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The Issue of Endangered Language Minorities in Italy

Currently, the field of anthropological linguistics is significant in social sciences. Due to globalization, various issues concerning language policies, language interaction, and use began to emerge. Indeed, the methods and principles of the social sciences are valuable in defining and investigating these issues. One specific issue that needs research is endangered linguistic minorities in Italy. Nowadays, Italy is inhabited by various populations belonging to different peoples and cultures and speaks non-Italian languages. As a rule, these are inhabitants of remote regions that have little or no influence on the government (Vizi, 2019). The rights and opportunities of these people are essential for understanding the general limits of language diversity and correct evaluation of the policies that aim to resolve the issue. Thus, the current state of research and a question for further investigation will be provided.

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For research of the issue, several primal resources were used. First of all, an important source was Pipyrou (2017), who provided information on the legislation that determines the language minorities policy in Italy. Moreover, the author described the poor condition of the Grecanici population. Next, Vollstädt (2019) revealed the perspective of Slavic minorities in Italy, as well as discussed the implementation of language policies. Finally, Vizi’s (2019) research was enlightening about the situation in Trento and Albanian-speaking communities, concentrating on the matter of cultural identity. The papers are similar in the questions of a legal system that controls language use in Italy. However, they demonstrate the perspective of various minorities and, accordingly, different experiences of language suppression. The sources are appropriate for investigating the issue due to the fact that they observe the situation from different points, and yet they provide essential explanations of the ongoing language phenomena. While looking for the sources, I tried to get information that could be compared, so I looked for different language minorities. As a result, the most appropriate sources communicate the most relevant information about minorities.

Certain social science principles apply to the issue that I have chosen to discuss. These include social institutions, social norms, and values. For example, Pipyrou (2017) describes the linguistic situation of the Grecanici community by mentioning their linguistic norms, the Italian government, and the attitudes and values of the community. Social institutions are the structures that involve the cooperation of a certain population group and serve some purpose. The work of social institutions determines the representation of social phenomena. In turn, social norms are rules that arrange the interaction of a group, limiting or promoting some actions or traditions. Finally, the values represent the range of common interests in the group that is considered important or useful. These social science principles play a role in the research issue that I chose to investigate.

These social science principles, in certain ways, apply to the issue. Before all, the social institutions which are involved in the issue are the government and education organizations. Precisely, the government of Italy suppresses the minorities, not including their languages in the list of the official ones (Vollstädt, 2019). There is no public approval of the use of the language, which makes the minorities feel vulnerable and foreign in their country. Next, schools and universities do not teach students these languages, showing them that the future of their “dialects” is inevitable death. Moreover, social norms declare that in public meetings, people should use the national language instead of the mother tongues of these people. Finally, the issue of language use determines one’s values, such as patriotism expressed by speaking the native dialect instead of imposed language. Therefore, the Italian language minorities’ issue is important for social sciences and corresponds to its principles.

The issue is not only significant but also not researched thoroughly currently. Reading the available and relevant information, I developed a range of different questions about the further investigation of the issue. The most critical questions are about the difference between the realization of the policies for language diversity and the factors that contribute to the demise of such programs. Therefore, the research question would be: what factors influence the protection of language minorities in various regions of Italy?

The research question could be further investigated by a social scientist. As such, one can compare the works that describe the issue in different regions to extract the factors that influence implementation. Next, some external research about the economics and language situation should be assessed to gain a holistic view of the problem. Further, social scientists might gather data that contributes to the understanding of the factors and compose statistics. The statistics would explain the correlation of the factors and the success or failure of the policies more precisely. Moreover, interviewing some individuals from the regions is promising since it would provide the notion of public opinion on the issue. If the interviews are not available, researchers could investigate the posts and comments on social media that would reflect some views on the policies of language minorities in Italy. Thus, these steps are relatively affordable and can be done by social science researchers to answer the question.


Pipyrou, S. (2017). Suspended lives. Anthropology News, 58(6), e366–e370. Web.

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Vizi, B. (2019). Linguistic rights and small minority communities in Italy from Trento to Sicily. In F. Tanács-Mandák (Ed.), Identity Crisis in Italy (pp. 131–147). Dialóg Campus.

Vollstädt, N. (2019). Challenges of European language policies: The Slavic minorities in Italy. Mediterranean Language Review, 26, 91. Web.

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