«Con una voce sua propria». Parola e pensiero in Dino Provenzal

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] "In a voice of its own." Word and thought in Dino Provenzal

Margherita Borghi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


[Autom. eng. transl.] Dino Provenzal (Livorno, 1877 - Voghera, 1972) was an Italian intellectual, teacher and writer. His numerous works are mostly devoted to reflection on the Italian language or aimed at the world of school. His school career, first as a teacher and then as a principal, unfolded throughout the Italian territory: from here Provenzal was able to acquire a deep knowledge of the school and linguistic reality of the country, of which he felt proudly a citizen, maturing and nurturing a lively interest for the issue of school and national language education. Already a pupil of Giovanni Pascoli, he maintained, as evidenced by a well-stocked correspondence, relations of friendship and correspondence with intellectuals of the caliber of Giuseppe Lombardo Radice and Giovanni Gentile, in whose elaboration of the reform of the school system he participated with interest and seriousness, but also with Bruno Migliorini, with whom he exchanged prudent linguistic reflections, and of the publisher Ettore Formiggini, with whom he shared the Jewish origins and the drama of the persecution in the years of the fascist regime in Italy. In fact, in his experience as a man and as an educator, he lived intensely this historical period, from which biographical works and denunciations of injustices and the calculating manipulation of the language implemented by the regime arose. Provenzal was always animated by a great passion for the language and its teaching. He committed himself to promoting a conscious linguistic use across the nation, choosing as public for his works not only students, but also «media people, and also less than media, culture, children, craftsmen, people who speak linguistics they know little or nothing ». For him, in fact, the word represents thought and, however imperfect and partial this representation may be, it is the only tool that distinguishes man from animals and relieves him from brutality. The better you know the language, therefore, the better you can express what you think; the better you speak, the better you write. Hence the importance of a study of grammar and authors that goes beyond pure notionism. A path, this, which however needs to be tackled also in reverse: knowledge of the language is the most effective weapon against the misuse of the word itself, against the misleading attempts of those who manipulate it to seek consensus or mask abuses. Knowing how to use the word allows you to master its enormous potential without being overwhelmed: the word makes you free. The better we speak, the better we think.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] "In a voice of its own." Word and thought in Dino Provenzal
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationParola. Una nozione unica per una ricerca multidisciplinare
EditorsB Aldinucci, V Carbonara, G Caruso, M La Grassa, C Nadal, E Salvatore
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Letteratura italiana
  • Parola
  • Provenzal
  • Verità


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