This morning he has ceased his earthly journey of one of the most famous linguists of our discipline, Tullio De Mauro. Difficult to get used to such news, in such cases! These are certain people, on whom it is difficult to think of temporary, despite the passing years.
Meetings and meetings in international conferences, always active and reasoning, despite the age of senility, always with a new scientific contribution to linguistics understood as a science and it is precisely for this reason that you do not think at all that a day like this can indicate you: he changed his life.
Tullio De Mauro he is a timeless thinker.
Start with us, saying that every Albanian is indebted to the professor. In the 1999, the Italian Parliament decided to revise the 482 law on the protection of linguistic minorities, given that the previous law had proved to be unmindful of some important languages. The Arbëreshe language was one of these defenseless languages. It succeeded in being included in this tutelary law, thanks to the tenacity of Tullio De Mauro. His speech in that parliamentary session remains historic, in which he recalls the conscience of every Italian senator and deputy, to recall the precious contribution of arbëreshs such as Antonio Gramsci and Francesco Crispi throughout the history of Italy. Thanks to him, the Albanian language of arbëresh today enjoys legal protection.
Up to the 2005 "I had met"The professor only through books. Initially Saussure was our first intermediary. De Mauro was one of the four greatest saussurians in the linguistic world. His translation into Italian of Il Corso and, above all the long and precious appendix, with which he had endowed the edition, had given me the necessary interpretations, not simply on what value Saussure constituted for linguistics in general, but above all on which revolution could constitute The Course on Albanian linguistics, which continued to keep it out of its own delineations.
I decided to undertake the translation of Il Corso in Albanian, just after reading that appendix. In this way I met the thought of the professor, from whom I never left. Later I saw his 10 thesis on a democratic linguistic education. Those theses were (and persist) the Constitution of Linguistics, but totally unknown to our scientific and educational institutions. At the time I served at the Institute of Linguistics. I decided to translate and multiply them and then distribute them to discuss them with the colleagues of the Institute. Their illuminating effect was rapid and just as rapid was the contradictory reaction of the guards of linguistic prescriptivism here with us.
On the principles of these theses, we founded the Linguistic Circle of Tirana in the 2004 and chose Tullio De Mauro as its Honorary President. The goal of the Circle was clear, we would have tried to democratize the most undemocratic of thoughts in our country, the linguistic one, and we would have started from its ten theses and from the observation of living linguistic contexts, just as he did with the Italian when he elaborated “The Great Dictionary of Use". I immediately realized that this neighborhood of linguists needed not only to read it, but to listen to De Mauro, to exchange opinions with him. We needed his help to bypass the compact wall of fog that divided laboratory studies from Albanian users.
We had to overcome the harmful ideologies, the dialectophobia, the distortions of the muzzle towards every linguistic phenomenon. In this way I took courage and wrote to him, although I didn't know him. A simple letter that ended with the words: "Professor of all, acquaintances and not, we need you here in Tirana. The Linguistic Circle of Tirana needs you. "
I did not expect such a rapid response indeed, I did not even expect that kind of answer: "I come willingly and I don't want any reward. For how many days you will consider it necessary, I will be there with you all the time and in all the debates that will continue."
It has arrived. Tullio De Mauro arrived in Albania in October 2005. And he stopped for four days. Four very intense days of lectures, often complicated debates, press conferences, work sessions with the Linguistic Club, signing of interinstitutional agreements (which, due to the limited nature of our institutions, still remain on paper).
I could only say that the linguistic thought in Albania was no longer the intact one from before, from its arrival onwards. For the Albanian linguistic academicism there are two phases: the "first" and the "after" the arrival of De Mauro. The theses were no longer whispers, but officially became the work program of a circle of people, of that Circolo di Tirana who chose him as President.
I continued to keep in touch with him, with the most democratic thinker I had ever known in matters of this science of ours.
We felt and wrote to each other often. In one of his last letters, he wrote to me: "I appreciate your idealism in serving politics, I myself have worked in both the legislative and the executive. But you have a profession and politics is also an illusion. I would like to get as much information as possible from your profession."
He continued to be linked to the Albanian until our last meeting at the International Congress of Malta. After my report on the concrete state of infinity in the Albanian, he called to the attention of those present that the data of the Albanian were looked at in the new elaboration of the Atlas of European Languages and urged him with the words: "Albania she came out of the dictatorship. And for it it is now clear that a language means much more than its own linguistic code. "
They all called him "Professor", regardless of the age everyone could have. We were all, we are all students of his beautiful thought.
Goodbye, Professor of all! May your path be illuminated! Let the lawn, the weather and the season be light! - as we Albanians say!
Translated from Albanian to Italian by Adela Kolea
Follow Albania News on Google News