Edited by Kate Beeching, Chiara Ghezzi and Piera Molinelli
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 292] 2018
Handbag Shoppers Kantha Cotton Work Handmade BAG10201 Women Patchwork Indian Bag Tote ► pp. 197–Indian Bag Patchwork Women Kantha Handmade Handbag Shoppers Tote Work BAG10201 Cotton 218
Shoppers Bag Women Patchwork BAG10201 Handbag Handmade Work Tote Indian Kantha Cotton dUnpUrx
The evolution of cioè in Contemporary Italian
This chapter analyses the evolution of Italian cioè lit. ‘that is’ in recent diachrony. Cioè developed a social indexicality as in the 1980s it was associated with a young speech style. Through a corpus-based analysis of listeners’ phone-ins to a radio station, this study analyses the functions of cioè in the speech styles of different age-cohorts and its diachronic evolution over the last thirty years. The evolution of cioè shows that speakers employ it creatively, through a progressive bleaching of its original semantic and pragmatic values. The expansion of its functions and contexts of occurrence is so extensive that the expression became stigmatized as a ‘verbal tic’ characteristic of the language spoken by an age-cohort of speakers. These same social values are at the origin of the progressive decline of cioè in new generations of young speakers and in the community as a whole.