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Annick Paternoster


Stylistics of the literary dialogue, the pragmatics of politeness and impoliteness in three dialogical genres: theoretical dialogue, theatre and the novel. Metapragmatics in relation to conduct manuals.
I studied Romance Philology at the University of Antwerp, where I obtained a grant (1990-1994) from the Belgian Research Council (FWO) for a PhD in Romance Linguistics and Literature, on 16th Century Italian theoretical dialogue. I lectured Terminology and Translation at the Lessius Hogeschool, Antwerp, before moving to the United Kingdom, where, in 1999, I was appointed Visiting Research Fellow for the Department of Italian, at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Leeds. My collaboration with the Istituto di Studi italiani dates from 2007.
Research and pubblications
I am interested in the linguistic make-up of dialogues within literary texts and my research belongs to the field of literary stylistics, which analyses style using the methodology promoted by linguistics and especially pragmatics. I have become increasingly interested in a new field of research that has developed within historical pragmatics: historical (im-)politeness. Past uses of (im-)politeness are studied in close connection with the discourse on (im-)politeness of that historical period, using a wide variety of socio-cultural sources such as conduct literature, rhetorical treatises, school manuals, etc. These texts are also interesting in that they are historical expressions of metapragmatic awareness: they explicitly reflect on the norms that are supposed to guide the ongoing self-monitoring of 'polite' communication.

Currently I am the senior researcher of the research project "The reasons for politeness. The birth of contemporary politeness in the behavioural treatises in 19th century Italy", in which I collaborate with Carlo Ossola and Andrea Rocci. The project, which is funded by the Swiss National Research Foundation, started September 2014 and will run until 2017.

For the XIV conference of the International Pragmatics Association, 2015, I have organised, with Marcel Bax, University of Groningen, the panel Towards a Diachrony of Relational Work: Factors behind Sociopragmatic Change in 18th and 19th Century Europe.

In 2016 I have spoken at conferences and workshops in Helsinki, Dublin, Manchester and Leeds. I was the co-organiser, jointly with Elena Musiani, University of Bologna, of a panel dedicated to La donna nei galatei dall'Unita al primo dopoguerra held at the conference From Mothers to Citizens: Italian Women from Unification to the Republic, organised by the University of Cambridge.

In 2017 I will intervene in conferences in Fribourg, CH (ECA) and Belfast (IPRA).

Recent Publications

Cortesi e scortesi. Percorsi di pragmatica storica da Castiglione a Collodi, Roma, Carocci, 2015, 335 pp.

- Dániel Z. Kádár, Annick Paternoster, Historicity in metapragmatics. A study on ‘discernment’ in Italian metadiscourse, "Pragmatics", 52, 3, 2015, pp. 369-391.

 - Annick Paternoster, Francesca Saltamacchia. (Im)politeness formulae and (im)politeness rules: metadiscourse and conventionalisation in 19th Century Italian conduct books, in Elena Maria Pandolfi, Johanna Miecznikowski, Sabine Christopher, Alain Kamber (eds.), Studies on Language Norms in Context, Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang (Duisburg Papers on Research in Language and Culture), 2017, pp. 263 - 301.

Media contact
In 2013 I conducted a programme for the Swiss National Radio, RSI Rete Due, in the cycle "Giovanni Boccaccio e l'arte della narrazione", in which I presented the story of Tancredi and Ghismunda (Decameron, IV, 1) and interviewed the Swiss writer Giovanni Orelli. November 2015 I gave a public lecture in the conference cycle "Qui e ora - materia del vivere" dedicated to the cultural history of coffee.