Sicilian Elements in Andrea Camilleri's Narrative Language

Sicilian Elements in Andrea Camilleri's Narrative Language

A Linguistic Analysis

Cinzia Russi


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Sicilian Elements in Andrea Camilleri’s Narrative Language examines Camilleri’s unique linguistic repertoire and techniques over his career as a novelist. It focuses on the intensification of Sicilian linguistic features in Camilleri’s narrative works, in particular features pertaining to the domains of sounds and grammar, since these have been marginalized in linguistic-centered research on the evolution of Camilleri’s narrative language and remain overall understudied. Through a systematic comparative analysis of the distribution patterns of selected Sicilian features in a selection of Camilleri’s historical novels and novels of the Montalbano series, the author identifies the individual features that have become most widespread and the lexical items that are targeted with highest frequency and consistency. The results of the analysis show that in the earlier novels, Sicilian features are rather sparse and can be attributed to linguistic situational functionality; that is, they function as indices of salient, distinctive aspects of topics, settings, events/situations, and characters. Conversely, in the latest novels, Sicilian elements pervade the entire novels and the texts are written almost entirely in Camilleri’s own Sicilian, vigatese, so that Sicilian is stripped of any linguistic situational functionality.


Cinzia Russi:

Cinzia Russi is associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin.