Ronnie Ferguson

Prof, Cavaliere della Stella d'Italia

  • KY16 9PH

    United Kingdom

Personal profile

Academic/Professional Qualification

Italian and Romance epigraphy and epigraphics. The language and culture of Venice. Italian Renaissance theatre, especially sixteenth-century comedy in Venice and the Venetian state. Italian linguistics, philology and dialectology. The Renaissance culture and practice of translation.

Research interests


Italian and Romance epigraphy and epigraphics. I am the leading British expert on the Medieval and Renaissance inscription culture of Venice and the Veneto. I have published the first detailed repertory of the surviving 14th century vernacular inscriptions in Venice and on the islands of the Venetian lagoon, as well as the first edition of all the 14th and 15th century vernacular incriptions from Venice's guilds and lay confraternities. A particular focus of my research is the full integration of diachronic script palaeology and historical linguistics into the critical procedures of epigraphics in order to achieve cross cultural comparisons and improve chronological assessments of problematic inscriptions. I am at present working on a major volume in English titled: Venetian Inscriptions: Vernacular Writing for Public Display in Medieval and Renaissance Venice.

Italian Renaissance theatre, especially comedy in Venice and the Venetian state in the sixteenth century. I have published extensively on Angelo Beolco (Ruzante), on the popular theatre of the early Cinquecento, on stage sets and acting techniques of the period, and on multilingual Renaissance theatre.

I work and publish on Italian dialectology, with a particular focus on Venetian and on the dialects of the north east of Italy. I have notably applied koineisation and sociolinguistic models to establish the origins of Venetian. My book A Linguistic History of Venice, published by Olschki of Florence (2007), has been widely reviewed and has achieved internationa resonance. It has changed perceptions of the nature, history and significance of the language/dialect of Venice. I have published a series of etymological studies of north-eastern Italian lexis in major journals (Lingua Nostra, L'Italia Dialettale, Ce Fastu?). I am continuing to research and publish on aspects of Venetian and Veneto linguistics, etymology and language change. My monograph Saggi di Lingua e Cultura Veneta (Padua, Cleup, 2013) covers aspects of literature, drama, philology, epigraphy and linguistics relating to Venice and the Veneto.

The culture and practice of translation in Renaissance Italy, France, Scotland and England, with a research and publishing focus on Florio, Cotgrave, Rabelais and Urquhart.


Future research

Venetian in its contemporary forms and historical development.

Venetian and Veneto etymology.

Language variation and change.

The theatre of Angelo Beolco (Ruzante).

I am working on a series of unpublished Venetian inscriptions as well as on a monograph of all Venetian Medieval and Renaissance inscriptions in the vernacular.

Lexicography and translation in the European Renaissance.

Academic/Professional Qualification

MA, University of Glasgow; BPhil, University of St Andrews; PGCE, Jordanhill College of Education.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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