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Marulić's Private Letters: Language as a Means of Diaphasic and Diastratic Differentiation

Smiljka Malinar

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (94 KB) str. 21-38 preuzimanja: 659* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Malinar, S. (2004). Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije. Colloquia Maruliana ..., 13, 21-38. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Malinar, Smiljka. "Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije." Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol. 13, 2004, str. 21-38. Citirano 20.06.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Malinar, Smiljka. "Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije." Colloquia Maruliana ... 13 (2004): 21-38.
Malinar, S. (2004). 'Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije', Colloquia Maruliana ..., 13, str. 21-38. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 20.06.2021.)
Malinar S. Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije. Colloquia Maruliana ... [Internet]. 2004 [pristupljeno 20.06.2021.];13:21-38. Dostupno na:
S. Malinar, "Marulićeva privatna pisma: izbor jezika kao sredstvo dijastratijske i dijafazijske diferencijacije", Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol.13, str. 21-38, 2004. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 20.06.2021.]

Certain sociolinguistically relevant aspects of a relatively recently discovered segment of Marulić’s prose are discussed, providing an array of interesting information about the circumstances surrounding the writing of Marulić’s published and unpublished, or not yet discovered, texts. At issue are seven of Marulić’s private autograph letters from the 1501-1516 that are kept in the Venetian State Archives, discovered and published by Miloš Milošević. Three are written in Ital-ian, more precisely in the Venetian dialect, and are addressed to Split’s Jerolim Ćipiko, canon of St Doimus’ Cathedral, Split, and a close friend of Marulić; the other four are in Latin, and form part of the correspondence between Marulić and Venetian canon, notary and chancellor of the Senate of the Republic, Jacopo Grasolari, who saw to the printing of Marulić’s works (although Marulić did not know him personally). Private and family affairs, as well as considerations arising from current events, are reserved for the letters to Jerolim Ćipiko written in Italian. The information he supplies him about his writings and his achievements is intermingled with his private narrative. Individual circumstances related to the process of printing Marulić’s works are the main topic of the three letters sent to Jacopo Grasolari, while in one of them he discusses the traits of genuine Chris-tian love and friendship. In these letters Marulić used Latin as the language of the relationship that includes a diatopic and diastratic difference between sender and recipient, appropriate to an address to a socially superior interlocutor.
The author’s communicational intention and his selection of topic, and par-tially of the linguistic medium, determine the dominant formal and constructional features of the two bodies of letters, or rather, individual segments of them. Doctrinal and moralistic fragments at the level of verba and at the level of sententiae employ, within the context of the Christian expressive tradition, a confirmed for-mal repertoire that activates suggestive potentials of repetition and variation via figures such as enumeratio and gradatio, homeoteleuton, homeoptoton and antitheton, with frequent isocolic periods and asyndetic links among the sentences (following the scriptural models and derivatives from them). At the same time, in the letters to Grasolari another component of Marulić’s expressive habits, of late Latin origin, comes out, manifesting itself as a relatively greater proportion of complex and ramified periods than is the case in the letters to Ćipiko. In the text that is written in Italian, the more complex forms of syntactical organisation are the result of a direct or indirect imitation of Latin, and the occurrence of them can be observed as the effect of acculturation and a proof of the expressive maturity and flexibility of the given language. This degree of development in Italian is confirmed by Marulić’s letters, at the same time showing the author’s education in and familiarity with the language.
Marulić certainly has at his disposal much more room to manoeuvre when he speaks of mundane affairs, personal, historical or literary and business matters, which do not automatically invoke precisely codified and systematised formal models. Stylisation and the constructional features of the letters to Ćipiko, in the fragments the whole space of which is not filled with direct reference to the transcendental, reflect a level of unforced and at the same time cultivated communication. More spontaneous types of expression are not exclusively related to conversation about family troubles, and are present to the extent that is permitted by the a priori conventional character of the contact and Marulić’s habits as an educated man addressing an interlocutor with the same characteristics. Croatian was the mother tongue of Marulić - the writer himself has left himself unambiguous confirmation of this - and of his local public, in the broadest sense, and his addressee Ćipiko. His address to Ćipiko in Italian does not imply anything about the linguistic competence of this interlocutor. It does however witness to the socially and culturally weaker position of Croatian, of its restricted scope in communication and the powerful presence and acculturative role of Italian among the educated inhabitants of Split. In his literary work and his correspondence Marulić uses Croatian when referring only to intellectually and socially unprivileged recipients: the local public in the broadest sense, thus including the commons and peasants (Judith, the doctrinal and moralistic verses…) or the less educated monks (Od naslidovan’ja Isukarstova i od pogarjen’ja tašćin segasvitnjih) or even nuns (Epistle to Katarina Obirtić).
This state of affairs is the consequence of a whole array of historical, political and economic factors related to the dominance of Venice, not only in Dalmatia but in the whole of the Mediterranean area, reflected in both the cultural and the linguistic spheres.

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