Every year, at the end of May, the Bank of Italy publishes its Annual Report. A synthesis of the contents of this document is officially presented by the Governor, in a public meeting open to shareholders and to an interested and expert audience. This is a formal event that has been held through the same procedures, and with the same rules, from 1947 until now. During this very formal moment, the Governor reads a text, called “Considerazioni Finali” (Concluding Remarks), that contains a comprehensive analysis of the key developments in national and international economy in the previous year and in the early months of the current year. In this paper, we suggest an analysis of the 75 “Considerazioni Finali” pronounced from 1947 to 2021, specifically focused on: (1) their economic and financial contents; (2) their sociolinguistic features, textual organization and major morphosyntactic peculiarities. Concerning (1), we focus on the relationship between technical contents (for each decade, we single out the most significant economic, financial and social events on both a national and international dimension) and lexical choices. With the aid of descriptive statistics, we explore the changes in the use of specific lexical items during the time frame in which these texts were produced. This allows us to trace back the economic history of Italy from the post-war period to current times. Concerning the lexical level, it must be remarked that it is the most superficial level of any linguistic product, the one that, more than others, is immediately accessible to the speakers: as such, it is extremely vulnerable to change. As a matter of fact, lexical choices strongly depend on the content that must be transmitted. Thus, it is expected to reflect it, and to be strongly informative concerning this aspect. Thus, the observation of lexical choices allows us to explore trends in topics, keywords, messages, interests, narrative and warnings issued by the Governor year by year. Finally, it must be remarked that, in this particular context, the use of each single word is not a “free” choice of the speaker, because it is strictly constrained by the “technical” nature of these texts. Concerning (2), a systematic analysis of the texts under the lens of sociolinguistic investigation allows us to objectively define their structure and nature, and to better understand the impact of the morphosyntactic choices identifying these documents and their position against the current status of linguistic variation across Italian varieties. We observe specific structural choices concerning word order and its relation with meaning and interpretation. Our survey shows that, despite the diversity of topics covered, the time span of over 75 years (during which the Italian language has undergone several important changes in terms of usage and number of speakers) and the differences found in the structure of the documents (such as variability in terms of length, subdivision into chapters, presence or absence of graphics and tables), there is no remarkable structural variation in these documents. This is actually consistent with our expectations: deeper levels of linguistic structures are less vulnerable to superficial, short-term changes than the lexicon. This preliminary work is an attempt to combine economic and financial analyses with an inspection of the structural linguistic features on this type of documents. We think that this can open novel interdisciplinary research lines in the field of economic and financial communication.
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Economic Texts: the “Considerazioni Finali” by the Governor of the Bank of Italy as a Case Study / Vezzani, Paola; Guardiano, Cristina; Ligabue, Valentina. - (2023), pp. 205-237.