The Milan School of Linguistics

  • Emanuele Banfi Accademia della Crusca


The article deals with the role played by three great scholars: Grazia-
dio Isaia Ascoli, Carlo Salvioni and Vittore Pisani. Ascoli can be considered the
founder of the Milan School, Salvioni was in close contact with the neogramma-
ticians of the Leipzig School and Pisani, heir to the teaching of both, promoted
three generations of scholars who contributed to the growth of the Sciences
of Language in Milan and in other Italian Universities. Particular attention is
paid to the role of Pisani not only as an indo-europeist but also as a scholar
interested, in an original way, in linguistic-general and philosophic-linguistic
issues. Pisani intended linguistic phenomena not as ‘abstract’ phenomena – as
in structuralist thought – but as complex products of historical and pragmatic
dynamics. In his theoretical conception, central is the role of the ‘speaker’ and
the idea of ‘language’ as a historical-social reality that can be described through
the analysis of isophones and isoglosses (relating to the morphological, syntac-
tic, lexical and semantic levels). The article ends with a list of Pisani’s direct and
indirect students who later became recognized scholars and with an indication
of their scientific interests.