Vol. 30:2 (2007) ► pp.261–290
Between the real and the unreal
The mimesis of Italian speech in TV series
In this paper I present a work in progress concerning the mimesis of Italian speech, which is possible to study not only into the two traditional forms of language — written and spoken — but also in broadcast language of tv series. In order to find examples of mimesis of spoken language which are as close as possible to the contemporary linguistic reality, I have excluded all specialised TV programmes which cater for specific contents and sectorial registers and I concentrate on television stories of TV fiction.
Tv fiction can be divided up into various narrative formulae and, depending on the subject matter, in different macrocategories. I have focused my study on a particular kind of fiction based on realistic serial format: family fiction, which narrates the daily life of a family or group of families whose stories become entwined in a succession of petty or major events where the language must necessarily draw on colloquial Italian.
The corpus analysed in this first phase of the research project was taken from two series: La famiglia Benvenuti (1968) and Un medico in famiglia (1998). I have selected a shortlist of phenomena which best match up to the characteristics of spontaneous speech, grouped in four areas of analysis: 1: Register and lexical–grammatical phenomena; 2: Linguistic commonplaces; 3: The polyvalent ‘che’; 4: Mechanisms of segmentation and focalisation.