Inventare una lingua segreta in classe: consapevolezza metalinguistica e apprendimento L2

Incontri: Rivista Europea di Studi Italiani. 2018;33(1):27-41 DOI 10.18352/incontri.10233


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Journal Title: Incontri: Rivista Europea di Studi Italiani

ISSN: 0169-3379 (Print); 2214-7705 (Online)

Publisher: Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services)

Society/Institution: Werkgroep Italië Studies (WIS)

LCC Subject Category: General Works: History of scholarship and learning. The humanities | History (General) and history of Europe: History of Italy

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: English, Dutch, Italian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Federico Gobbo (Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC) Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen Universiteit van Amsterdam Spuistraat 134 1012 VB Amsterdam)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 30 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The invention of a secret language in the classroomMetalinguistic awareness and L2 learningWithin the context of the Montessori School of Milan (Italy, via Milazzo) there is an innovative language laboratory held over two school years (pupils’ age: 9-11). The main goal of this laboratory is to foster pupil’s metalinguistic awareness, through the collective invention of a secret language belonging to all class members, with the help of researchers and teachers. Usually, languages are invented for artistic purposes − such as Star Trek Klingon − or for international communication, as was the case with Esperanto. It is less common to invent languages for didactic purposes. In this laboratory, every class invents its own secret language starting from the phonetic space until idioms and translation, passing through morphology and syntax. A lot of attention is paid to the language of instruction, i.e. Italian, by contrast: the invented language should be different enough from Italian in order to guarantee secrecy. The presence of many pupils belonging to families speaking at home languages different from Italian shows how the process of invention permits them to dramatically improve their competence in Italian being an L2 in a fun way, especially by writing bilingual texts Italian-secret language.