Tullio De Mauro

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Tullio De Mauro
Tullio De Mauro Trento 2007.jpg
Italian Minister of Education
In office
25 April 2000 – 11 June 2001
Prime MinisterGiuliano Amato
Preceded byLuigi Berlinguer
Succeeded byLetizia Moratti
Personal details
Born(1932-03-31)31 March 1932
Torre Annunziata, Italy
Died5 January 2017(2017-01-05) (aged 84)
Rome, Italy
Political partyIndependent
Alma materSapienza University of Rome
Tullio De Mauro with the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
Medal meritorious of science and culture - Rome, 1 June 2007
1st Class / Knight Grand Cross - Rome, 11 June 2001
2nd Class / Grand Officer - Rome, 2 May 1996

Tullio De Mauro (31 March 1932 – 5 January 2017) was an Italian linguist, a professor emeritus of general linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and an Italian politician.


He was the younger brother of the journalist Mauro De Mauro who was kidnapped and killed in September 1970, while investigating the Sicilian Mafia.

He was born in Torre Annunziata, Province of Naples. In 1963 he published the monumental Storia linguistica dell'Italia unita ("Linguistic History of Unified Italy"). Two years later De Mauro published L'introduzione alla semantica ("Introduction to Semantics") and, in 1971, Senso e significato.[1]

After preparing the entries on semiotics of the Treccani encyclopedia and publishing the short volume Minisemantica (1982), De Mauro turned to the problem of language education.

De Mauro was a professor at the D'Annunzio University of Chieti–Pescara and was director of the Department of Linguistic Science at the University of Rome La Sapienza.

In 1975 he was elected to the Regional Council of Lazio in the lists of PCI. In 1976 he has been appointed commissioner for culture, position he held until 1978.

He served as Minister of Education during the second Government of Prime Minister Guliano Amato.

From 2001 to 2010 he chaired digital world, the foundation of the city of Rome.

His newspaper and magazine writing included: from 1956 to 1964 in the weekly Il Mondo, from 1966 to 1979 in the newspaper Paese Sera, and from 1981 to 1990 regular columns on schooling (1981–85) and language (1986 onward) in the weekly L'Espresso. He made occasional contributions to L'Unità, La Stampa, La Repubblica, Il Manifesto, Il Sole-24 Ore, and Il Mattino. He wrote a regular column for Internazionale under the rubrics "The word" starting in 2006 and "Schools" from 2008.

From 1960 to 1973 he often appeared on radio and television RAI, an activity he resumed in 1997-2000. From 1978 onward he also worked on various RTSI (Swiss Italian Radio and Television) radio and TV broadcasts.

On Esperanto[edit]

As a linguist, De Mauro also took an interest in Esperanto, writing about the language in his works. He was especially interested in the likely advantages of Esperanto for the EU legislative system, as a witness or reference version of European laws and official documents.[2] He also edited a foreword for the Esperantic manual of Bruno Migliorini (Cooperativa Editoriale Esperanto, Milan, 1995).[1]


De Mauro delivered lectures and gave seminars at universities in several countries:

He held single guest lectures at numerous Italian universities and Italian cultural institutes abroad. Among his most noteworthy lecture series were those held at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in 1973, the Scuola Superiore Studi Pavia IUSS as visiting professor in 2007, the University of Tübingen in 2009, and the online Università telematica internazionale Uninettuno in 2009.


He received the Giambattista Vico Foundation of Naples and Vatolla international prize in 2009. On 23 June 2006, in recognition of lifetime research and scholarship, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei awarded him the Prize of the President of the Republic, which was presented by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in October.

He was granted numerous honorary degrees, including:


  • Storia linguistica dell'Italia unita (prima edizione 1963, Laterza)
  • Introduzione alla semantica (prima edizione 1965, Laterza)
  • Introduzione, traduzione e commento del Corso di linguistica generale di Ferdinand de Saussure (prima edizione 1967, Laterza; dal 1972 l'apparato di De Mauro correda l'edizione originale francese)
  • Senso e significato (raccolta di saggi, 1971, Adriatica, Bari)
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: his Place in the Development of Semantics (1966, Dordrecht)
  • Parlare italiano (1973)
  • Scuola e linguaggio (1977, 1978)
  • Guida all'uso delle parole (prima edizione 1980, Editori Riuniti)
  • Minisemantica (prima edizione 1982, Laterza)
  • Capire le parole (raccolta di saggi, prima edizione 1994, Laterza)
  • Direzione del Grande Dizionario Italiano dell'Uso, 6 voll. (1999, Utet)
  • Prima lezione sul linguaggio (2002, Laterza)
  • La cultura degli italiani a cura di Francesco Erbani (2004, Laterza)
  • La fabbrica delle parole (2005, Utet)
  • Introduzione, traduzione e commento degli Scritti inediti di linguistica generale di Ferdinand de Saussure (2005, Laterza)
  • Parole di giorni lontani (2006, il Mulino)
  • Lezioni di linguistica teorica (2008, Laterza)
  • Che cosa è una lingua
  • In principio c'era la parola? (2009, Il Mulino)
  • Parole di giorni un po' meno lontani (2012, il Mulino)
  • La lingua batte dove il dente duole (2013, Laterza; scritto con Andrea Camilleri)


  1. ^ a b "Tullio de Mauro".
  2. ^ Corsetti, Renato (2015). "Tullio De Mauro.In Europa son già 103 — Troppe lingue per una democrazia?". Language Problems and Language Planning. 39 (1): 110–113. doi:10.1075/lplp.39.1.08cor. ISSN 0272-2690.

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