The language-race nexus in the Italian anthropo-linguistic-geo- graphical debate: Francesco Lorenzo Pullé between Cattaneo and Ascoli

  • Alice Orrù University «La Sapienza», Rome
Keywords: Francesco Lorenzo Pullé, Carlo Cattaneo, Graziadio Isaia Ascoli, substratum, language-race nexus


Ostracized from Ascoli’s school for a ‘scientific-patriotic conspiracy’, the Sanskritist Francesco Lorenzo Pullé (1850-1934) reinterprets the Cattanean-Ascolian ethno-linguistic theory of the substratum according to a correspondence between the different languages (favelle) and the respective peoples (genti) inhabiting the Peninsula due to the influence of natural (climate, soil) and physical-moral (character) elements. This strong taxonomic anthropo-linguistic-geographical bent at the lexical and conceptual levels, rooted in anthropometric and craniological studies, is then enshrined in the inextricable intertwining of geographic-linguistic thought and political ideology.

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