whereby grammarians answer users’ linguistic queries). This event intends to offer an original and ‘different’ approach to grammar and grammar texts and to show how grammar texts, rather than sterile and repetitive ‘objects’, as they are often (unfairly) considered to be, reflect instead the culture, tastes, and needs of their reading public and, more broadly, of the era in which they were produced. Speakers have been invited to present unusual, ‘curious’, and little-known examples of grammar production, both in print and in manuscript, with the aim of bringing to light new facts and events within the history of Italian grammar production, the history of the Italian language and culture, and the history of linguistic thought.

Conference speakers: Massimo Arcangeli, Marco Faini, John Gallagher, Vilma de Gasperin, Anna Laura Lepschy, Giulio Lepschy, Francesco Lucioli, Brian Richardson, Helena Sanson, Ute Tintemann, Nigel Vincent.

Papers will be in English and Italian.

A special issue of The Italianist, collecting the papers presented at the conference, is due to be published in 2016 precisely to mark the 500th anniversary of Fortunio’s Regole.

An exhibition of Italian grammars held in Cambridge University Library will take place between 12 November and 11 December 2015.

The conference is generously sponsored by the Department of Italian at Cambridge University, the Italian Cultural Institute in London, the Modern Humanities Research Association, the Society for Italian Studies, and the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas.

For more information, including a full programme of the event, and to register, see the following link: