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Language, reason and education

Studies in honor of Eddo Rigotti


Edited By Giovanni Gobber and Andrea Rocci

Language as reason represents the unifying theme of this multifaceted reflection on Eddo Rigotti’s scientific contribution offered by his students and colleagues on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. Spanning argumentation theory, linguistics, psychology, semiotics and communication sciences, the volume reflects Rigotti’s generous personality and his trajectory of semiotician, philosopher, linguist and specialist in argumentation studies. Language as an instrument of communication with semiotic peculiarities is considered at different levels in which it manifests traces of reason at work. This means considering how reality reveals itself by means of language and how the semiotic character of language structures is used by people to enable joint actions and change the natural and social world. Particularly in focus is the realm of argumentation, that is of those joint actions where people exchange reasons in various communities, fora and markets in view of understanding and practical deliberation. To argumentation Eddo Rigotti devoted all his research efforts in recent years, with a keen sense of its intrinsic educational value and a sincere care for fostering the development of the argumentative mind.
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Sabine Christopher, Bruno Moretti, Elena Maria Pandolfi, Barbara Somenzi: Intercomprehension and receptive skills in Italian for enhancing the individual’s multilingual repertoire in quadrilingual Switzerland


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Intercomprehension and receptive skills in Italian for enhancing the individual’s multilingual repertoire in quadrilingual Switzerland

SABINE CHRISTOPHER, Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana; BRUNO MORETTI, University of Berne; ELENA MARIA PANDOLFI, Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana & BARBARA SOMENZI, Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich

1. The sociolinguistic context of quadrilingual Switzerland

1.1 Societal and individual plurilingualism

The Swiss linguistic landscape is characteristic not only because of the number of languages present in a relatively small territory (German, French, Italian and a set of Rhaeto-Romance varieties, ordered by numbers of speakers), but also because of the status of official language of the first three and of semi-official language of the latter1. In spite of the difference in numbers of speakers, the Swiss Constitution attributes German, French and Italian equal status. Moreover, within the four linguistic communities, a variety of dialects are used in everyday conversation. In the German-speaking part, the diglossic situation is quite distinctive in as much as the numerous dialectal varieties enjoy a very high level of prestige and are used regularly in public debates and in the media.

The Swiss Confederation is undoubtedly characterized by institutional and societal plurilingualism. However, the multilingual repertoire of the individual in the different language territories may vary a great deal.

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The legislation demands the promotion of comprehension and exchange between the linguistic communities by means of a series of language policy measures, such as...

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