A textual analysis of the Fundamental Principles of the Italian Constitution

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Presented by Mr. Gian Marco Farese (ANU) with an introduction by H.E. Pier Francesco Zazo, Ambassador of Italy in Australia

In 1946, after 85 years of monarchy and 20 years of Fascism, Italy became a democratic Republic as a result of the first universal suffrage referendum to have ever taken place in the country. During the following year, 556 deputies (including 21 women) worked on several versions of the text which eventually became the official Constitution of the Italian Republic, promulgated on December 27th 1947.

The so-called “Fundamental Principles”, the first twelve articles of the Constitution, embody the core values of the newly founded Italian Republic, as well as the rights and obligations of all citizens and the relations of Italy with the Catholic Church and with other countries. Italians take pride in describing their Constitution as ‘la più bella del mondo’, and it is not difficult to understand why. The “beauty” of the Fundamental Principles lies not only in the form and content of the text, but also in their originality; the twelve introductory articles anticipate, to a large extent, many of the articles contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and encapsulate many of the key principles of the European Union, of which Italy is one of the original founders and members.

For the first time ever, the Fundamental Principles will be analysed and presented in English by an Italian linguist and by an Italian Ambassador to a foreign country. The analysis is made combining the approaches of Text Linguistics (De Beaugrande and Dressler 1981) and of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (Wierzbicka 1972; Goddard and Wierzbicka 2002, 2014), and is strictly focused on the linguistic and literary aspects of the Principles.

The presentation will be transmitted live in both Australia and Italy starting from 5:30 p.m. Australian time and 7:30 a.m. Italian time through the Facebook page ‘Education & Culture Italian Embassy Canberra’ (https://www.facebook.com/cultura.canberra/).

The event is organised by the ANU Humanities Research Centre in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Canberra and is supported by the Presidency of the Italian Republic.

Updated:  30 May, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications