“Parole di donne”, edited by Francesca Dovetto


“Parole di donne”, edited by Francesca Dovetto


On the 12th of March, “laFeltrinelli” hosted the book launch of Parole di donne, edited by the linguist Francesca Dovetto

The debate that ensued from the event could be summarized as follows: persons and things that have no representation in language have no visibility and the absence of linguistic representation reveals semantic obscurity. 
The book, published by Aracne, originates from an interdisciplinary meeting – dedicated to female – dealing with the opportunities for discussion and interplay among different disciplinary areas and among single specificities in the same area. 
In a domain in which male is considered as the rule, female as the difference and individual identity is constructed in discourse, female identity’s construction is to be sought in linguistic discussion. The book consists of contributions by several women (and men!), not only scholars, among which Grazie Basile, Francesca Chiusaroli, Marina De Palo, Cristina Vallini and Anna De Meo (both professors at L’Orientale University).

The title is revealing, since words are the main issue of the book: words spoken by women, words for women, words used to describe women and their roles, titles, language varieties and the ways in which they act, feel and express feelings, emotions and moods.
 During the event, the linguist Francesca Dovetto focused on the twofold nature of the book: language as the site of the cultural construction of gender, conveying a specific view of the world, on the one hand, and the assumption of a feminine perspective and the resulting recognition of a speaker which is sexually defined, on the other.

In discourse, individuals are positioned as social subjects who are gendered in specific ways, and we are use to such gender specificities; the essay enhances the discussion of such inequality in language use. The Italian words “segretario” and “segretaria”, for example, have different implications: the former is associated with an executive secretary, with an institutional or public role; the latter, on the contrary, is associated with a simple secretary, suggesting unimportance of women occupying such a position.
 The “words of female” are compared to a language that is misunderstood and, now and then, they are compared to a deadly wisdom; not forgetting, at the same time, the alterity of female figures – sometimes larger than male’s one – causing them to be conceived as sirens and Muses in mythology.

Chiara Pasquinucci, Traduzione di Azzurra Mancini