Alle origini di una storia naturale dello sviluppo linguistico: la «Scienza nuova»

  • Alice Orrù Università «La Sapienza» di Roma
Keywords: Paolo Marzolo, comparative linguistics, origin of language, philosophy of language, 19th century


The paper gives an overview of Paolo Marzolo’s (1811-1868) contribution to 19th century’s Italian linguistic thought. Despite G.I. Ascoli’s appreciation of his huge work, Monumenti storici rivelati dall’analisi della parola (in four volumes, unfinished), Marzolo has been commonly considered an anachronistic and bizarre thinker. This article suggests resuming and developing the indication of Ascoli, focusing on Marzolo’s theory of the natural origins of language. Three “primary and original” elements of language are identified, respectively called automatic, pathetic and imitative. They will be collected and illustrated, from an interlingual perspective, through three lexics (‘dizionarî’). The final communication process, called the “ideological-phonetic process”, derives from the close interaction of these elements and can be considered as an embryonic semiotic theory.