Friday, October 22, 2010

Linguistics Professor/Movie Star

How many professors of historical linguistics have also been the lead actor in a major motion picture? To my knowledge only one: Carlo Battisti (1882-1977), the co-author of Battisti and Alessio 1950–7 Dizionario etimologico italiano and a professor of glottologia at Florence, was also the star of the Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D, a  neorealist classic about an old man (Umberto D.) and his dog (named strangely Flaik). Battisti plays the part marvelously.


  1. The connection between linguistics and acting isn't too surprising to me. There are many reasons why people love linguistics, some of them being the beauty seen in poetry and literature, the art and skill of communication, the subtleties of grammatical nuance, etc. Actors, like all artists, are naturally drawn to self-expression. Language then becomes an exciting tool for that expression. A convenient tool too because you can carry it around with you wherever you go.

  2. Agreed, but not many of us get to star! :)