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- Professor of Linguistics
- Faculty of Arts & Humanities
As a theoretical linguist, I investigate the underlying structure of human language. I am particularly interested in the presence of conflicts between grammar constraints and their implications for the theory of human grammar. This has led me to work on the fundamental properties of Optimality Theory and on its applications.
I am currently investigating how information structure affects the grammar of Italian. I am particularly interested in the interaction between focalization and the representation of discourse-given constituents through in-situ destressing vs. right-dislocation. My research in this area indicates that contrastive focalization in post-verbal position occurs in-situ, rather than left-peripherally above the clause as currently assumed.
I am also interested in the interaction between syntax and prosody and in particular in the conflicts that arise between the constraints governing the placement of prosodic prominence and the constraints governing the syntactic representation of the clause. In my research, I have shown that significant differences in the distribution of focused constituent in Italian, English, French, follow from different resolutions of these. The same set of prosodic constraint have also been shown to affect the syntactic representation of adjective-nouns sequences in Italian (this latter research was carried out in collaboration with Nicole Dehé).Other topics examined in my research include the constraints governing prosodic prominence, the phonology of syllabic gemination, the constraints governing word order, the basic components of thematic structure, and the analysis of specific phenomena in syntax and morphology.
2006 Advanced Core Training in Linguistics (with other lecturers). ACTL is an intercollegiate course providing advanced training to PhD students from UCL, Cambridge, Essex, Queen Mary, and Reading.
2006 Syntax 2B (MA-level) & Plin-305 Reading in Syntax A (final year undergraduate), Joint MA/Undergraduate course, Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, UCL.
2004 Postgraduate course on information structure. University of Potsdam. Invited by Prof. Caroline Féry.
2003 OT-Syntax (MA-level), Department of Italian, UCL.2002 Formal Properties of Linguistic Theories. 14th European Summer School in Logic Language and Information (ESSLLI), Trento, Italy. This lectureship is open to worldwide competition.
2000 Theoretical syntax. University of Potsdam. Invited by Prof. Gisbert Fanselow.1998 Introduction to OT (with Miriam Butt, PhD-level), Konstanz University, Germany.
Undergraduate courses (the number in parenthesis shows the course year)
1. Introduction to Linguistics and Syntactic Theory (1).2. Introduction to the Study of Human Language (1 & 2).
3. Issues in Italian Syntax (2).
4. Italian language and its varieties (2). (With H. Samson in 1998-00, and F. Faloppa in 2003-04.)
5. Introduction to OT (4).
6. The syntax of Information Structure (4).
7. Special Subject by long essay (4).
8. Comparative Syntax (4).
9. Courses for students learning Italian: grammar, prose, translation across all years.
|01-OCT-2016||Professor||Italian Dept, Gower Street||UCL, United Kingdom|
|01-AUG-2010 – 01-AUG-2012||Head of Department||Department of Italian||University College London, United Kingdom|
|01-OCT-2005||Reader in Linguistics||Department of Italian||University College London, United Kingdom|
|01-SEP-1998 – 30-SEP-2006||Lecturer||Department of Italian||University College London, United Kingdom|
|01-OCT-1995 – 31-AUG-1998||Researcher||Department of Romance Languages||University of Konstanz, Germany|
|01-JAN-1988 – 30-JUN-1990||Researcher||Natural Language Processing||IRST (Scientific and Technological Research Institute), Italy|
|1996||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Linguistics||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey|
|1992||MA||Master of Arts – Linguistics with Cognitive Science||Brandeis University|
|1985||BA||Bachelor of Arts – Computer Science||Universita degli Studi di Milano|