Tullio De Mauro’s theory of language

Concepts, controversies, open questions

  • Raffaella Petrilli Università della Tuscia
Keywords: Language, mother tongue, semantic multiplanarity, transdisciplinarity, language education


The essay traces the core of Demaurian language theory to the connection between activity of verbal signification (language) and its linguistic instrument (idiom). The former influences the latter, conforming different linguistic systems, appropriate to the different needs of signification (physiological and cultural-historical); conversely, the activity of signification can be observed and described from the different conformations of the linguistic systems, of which De Mauro proposed the essential typology. The richness of De Mauro's theoretical legacy, the possibility of further developments and also the problematic aspects and misunderstandings it has encountered are derived from the language/linguistic form nexus, the metalinguistic concepts necessary for the theory and the transdisciplinary methodological approach.