Which variety of italian are we teaching? Teacher cognition on the neostandard as target model for italian as a second language. The case of the pronoun system.
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The present study is the first attempt to investigate teachers’ attitudes and beliefs related to the variety of the Italian language that should be presented as a pattern of proficiency in the teaching of Italian as a second language (L2). Specifically, the paper explores the beliefs of Italian L2 teachers about the usefulness and appropriateness of two concurrent standard varieties: the norm of the literary tradition, and the neostandard - an emerging variety representing the language which has the greatest frequency of use. While in Italian school settings the literary standard is still regarded as the referential norm for native speakers, it turns out to be an inadequate model for the teaching of Italian L2 because of its distance from the actual spoken language. Although the majority of contemporary scholars agree on the necessity for introducing neostandard features in Italian L2 syllabuses (e.g. Corbucci 2009; Maffei 2006; Santipolo 2001; Sorbrero and Miglietta 2011), grammar and course book authors are holding on to a conservative position against them.