FrIngE Project

The French in/of Italy: Code-MixiNG in Medieval Europe

Type of project: National  |  Start date: 17/10/2023  |  End date: 17/10/2025

What happens when different languages come into contact? How do they interact and blend with each other?

These are the central questions of the “FrIngE” project, which will undertake the first systematic investigation of works written in French on the Italian peninsula (or by Italian authors active in the eastern Mediterranean) between the second quarter of the 13th century and the end of the 15th century. During this period, the Italian peninsula was one of the most important trading partners of the French crown, which also controlled parts of Southern Italy. Economic and political relationships facilitated the influx of French and Occitan (artistic, literary, and linguistic) material, and this line of medieval tradition played a fundamental role in intercultural exchanges in medieval Europe.

The corpus of texts targeted by the project ranges from works written in very correct French, where the influence of the Italian substrate can still be detected, to texts written in a deeply mixed language where varieties of French and Italian coexist in a dynamic balance. Emblematic of this second linguistic pole is the case of so-called “Franco-Italian” texts, written in a highly hybridised linguistic variety. A systematic study is still lacking for texts in which different linguistic systems blend, giving rise to hybrid forms not present in either Old French or Italo-Romance varieties.

The “FrIngE” project aims to describe the main linguistic features of the French language in Italy, based on data extrapolated from the corpus of lemmatised texts. Semi-automatic lemmatisation will be performed, adapting the open-source software Pyrrha.

The annotated corpus will allow the extraction of previously unknown information, providing a new perspective on code-mixing, both linguistically and broadly in terms of historical and cultural contexts.

The results of this interdisciplinary research, combining multiple approaches (linguistic history, cultural history, corpus linguistics, and digital humanities), will contribute to advancing knowledge, tools, and methods in the field of cultural and intellectual history in Italy and medieval Europe.


Funding body:
PRIN 2022 - SH5

Grant agreement:
CUP B53D23023260006


CNR-ILC role:

Project coordinator:
Francesca Gambino (Università di Padova)

CNR-ILC Research Unit Chair:
Elisa Guadagnini

Manuel Favaro