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Сведения об образовательной организации Во исполнение постановления Правительства РФ № 582 от 10 июля 2013 года, Приказа Федеральной службы по надзору в сфере образования и науки от 29 мая 2014 г. № 785

University news
Saint Tikhon’s University teacher of languages gives presentation on letters from Palermo archive

On March 21, Maria Yurevna Desyatova, the Chair of the Department of Romance Languages at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities, delivered a paper at the 47th International Academic Conference in Philology at Saint Petersburg State University with a paper on the topic, “Sicilian volgare in 14th-century Private Correspondence” (session on Romance and Germanic languages).

A summary of Ms Desyatova’s talk follows:

“The material for this research was provided by archival documents – 28 texts in all – dating to the 14th century, kept in the Palermo State Archive, and published in a 2008 critical edition. The documents analysed are a series of private letters on various social, political, and personal subjects.

“On the one hand, the fact that these texts are very few in number makes it easier to study them in depth. On the other hand, it does not give us an opportunity to put together a clear picture of the written language of the time. Nevertheless, the texts of the letters are interesting from a linguistic and cultural-historical point of view, since they contain valuable information about events that are crucial in forming our overall perception of this era. They also enable us to make a few amendments to our understanding of the written language of Sicily before Tuscan influence began to set in. Moreover, the written tradition of Sicily developed side-by-side with many other vernacular written traditions, whose influence can be studied on the basis of these selected texts.

“Three main questions took shape over the course of the process of studying these 14th-century letters:

“1) Why did the authors of the letters – a queen, a knight, various monks, notaries, and noble lords, in other words, people who judging by their social status were without doubt educated and capable of writing in Latin – choose to write in Sicilian volgare (vernacular)?

“2) What was the main object of composing these letters, and how did the authors of them achieve this goal? What structure and what linguistic formulae did they use in writing them?

“3) Can it be said that the 14th century marked the formation of the epistolary genre in the Sicilian vernacular? If so, then what cardinal features characterize it?

“Studying these archival documents and analysing the text thereof provided a means of answering the above questions, which were also posed during the talk.”

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