Linguistics in Verona
The Ph.D. programme
The Master's programme
Welcome on the website Linguistics in Verona!
The Ph.D. students in Linguistics are part of the track "Linguistics" inside the Ph.D. Programme in Foreign Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

Our competences range from the core areas of Linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, historical linguistics and lexicology) to specializations in the areas of multilingualism, minority languages, dialectology, German-Romance language contact, language acquisition, language processing and language pathologies/disorders. Ph.D. students can acquire competences in traditional methodologies (such as dialectological field work) as well as in laboratory based research (e.g. acoustic analysis of audio data) and experimental methodologies (e.g. ERP-related approaches).
You can learn more about our individual competences in the section People.

Do not hesitate to take a look at the Events we attend or organise!

For any question, remark or to drink a cup of coffee with us, feel free to Contact us.
The Master's Degree course in Linguistics is a two year program that prepares graduates capable of making the most of metalinguistic analysis in research, teaching and further applications.

This objective is achieved by way of an in-depth study of advanced and up-to-date theories and methodologies in the domain of general and historical linguistics, and of their application to specific (socio-)linguistic situations in modern and ancient languages, both in Italy and other European countries.

The focus of the program is on language structures and meanings, foreign language learning and teaching, typical and atypical language development, experimental psycholinguistics, comparative, diachronic and philological analysis of ancient texts.

We are also proud to present a new Master's study in teaching Italian as a second language, whose description can be found here (in Italian).
Alumni and Visitors
Ph.D. students

Who am I?
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What am I working on?
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What have I been working on?
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Where do I work?
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How to contact me
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An updated list of events can be found on the web page of the Ph.D. Programme (under 'News').
For any technical comment or question about the website, feel free to contact Joachim Kokkelmans (webmaster) at

For questions or comments related to the Linguistics curriculum, please contact Birgit Alber (coordinator of the track in Linguistics) at
I am Anne Kruijt, a first year Ph.D. student. My interests include morphology, syntax, and documentation and description of minority languages.
I am working on the Cimbrian and Mòcheno varieties spoken in Northern Italy. I work within the Digital Humanities project, and look into the use of digital tools for the collection of linguistics data and its usages for language documentation.
For my Master's thesis at Leiden University (The Netherlands), I have worked on the description of the ablative clitic of Iraqw, a Southern Cushitic language spoken in the northern parts of Tanzania. I collected my data during a period of two months in the field, and worked towards setting up a local research group of the Iraqw language.

During the Master, I also worked as a research assistant for three months at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), and helped with the digitization of linguistic data, the use of digital tools for language and cultural revitalization, and the creation of a syllabus on lexicography of indigenous and endangered languages.


Kruijt, Anne. Forthcoming 2018. "The use of the ablative clitic in locative phrases in Iraqw, a Cushitic language of Tanzania". Journal of African Languages and Linguistics.

Kruijt, Anne and Mark Turin. 2017. "Review Article". Language in Society 46 (2):257-269.
In the future I hope to work in the Ph.D. room, but while said room is under construction you can find me in and around the university, either inside the library or outside on the grass.
You can send me an e-mail:
I am Eirini Apostolopoulou (pronounced as [iɾíni ɐpɔstɔlɔpúlu]) and – as you may have already sensed – my interests primarily include phon- stuff (phonetics, phonology, morphophonology, and I won't say no to other interfaces). I am also into dialectology and the study of language variation. Besides linguistics I love to learn languages, listen to and play music, sing, and watch sports.
I am working on Italiot Greek, namely the Greek varieties spoken in Southern Italy. I am planning to collect oral data in order to study aspects of their phonological systems with the main focus being on instances of variable pronunciation.
My research interests so far have centered on phonology and, specifically, on the mapping between underlying forms and surface realizations. I am particularly interested in cases in which a single underlying representation may correspond to more than one grammatical outputs. As a case study, in my MA thesis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) I explored the variance between vocalic and semivocalic realizations in Greek by examining words that display a versatile realization pattern, with none of the surface forms being regarded as ill-formed. This variation has been formalized within the framework of Gradient Harmonic Grammar (Smolensky & Goldrick 2016), which associates susceptibility to change to the gradient presence of a segment in the underlying structure.
For the moment I work mainly at home. in the near future I hope to work in the Ph.D. room, which is currently under construction.
You can send me an email at
I am Elena Menegazzo, a Ph.D. student of the third (and last) year. I am a pianist and a linguist. For this reason, I am very interested in the relationship between language and music from different perspectives: cognitive, developmental and theoretical.

"If we were able to explain music, we could possibly find the key to human thought" - Claude Lévi-Strauss
I am working on the interaction between language and music in the framework of experimental pragmatics. Since Patel (2003), many studies on language and music interaction have been conducted, most of them exploring the relationship on the syntactic level. In my research project I’d like to explore whether the relationship is (or not) more widespread than what previously thought.
My recent works are on the supposed common origin between language and music, and on the lexicography of musical lemmas in the diachronic perspective.
I live in Vicenza. I work both at home and at the University of Verona (Polo Zanotto).
My institutional email is , but you can also write to my private email
I am Jelena Živojinović, a first year's Ph.D. student. My interests include syntax, morphosyntax, polar bears and cold winters. I made the obvious choice of replacing the harsh weather of Verona by the mild climate of Tromsø.
I am currently working on two different projects. On one hand, my main research investigates the phenomena of syncretism and suppletion within Rhaeto-Romance languages and a possible language contact as a cause of such conditions. On the other hand, my side project aims at describing the main features of a southern Serbian dialect, named Torlak, by applying a generative approach.
My Master's thesis was a glance on language contact (sounds new, huh?) in the Renaissance Republic of Ragusa. The research was conducted through the analysis of a literary corpus based on the comedies of Marin Držić.
For the moment you can find me at our campus in Verona, either at Ph.D. students' room or in the office of prof. Paola Cotticelli. Starting from August, I'll be at the Arctic Circle, playing with polar bears. Come visit me!
You can contact me at or
I am Joachim Kokkelmans (and not "Joachin" as many Italians usually (and erroneously) write/pronounce), a first year's Ph.D. student.

I like and learn a ton of various (and often absurd) languages and alphabets, ranging e.g. from Gothic to Moroccan Darija, Yiddish and Afrikaans. Born and raised in Brussels, I fell into the cauldron of linguistic diversity at a young age and therefore, whilst typology is a linguistic sub-domain for most people, it is rather a "permanent state" for me.

I love phonetics and phonology, consonant mutations, alpinism, choral symphonies and Faust, from which I sometimes cite punchlines to comment on a particular situation (when it's not a Bible quote). My interests include especially Germanic languages, dialectology, typology and constructed languages as a means of linguistic experimentation.
Ph.D. thesis:

I focus on defining one general and universal set of rules, based on typological evidence, phonological theory and phonetic measurements, which can predict the possible sibilant inventories in natural languages according to articulation place and distributedness as well as their possible diachronic evolutions. Such a set of rules would be computable and quantifiable, and should reflect most accurately as possible attested sibilant inventories as well as be able to predict how they are to change. Ultimately, this should be applicable to any sound class in any phoneme inventory and allow us to understand what inventories can be and what they can become.


I am interested in testing the learnability of morphosyntactic alignment types (neutral, semantic, tripartite, nominative-accusative and ergative-absolutive) by means of constructed languages of each type which I would teach volunteers (if I manage to make enough pancakes to convince potential participants), before testing how effective they are at learning the five alignment types. You can find the almost-complete results of this study here.

AISV 2018 in Bolzano/Bozen:

I am working on an automated sibilant detector which can analyse human speech in the form of a sound file, extract all sibilants inside it and calculate anything about their sibilantness in less time than is required to explain how it exactly works. To test how good the program is, I then compete against my own computer in a sibilant tagging competition.
I have until now been busy with s-retraction in /rs/-clusters and the proprial article in Germanic languages (e.g. "der Fritz", in some dialects even "der Schopenhauer").

Outside of the scope of linguistics, I have been working on the perception of Mephistopheles in Faust, Stig Larssons Autisterna (1979) and Scandinavian scaldic and eddic poetry.


Kokkelmans, Joachim. 2018. "Elvis Presley, God and Jane. The Germanic proprial article in a comparative perspective". In: Johan Brandtler (ed.): Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 100: 64-98.

"Middle High German and modern Flemish s-Retraction in rs-Clusters" [to appear]. In: Torsten Leuschner, Dietha Koster, Gunther De Vogelaer (eds.): Konvergenz und Divergenz. Sprachvergleichende Studien zum Deutschen. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.
Most of the time, I can be found either in the Ph.D. students' room (at the 2nd floor) or in Borgo Roma.

When I'm not working in Verona, I reside in Brussels ("for from Brussels I am and to Brussels I shall return", Gen. 3:19).
Considering that I still haven"t installed Whatsapp, you can send a dove, or carve me some mammoth on a clay tablet.

You can also write me a mail at
I am Marta Tagliani and am at the first year of my Ph.D. My interests include especially language acquisition, semantics, negation processing, and cognitive linguistics.

"There’s more to life than linguistics you know, but not much more." - The Smiths
Ph.D. Project: "On language and visual interaction in negation processing"

I am currently working on how linguistic and visual sources interact in language comprehension: I am focusing on the processing of negative sentences. The employment of eye-tracking technology to detect the eye movements of the subjects, which are in the meantime exposed to visual and linguistic stimulation can be very useful to understand how the subject exploits the visual environment during the real-time comprehension process of a sentence. Eye-tracking technology can be widely exploited to study different groups of subjects, including younger children and people with developmental dyslexia: therefore, it can lead to important results concerning how specific groups of language users may differently integrate linguistic and visual information from the communicative environment to process the same linguistic sentences.

Follow-up for my Master's thesis:

I am currently implementing the sample of subjects tested: the previous experimental results will be reviewed consistently with the new data.

In collaboration with the University of Göttingen:

I am now working with Dr. Daniele Panizza on a first eye-tracker experiment concerning the processing of negative sentences. The main goal is to investigate how negation is semantically integrated during the sentence comprehension. According to the TSSH, the processing of negation would always take place through the creation of two mental representations and the following shift from one to the other: the interpretation of negation would occur during the second step of sentence comprehension, namely after the mental representation of the negated situation. These models claim that negation would be iconic: it is not represented explicitly but people always must mentally simulate the positive alternative to get the negative meaning of the sentence. Conversely, the incremental models of negation claim that the semantic contribution of negation would be immediately integrated during sentence comprehension: the representation of the alternative situation would occur automatically, without the need of representing the negated argument. Therefore, negation would be symbolically: there is no need to mentally represent the positive counterpart to infer the negative meaning. Through the projection on the screen of different pictures, including the one representing the positive counterpart of the negative target sentence, we aim to understand which of these two ways of processing negation is correct.
Master's thesis: "The acquisition of double negation in Italian. An experimental study."

I worked on the acquisition of multiple negative structures in Italian to understand at what age Italian children can understand and use them in an adult-like manner. I developed an experimental protocol to investigate the acquisition of double negative sentences in Italian, which is a non-strict negative concord language. Double negation structures are more complex from a logical point of view and moreover, they are only used in specific communicative contexts, to which Italian children are hardly exposed: the adult input lacks double negation structures and therefore Italian children are consistently exposed to an input characterized by negative concord structures. The results showed that, in line with other cross-linguistic experimental studies, there is a preferential negative concord interpretation of double negation structures also in Italian. Italian children seem to master DN sentences by age 7;3: however, I am now expanding the sample of subjects tested.
I live in Brescia but you can usually find me at the University of Verona (Polo Zanotto). I also frequently go the University of Göttingen.
You can send me an e-mail at: or
I am Michela Redolfi, a first year Ph.D. student. My interests include language acquisition, lexicology, and the relationship between language and cognition. I also like astronomy, TV series, and books.

"Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic." - Albus Dumbledore
I am working on the acquisition of the meaning of adjectives and of the ability to understand noun-adjective combinations. In order to do so, I am using the eye-tracking technology, thanks to which I can track children’s eye movements when presented with different pictures while listening to verbal stimuli. The method exploits listeners’ spontaneous tendency to look at a picture matching the language they hear. Thus, infants’ gaze direction and fixation to described pictures are used to measure word understanding.
 My Master’s thesis - "Learning adjectives: an experimental study with Italian monolingual children" - was developed to explore Italian children’s difficulties in the acquisition of noun-adjective combinations. The results revealed that young children between 2;2 and 5;4 indeed have difficulties in the comprehension of noun-adjective combinations, even with familiar basic vocabulary. The pattern of the results revealed that children initially rely solely on the interpretation of the noun, ignoring the adjective. At around 36 months of age, children seem to achieve almost target-like results. However, at around 2;2, children are already pretty good at linking objects to properties. Thus, this ability emerges earlier than we may believe.
You can find me either at the Polo Zanotto or in the Frinzi Library.
You can contact me at or
I am Obed Nii Broohm, a final year's Ph.D. student. I received a BA in Psychology and Linguistics degree (Combined Major) in 2011 and a Masters in General Linguistics in 2014, both from the University of Ghana.

During and after my Masters programme, I served as Teaching Assistant and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana.

When I am not doing Linguistics, I like to sing or treat myself to some good country music. I also enjoy teaching complex stuff in simple ways.
Ph.D. Thesis

My (current) Ph.D. thesis research titled "Issues in Esahie Nominal Morpho-Syntax: From Inflection to Word Formation" is dedicated to the exploration of the nominal domain of Esahie, an understudied African (Ghanaian) language. The thesis is aimed at providing a comprehensive description of some pertinent issues in the domain of inflectional morphology, including (but not limited to) declension classes, agreement morphology, syncretism, among other things, as well as some word formation phenomena such as nominalization and compounding, and how their mutual interplay works in Esahie.
Since Esahie has yet to receive any scholarly attention, this work is primarily a language documentation effort, aimed at documenting, publicizing, and ultimately revitalizing Esahie. To put Esahie in its proper typological setting, this work compares Esahie with other African Languages, as well as some Indo-European languages.

Afranaph Project

The main goal of this project is to develop an online (free-access) database of rich descriptions of a wide range of African languages in order to serve the interests of linguistic research into the nature and distribution of empirical patterns in natural language. My role as Consultant in this project is to provide data (analyses) on various aspects of Esahie linguistics.

Broohm, Obed Nii. (2017). Noun Classification in Esahie. Ghana Journal of Linguistics 6.3: pp 81-122. DOI: 10.4314/gjl.v6i3.4

Broohm, Obed Nii. & Rabanus, Stefan. (Forthcoming). Agreement and Syncretism in Esahie.

Broohm, Obed Nii. & Melloni, Chiara. (Forthcoming). Action Nominalization in Esahie.

Broohm, Obed Nii. & Rabanus, Stefan. (Forthcoming). Focus marking in Esahie.
You can find me at my usual “hideout” at room 2.2 on the second floor of Polo Zanotto.
Simply send me a mail via or
Alternatively, you could find me on Skype at broohmniiobed.
I am Sabrina Piccinin, a final year PhD student. My interests include morphology, second language acquisition and language processing. I have benefited from a cotutelle agreement with the University of Toulouse II - Jean Jaurès (France), where I had the opportunity to spend a year of my Ph.D. and which changed my life in unexpected ways.
Ph.D. Thesis:

My thesis focuses on the processing of derivational morphology in native and non-native speakers of Italian, in the attempt to understand how the mental lexicon is organized and whether words are connected in the mind in terms of morphological criteria. In particular, my work is aimed at verifying the impact of formal characteristics in native and non-native lexical access focusing on the processing of formally transparent versus non-transparent words in Italian.
I divide my time between Italy and France, but when I am in Verona you can usually find me in the Department of Cultures and Civilizations (Polo Zanotto).
You can send me an e-mail at:
I am Tekabe Legesse Feleke, from Ethiopia. I studied Teaching English at bachelor level (Mekelle University, Ethiopia). I obtained a Master's degree in Linguistics from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and did a Research Master in Language and Cognition at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Currently, I am a linguistics Ph.D. student at the University of Verona, Italy.
Currently, I am working on Ethiosemitic languages, Semitic language varieties spoken in Ethiopia. My Ph.D. project particularly aims to determine the linguistic distance and mutual intelligibility among some selected south Ethiosemitic language varieties, mainly among the Gurage varieties. The study examines the linguistic distance from two perspectives: from a structural and from a perceptual one. It employs Levenshtein distance and lexicostatistics to compute the structural distance among the language varieties. The study also uses various perception tests to measure the distance among the varieties based on the perception of the speakers. Moreover, it employs word intelligibility test (functional measure) to determine to what extent the language varieties are mutually intelligible to each other. Besides quantifying the distance and mutual intelligibility among the language varieties, the study determines the degree of substitutability among the structural, functional and perceptual measures.

Feleke, T.L. (2017). The Similarity and Mutual Intelligibility between Amharic and Tigrigna Varieties. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Variation and Dialects (VarDial), (pp. 47-54).

Feleke, T.L. and Alber, B. (2017). Amharic Word Stress (forthcoming).
I worked as an assistant Lecturer at Mekelle University, Ethiopia, from 2006 to 2008. I also worked as a lecturer in the same University from 2010-2013, then from 2015-2016. Now I work mainly in Verona.
I can be contacted through my emails: or, and phones: 2510944714945 (Ethiopia) or 393403977920 (Italy).
Metrical theory,
Prosodic morphology,
Analysis of linguistic typologies in Optimality Theory,
Germanic varieties of Northern Italy (Mòcheno, Cimbrian, Tyrolean).
Syntax-semantics interface,
Lexical semantics,
Lexicology (lexicography),
Argumentation theory,
Discourse analysis,
Dialogue analysis,
History of linguistics,
German as a second and foreign language.
Medieval Germanic languages and literatures (in particular Middle High German and Old Norse),
Intertextuality and literary re-use,
Textual criticism and digital scholarly editing,
Reception studies.
Historical Linguistics,
Indo-European comparative Grammar,
Indo-European syntax,
Indo-European morphology,
History of Linguistics,
Metalanguage and terminology,
Italian branding names,
Anatolian languages,
Old Lithuanian.
Second language acquisition,
L2 Italian,
L2 morphology,
L2 mental lexicon,
Native and non-native morphological processing,
Masked priming,
Construction morphology.
The history of logic,
The investigation of themes at the interface between linguistics and the philosophy of mind,
The study of quantification in natural language,
Syntax and semantics of pronominal dependencies,
Syntax of reference and ontology of natural language,
Issues in language change and language pathology,
Romance/Germanic comparative syntax and semantics.
Lexical semantics,
Lexicon/syntax interface,
Language acquisition,
Developmental dyslexia.
Inflectional morphology,
Language mapping,
Language contact (Germanic-Romance),
Family-name grammar (German/Armenian).
Germanic comparative syntax,
Linguistic contact,
Minority/endangered languages,
History of German grammar,
German L2 acquisition.
Romance/Germanic comparative syntax, Language contact (Romance/Germanic), German(ic) Syntax, German dialectology, Germanic minority languages spoken in Northern Italy, Syntax at the interfaces