La Lega Toscana di Protezione



Anglicized Linguistic Conventions in the Lega Toscana

While the Tuscan League's records boasted plenty of research opportunity regarding member behaviors and relationships, another striking component of the corpus included the organization's linguistic conventions -- specifically in their use of English loanwords in the volume. As a cultural organization of Tuscan individuals, the Tuscan League unsurprisingly documented the meeting's proceedings in Italian. Interestingly, though, the five secretaries who transcribed these minutes all used English loanwords to some extent throughout their writing. The marked use of English in the volume led to the engagement with this corpus at a linguistic level, analyzing when and how English loanwords or words derived directly from English were used, and what it may say about the group's perceived English proficiency.

The primary focus on this investigation is to identify how English is embedded into the otherwise Italian corpus at the linguistic level. To pursue this question, unadapted loans (i.e. entirely English, like tickets) and adapted loans (i.e.italianized words with an English derivative, like le tichette) were both flagged in the corpus, and several linguistic properties were documented. These properties primarily included their orthography, i.e., spelling system; grammaticality; level of productivity, i.e., range of contexts in which a term was used; and, throughout the corpus, range of vocabulary. A quantitative study of these traits may help to reveal the driving forces that impelled these uses, whether those are linguistic, i.e., evidence of English acquisition among members; cultural, i.e., an attempt to integrate the English lexicon without presupposing functional English knowledge; or some combination of the two.

Below are various different analyses on how the Tuscans used English within the bounds of the minutes. These analyses scrutinised linguistic features of the words by observing which words were used, which orthographic system (English or Italian) prevailed and when, the productivity of different words in the volume, the context in which words were used, and whether the words were used in compliance with grammatical conventions. Please continue reading for more detailed information on the relationship between the Lega Toscana and their use of English.

The Appearance of Loanwords Over Time

One of the over-arching questions that drove this research was simply, When do English loanwords appear in the volume, and in which contexts do they appear? With the structural markup that demarcated both the time of meetings and, to an extent, the subject of discussion in the minutes, the answer to this question finds two primary contextual uses of loanwords -- either in general meeting proceedings, or in launching event plans and naming event committee members. The latter represents such an extensive portion of the minute volume simply because the Tuscan League received a generous proportion of both its member activity and organizational funds from their two large annual events, the summer picnic and the winter balls. Thus, it's unsurprising that much of their attention focused on the planning and execution of these events. Further, as the analyses indicate, much of the use of loanwords is found in these event-based discussions, which merits the simple distinction in several visualizations between the loanwords that appear in those moments, and those that appear elsewhere in the minutes.

As stated above, the volume of minutes was penned by five different officers throghout the seven year period, elected annually to the position of correspondence secretary. Figure 1, below, represents the changes in transcribers with changes in background colors. The elected secretaries were the following: Michele Simonetti (1919), Muzio Frediani (1920), Emilio Marchetti (1921, 1922), Eugenio Merciadri (January-May 1923), and Giuseppe Gianni (June-December 1923, 1924, 1925). This change in transcriber is explicitly made in only the first graph, and in recognizing that, during his five-month tenure, Emilio Marchetti used only one English loanword, we can effectively attribute the final three years of the volume entirely to Giuseppe Gianni and, therefore, infer the changes in authorship with the start of new years.

Note: In October of 1924, Gianni wrote a generous portion of the minutes exclusively in English. Given the context and the stark difference in writing style and terms employed, it's assumed he transcribed an English invoice or series of receipts related to associated costs in their participation in a Columbus Day parade. This portion of the minutes was not considered for quantitative analysis in any of the visualizations or discussions below as a result. Read the digitized manuscript, transcription, or translation of that page here to see that specific documentation.

Figure 1 Number of loanwords used * 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 * This count does not include anglicisms identified in what appears to be an English invoice, which accounts for 49 loanwords. 1925 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 Loanwords used in event-based discussions Loanwords used in any other context

In Figures 1 and 2, event-based discussions were identified by isolating text that named event committees, officers, and members and any additional notes on committee responsabilities. Loanwords that were found in any other context throughout the volume were compiled separately.

The first and most telling observation to make from Figure 1 is that there is not much evidence to support use of English loanwords that transcended changes in transcribers. Each individual responsible for documenting the meetings seems to have his own pronounced use of loanwords during the time he held this position. Although there are generalizations we could make about the ues of loanwords in general, these generalizations may not fully represent the actual use of English for any individual correspondence secretary in the League.

With that said, there is a loose correspondence between the amount of event-based discussions held in a year and the number of event-based contexts in which loanwords appear. For example, in both 1921 and 1922, the Lega held five different discussions on upcoming events, and other years either had only two (1919, 1923) or three (1920, 1924, 1925) of those same discussions. In all but the first documented year, loanwords found some use in the context of these meetings.

During these event discussions, the vast majority of English loanwords came to use in naming committee and event chairs. With Simonetti (1919), committee titles (e.g. chairman of arrangement, floor manager, etc.) were written entirely in Italian, while other transcribers used only unadapted English equivalents -- like Marchetti (1921, 1922) -- or code-switched between the two languages -- like Gianni (1923, 1924, 1925). Near the end of the page, figure 4 displays specific words used in a year, and the frequency with which they were used.

The Use of Different Orthographic Systems

In addition to tracking raw counts of how loanwords appeared over time, the distinction between English and Italian orthographic systems was also a primary interest in this research. The orthographic systems were distinguished in attempt to discern whether the individual loanwords were adapted into Italian orthography (e.g. tichette) or unadapted, e.g., tickets. Analyzing this linguistic characteristic in conjunction with the contextual use of the words can help determine the extent to which the transcribers had a functional knowledge of English, or if its use was novel and motivated by extralinguistic factors, e.g., the prestige factor of using the commercially and culturally dominant English language in their own organization.

Adapted loanwords may indicate more definitivey a functional knowledge of or comfort with English language in the fluidity with which they are incorporated into the Italian written language. After a loanword finds conventional use in the target language, that language's grammatical conventions will naturally begin to evolve the word to the point that it complies with those conventions. In this analysis, we refer to that process as italianization.

Unadapted loans generally indicate one of two things: either the speaker/writer is proficient in English to the point that he can freely code-switch between the host and target language, or the use of the loanword is novel and likely motivated by the prestige factor of the host language -- which is to say, it is deemed socially advantageous to incorporate the host language into speech or writing without presupposing a knowledge of the language itself. With this dichotomy between highly proficient and unskilled users of loanwords, the context of use will inform whether the use of unadapted loanwords indicates proficiency in English or, instead, novel use of its words.

Figure 2 Loanwords used in event-based discussion Loanwords used in any other context English orthography Italian orthography 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 32 24 16 8 0 8 16 24 32

Figure 2 illustrates two key factors in studying the compliance with English and Italian orthographic systems: whether a word was adapted or not, and whether that word appeared in the context of event discussions. The latter is incorporated into this visualization to establish the role that the loanwords likely played at that point in the minute log.

Regarding event-based discussions, it's shown that the majority of those words were unadapted from English, with only a handful of exceptions between 1923 and 1925. Of those words, they were almost exclusively named positions of event and committee chairpersons, like floor manager and chairman of arrangement committee, with one exception in 1920 in which the group curates a list of goods to offer at one of their major events.

Between 1923 and 1925, some of the same names were given, but some were adapted into Italian, so instead of writing chairman of arrangement committee, Gianni occasionally wrote capo di comitato arrangiamento, with only the lattermost word qualifying as a loanword.

Figure 2 also indicates that there different perceived levels of comfort with English, and despite a higher use of loanwords in 1921 and 1922 with Marchetti, he used a constricted range of terms in a much smaller context. Marchetti seems to be the greatest example of a prestige factor of English use influencing his use of it, rather than a functional knowledge of the language itself. In contrast, Gianni's entries between 1923 and 1925 are more indicative of a higher -- albeit not enourmously so -- familiarity with English in his ability to adapt words into Italian and his tendency to use them in the prose of the minutes, rather than with the naming of committee positions.

Grammaticality of Employed Loanwords

A direct indicator to the level of English proficiency among the transcribers lies in the extent to which the loanwords complied with grammatical conventions and relationships, respective of the orthography in use. For example, grammatical use of the adapted loanword tickets could be le tichette, which provides articulation of a gender in the preceding article and agreement in both gender and number on the noun form -- two obligatory grammatical features for all nouns in Italian. Ungrammatical use of the adapted loanword only occured in two moments in which the word dollari, i.e., dollars, broke syntactic conventions and appeared at the incorrect point in the sentence, like with the translated sentence to remove dollars 5.00 [from the cashbox]. Additionally, grammatical use of an unadapted loanword is found with the English term bills, written occasionally as i bills. Here, plurality is indicated in the Italian article, and the word itself is also given the English -s inflection, which indicates plurality as well on the noun form. An example of ungrammatical use of an unadapted loanword is found in the phrase 3 tickets, written as 3 ticket in the volume. In this instance, an -s inflection is also required for agreement in number, but only the uninflected form is provided.

In Figure 3 below, orthographies were not considered, and all loanwords were thus considered on the singular property of grammaticality, regardless of whether their form was Italian or English. A well-executed use of the loanword in its grammatical context, irrespective of orthography, indicates some degree of functional skill with English.

Figure 3 Proportions by year Proportions over the years Ungrammatical use Grammatical use Appears outside sentential context (does not apply) 20% 40% 60% 80% 20% 40% 60% 80%

Figure 3 measures the presence of loanwords in two different ways. The width of each year's bar represents the proportion of total loanwords that appear in a year, indicated by the percentage values along the x-axis. The height of each individual bar is representative of that specific value's presence within the scope of only that year. For example, 1922 accounts for just under 25% of all the loanwords in the corups (as indicated by its width), and grammatical loanwords account for about 10% of that proportion. The remainder of all the loanwords in 1922 appeared outside a sentential context, which means they were written in isolation from the prose of the minutes. This category of loanwords is exclusively titles given to event committee members in list form, like chairman of arrangement committee or floor manager, which never inside a sentence and are always uninflected.

Figure 3 puts into perspective the fact that all but the first transcriber relied to some extent on the use of loanwords in titles of committee positions, which is of little help in evaluating their confidence in writing with loanwords. Conversely, one could easily argue that Emilio Marchetti (1921, 1922) exhibited a particularly limited and non-functional use of English loanwords, despite the fact that his years hold some of the highest loanword counts throughout the seven years.

It's entirely unclear whether these titles were spoken by the members in Italian and translated literally into English, i.e., capo di comitato transcribed as chairman, or if the individuals who spoke at the meetings actually used the English terms, i.e., speakers also using the word chairman. In any case, Emilio Marchetti showed a striking tendency to employ the English titles in those instances, with almost no use of English at other points during his two year period as correspondence secretary.

Giuseppe Gianni is an interesting individual to track throughout his three year tenure as correspondence secretary, because his linguistic trends during his time can be interpreted as a lessening reliance on exhaustively used committee titles and a more ambitious attempt to integrate English loanwords into his prose. While he does employ a progressively higher number of ungrammatical loanwords between 1923 and 1925, it could be an expression of his attempt to learn the ropes of effectively integrating loanwords in different scenarios.

Distinct Words Used Over the Years

The final analysis considered in this research zeroed in on specific terms used throughout the duration of the volume of minutes. Figures 4 and 5, below, plot each of the terms used by year to glean the variety of words that the transcribers use year-by-year. This chart does not discern words of different orthographies; the only consideration was the base of the word that found use in a year. Thus, if a word were written as le tichette and tickets within the same year, those results would be considered simply as ticket.

Figure 4 1919 3 1 1920 3 2 2 3 2 1 4 3 1 1921 3 5 5 3 3 2 1922 4 1 6 7 6 5 2 1 1923 3 2 3 4 2 1924 2 4 2 5 5 3 1925 2 5 2 3 1 1 1 2 chairman ticket manager committee dollar floor bill arrangement club box candy reception columbus-day applicant brother

Figure 4 plots all the words that are found at least two different times at any point in the corpus. One can see with this graph words that found consistent use throughout the seven-year period and also words that appear in greater amounts within one year. For instance, the lemma bill appears nine times in the seven years, but five of those occurences fall entirely within the 1924 log, under Giuseppe Gianni. Meanwhile, chairman is shown to be a consistently used loanword throughout the final six years of the log, appearing seveenteen times in all and no more than four times in a given year.

Productivity, i.e., the use of one single word in multiple contexts, is a key indicator of effective apprenticeship of a language; the reuse of a small collection of terms and the isolated use of other words without employing them again are both indicators that these men were likely not actively exercising knowledge of English. Rather, it seems as though the entire Tuscan League may have regularly employed that subset of words reflexively, without a conscious intent to actively incorporate more English into their vocabulary. These are indicators that English was viewed in a prestigious light among the members of the Tuscan League, and that the language's prestige value led them to incorporate it into their writing, rather than their functional knowledge of the language itself.

Figure 5 17 chairman 15 ticket 15 manager 14 committee 13 dollar 11 floor 9 bill 9 arrangement 7 club 4 box 4 candy 4 reception 4 columbus-day 2 applicant 2 brother 1 farm 1 certain 1 badge 1 familiarize 1 chewing-gum 1 baby 1 pop 1 split 1 modify 1 rerception 1 three 1 roll 1 complementary

The perceived proficiency of the transcribers' use of English beyond the scope of orthography or grammaticality resides in the number of distinct lemmas, i.e. root word forms, used each each individual year. To the left, figure 5 lists all of the lemmas used that appeared at least once and the number of times each appeared in total in the corpus. This figure effectively illustrates the restricted vocabulary throughout the years, showing that, all in all, the corpus only contains 28 distinct loanwords. Namely, the most commonly used words are chairman, ticket, manager, and committee, all of which clearly relate to event-based discussions.

Of the 28 words used in all, only fifteen appear more than one time in the corpus. Since almost all of these English loanwords have perfectly suitable Italian equivalents, it's difficult to ascertain the exact reason why some of these words were used in preference to those of their native language. The only exception to this rule is that of chewing gum, which has existed in some form for centuries, but wasn't sold commercially until the late 1940s.