Chiara Melloni

Short scientific profile

I am interested in morpho-syntax and lexical-semantics and I conduct research on several phenomena in these domains from a theoretical and experimental perspective. My research has targeted deverbal nominalization, parasynthesis, root compounding and full reduplication, combining theoretical and comparative approaches (besides Romance, Germanic and Slavic, I worked on Mandarin Chinese, Bantu and Kwa languages). I have also explored the lexicon/syntax interface, modeling polysemy in Generative Lexicon theory and analyzing cognate object constructions across languages. Currently, I have been studying the role of morphological competence and further linguistic skills across typical and atypical (dyslexic), monolingual and bilingual child populations.

I am the author of Event and Result Nominals: A morpho-semantic approach (2011, Peter Lang), and the co-editor of Words don’t come easy, a monographic issue of Lingue e Linguaggio (2009). I have published articles in several peer-reviewed journals including Annals of Dyslexia, Bilingualism: Language and CognitionFrontiers in Psychology, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Italian Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Cognitive Science, Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Word Formation, Lingue e Linguaggio, Studies in Language. I authored book chapters and articles in miscellanies published by De Gruyter, Benjamins, Language Science Press, Oxford University Press and Peter Lang.

Academic positions

April 2018 – present

Professore Associato, SSD L-LIN/01 Glottologia e Linguistica, Department of Cultures and Civilizations, University of Verona.


Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale a Professore di Seconda Fascia per il Settore Concorsuale 10/G1 – Glottologia e Linguistica.

October 2007 – present

Ricercatore confermato (Assistant Professor), SSD L-LIN/01 Glottologia e Linguistica, Department of Cultures and Civilizations, University of Verona.

May 2007 ­– May 2008

Cultore della Materia (honorary fellow), University of Bologna.

February – October 2007

Post-doctoral Researcher in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Literature and Communication Sciences, University of Verona. Research project: “Rapporti tra processi morfologici, sintattici e semantici in alcune lingue d’Europa: Il caso della nominalizzazione deverbale”.

December 2006 – October 2007

Cultore della Materia (honorary fellow), University of Verona.


2004 – 2006

Ph.D. in Linguistics, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Verona. Date of defense: June 07, 2007. Thesis title: “Polysemy in Word Formation: The Case of Deverbal Nominals”.

1998 – 2003

BA/MA Degree (summa cum laude) in Foreign Languages and Literatures (Russian and Anglo-American), University of Bologna. Date of defense: July 10, 2003. Thesis title (Russian Linguistics): “La parasintesi verbale: un’ipotesi di applicazione al russo”.

1992 – 1997

Liceo Scientifico M. Morandi, Finale Emilia (MO). High School Graduation (60/60).

International and national funding projects

2020 – 2022

Progetto d’eccellenza – E-FraLit: Employability and Fragile Literacies, University of Verona.

2014 – 2019

FP7, Cooperation. Project Title: AThEME – “Advancing the European Multilingual Experience”. Call: FP7-SSH-2013-1. Project number: 613465. Member of WP4, “Multilingualism and communicative impairments”, University of Verona.

2014 – 2017

PRIN 2012. Project Title: “Teoria, Sperimentazione, Applicazioni: Le dipendenze a distanza nelle forme di diversità linguistica” (national coordinator: prof. Adriana Belletti). CUP code: B38C13000670001. Member of the Verona Unit.

2007 – 2010

European Network “Bantu, Chinese, Romance nouns and noun phrases”, directed by Prof. dr. Lisa L. Cheng. Participating Institutions: Leiden University, SOAS, University of Essex, ZAS, University of Verona, University of Trieste and University of Trento. Financier: NWO Council for the Humanities (D36900: Language and literature studies of other language groups).

2005 – 2007

PRIN 2004, national project. Title: “CompoNet”, directed by Sergio Scalise, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the Bologna University. Participating Institutions: Universities of Milano-Bicocca and Napoli Federico II. Member of the Bologna Unit.

membership in research groups and laboratories

2016 – current

Organizing referent for the scientific activities of the laboratory LaTeC, Language Text and Cognition, Department Culture e Civiltà.

2006 – 2011

Member of the Dyslexia LAB, directed by Denis Delfitto, Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics, University of Verona.

2003 – 2008

Member of the MorBo Group, directed by Sergio Scalise, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bologna. Research Project: MorBo/Comp – Duties: research on various aspects of the theory of compounding (headedness, classification, typology), data collection and analysis, responsible for the description of Russian compounding and supervision of other Slavic languages.


June 2019: Short academic visit at the Institut für Linguistik: Anglistik, Universität Stuttgart.

May 2016: Short academic visit at the Department of English Language and Linguistics, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

January 2014: Short academic visit at the Institut für Linguistik: Anglistik, Universität Stuttgart.

July 2008: Short academic visit at the Institut für Linguistik: Anglistik, Universität Stuttgart.

May – June, 2006: Visiting Scholar at the Department of English Literature, University of New Hampshire (sponsor: Prof. Dr. Rochelle Lieber).

April – June, 2005: Visiting Student at the Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex (sponsor: Prof. Dr. Andrew Spencer).



  1. Dislessia evolutiva e apprendimento linguistico. In preparation. Alessandria: Ed. dell’Orso (with D. Delfitto and M. Vender).
  2. Event and Result Nominals: A Morpho-semantic Approach. 2011.Frankfurt, Peter Lang.

Edited Volumes

  1. Editor of the monographic issue “Words don’t come easy” of Lingue & Linguaggio, 2008, vol. 1 (with D. Delfitto).

Journal Articles

  1. Morphological awareness, reading achievement and developmental dyslexia: Playing with nonwords in a morphologically rich language. Submitted. (with M. Vender)
  2. Action Nominalization: A view from Esahie (Kwa). Forthcoming. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics (with Obed N. Broohm).
  3. Mind your tones! The role of tonal morphology in Kwa action nominalization. 2020. ZWJW – Gianina Iordachioaia & Elena Soare (eds.), Special collection on Nominalization.
  4. How do bilingual dyslexic and typically developing children perform in nonword repetition? Evidence from a study on Italian L2 children. 2019. Biligualism: Language and Cognition, 23(4), 884-896. DOI:10.1017/S1366728919000828 (with M. Vender, D. Delfitto).
  5. The (en)rich(ed) meaning of expletive negation. 2019. Evolutionary Linguistic Theory 1(1), 57–89. (with M. Vender, D. Delfitto).
  6. The Production of Clitic Pronouns: How Bilingualism and Dyslexia Interact. Frontiers in Psychology (Language Science). (with M. Vender, S. Hu, F. Mantione, D. Delfitto). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02301
  7. Clitic production in EL2 and bilingual children with Italian as their L2. 2018. Special Issue of Languages: Romance Languages at the Forefront of Language Acquisition Research, 3(3), 22; with M. Vender, D. Delfitto).
  8. Inflectional Morphology: Evidence for an advantage of bilingualism in dyslexia. 2018 (first online on 15.03.2018). International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. (with M. Vender, S. Hu, F. Mantione, S. Savazzi, D. Delfitto).DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2018. 1450355
  9. Dyslexia and inflectional morphology: Italian children’s performance in a nonword pluralization task. 2017 (first online on 13.11.2017). Annals of Dyslexia, 67(3): 401-426. (with M. Vender, F. Mantione, S. Savazzi, D. Delfitto). DOI: 10.1007/s11881-017-0152-8
  10. Event delimitation in Mandarin: The case of diminishing reduplication. 2017. Italian Journal of Linguistics. 1: 143–166.(with B. Basciano). DOI: 10.26346/1120-2726-106
  11. Areal perspectives on total reduplication of verbs in Sinitic. 2015. In The Why and How of Total Reduplication: Current Issues and New Perspectives, Special issue of Studies in Language 39 (4): 836–872. (with G.F. Arcordia and B. Basciano). DOI: 10.1075/sl.39.4.01arc
  12. Modes of compounding in Bantu, Romance and Chinese. 2011. Italian Journal of Linguistics 23(2), 203-249. (with B. Basciano and N. Kula).
  13. Nominals, polysemy and copredication. Journal of Cognitive Science 12: 1-31 (with E. Jezek).
  14. Compounds don’t come easy. Lingue & Linguaggio, vol. VIII.1: 75-104 (with D. Delfitto).
  15. Parasynthetic compounding. 2008. Lingue & Linguaggio VII.2: 233-260 (with A. Bisetto).
  16. Logical polysemy in word formation: E and R Suffixes. 2006. Lingue & Linguaggio, vol. V.2: 281-308.

Peer-reviewed volume articles & book chapters

  1. Subordinate and Synthetic Compounds in Morphology. 2020. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford University Press. doi:
  2. Phonological processing and nonword repetition: a critical tool for the identification of dyslexia in bilingualism. 2020. In Babatsouli, E. & Ball, M. J. (eds.) An anthology of bilingual child phonology. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. (with M. Vender)
  3. Reduplication across boundaries: The case of Mandarin. 2018. Olivier Bonami et al. (eds.), The lexeme in descriptive and theoretical morphology, 325–363. Berlin: Language Science Press. (with B. Basciano). DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1407013
  4. Aspect-related properties in the nominal domain: The case of Italian psych nominals. 2017. In: Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Anna-Malicka Kleparska (eds.), Aspect and Valency in Nominals (Studies in Generative Grammar Series), 253-284. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-1-5015-1458-6
  5. Cognate constructions in Italian and beyond: A lexical semantic approach. 2017. In: Lars Hellan, Andrej Malchukov, Michela Cennamo (eds.), Contrastive Studies in Verbal Valency, 219-250. Amsterdam: Benjamins. (with F. Masini). DOI: 10.1075/la.237.07mel. / ISBN 9789027257208.
  6. Result nouns. 2015. Peter O. Müller, Ingeborg Ohnheiser, Susan Olsen, Franz Rainer (eds.), Word-Formation. An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe (ch. 71.a), pp. 1253-1267. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.
  7. Parasynthetic compounds: data and theory. In: Sergio Scalise and Irene Vogel (eds.), Cross-disciplinary Issues in Compounding, pp. 199-217. Amsterdam: Benjamins (with A. Bisetto).
  8. Action nominals inside: Lexical semantic issues. 2010. In: Artemis Alexiadou and Monika Rathert (eds.), Nominalizations across languages and frameworks, pp. 139-166. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter. (Series Interface Explorations).

Reviews in journal

  1. Review of “Lexical Relatedness: A paradigm-based model”, Andrew Spencer. 2014. Journal of Linguistics50 (3), pp. 761-767. DOI:

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

  1. Inflectional morphology: evidence for an advantage of bilingualism in Albanian-Italian and Romanian-Italian bilingual children. 2019. In Roumyana Slabakova, James Corbet, Laura Dominguez, Amber Dudley, Amy Wallington (eds.), Explorations in Second Language Acquisition and Processing, 238-250. New Castle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (with M. Vender & D. Delfitto). ISBN: 978-1-5275-2776-8
  2. La delimitazione aspettuale in italiano e cinese mandarino: uno studio comparativo. 2018. (peer-reviewed); in Alberto Manco (a cura di), Le lingue extra-europee e l’italiano: aspetti didattico-acquisizionali e sociolinguistici. Atti del LI Congresso Internazionale di Studi della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Napoli, 28-30 settembre 2017). Officina21, Milano, 2018. (with B. Basciano and M. Donazzan). ISBN edizione cartacea: 978-88-97657-25-5; ISBN edizione digitale: 978-88-97657-24-8.
  3. Verbal reduplication in Sinitic. In: Sandra Augendre, Graziella Couasnon-Torlois, Déborah Lebon, Clément Michard, Gilles Boyé, Fabio Montermini (eds), Morphology in Bordeaux: Selected Proceedings of the 8th Décembrettes (Les Décembrettes 8: Colloque International de Morphologie, Bordeaux, December 6-7, 2012), in Carnets De Grammaire, CLLE-ERSS, pp. 15-45. (with G.F. Arcordia and B. Basciano). ISSN: 1965-0019
  4. English compounds in child Italian. 2014. In: João Costa, Alexandra Fiéis, Maria João Freitas, Maria Lobo, Ana Lúcia Santos (eds.), New Directions in the Acquisition of Romance Languages, Selected Proceedings of The Romance Turn V, pp. 345-370. Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-4438-5948-6 (with J. Torregrossa).
  5. Compounding as a symmetry breaking strategy. In: Pier Marco Bertinetto, Valentina Bambini, Irene Ricci e Collaboratori (a cura di), Linguaggio e cervello / Semantica, Atti del XLII Convegno della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore, 25-27 settembre 2008), Volume I, 155-177. Roma: Bulzoni. (with D. Delfitto).
  6. Annotating Qualia Relations in Italian and French Complex Nominals. In: Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Thierry Declerck, Mehmet Uğur Doğan, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Jan Odijk, Stelios Piperidis (eds.), LREC 2012 Proceedings, Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, May 21-27, 2012, Istanbul, 1527-1532. ISBN 978-2-9517408-7-7 (with P. Bouillon, E. Jezek and A. Picton).
  7. Compounding at the interfaces. 2012. In: Suzi Lima, Kevin Mullin and Brian Smith (eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 39), 255-269. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications. (with D. Delfitto and A. Fábregas).
  8. La morfologia alle interfacce. 2011. In: Giovanna Massariello e Serena Dal Maso (a cura di), I luoghi della traduzione/Le interfacce, Atti del XLIII Congresso della Società di Linguistica Italiana, Verona 24-26 settembre 2009, pp. 825-848. Roma: Bulzoni. (with D. Delfitto).
  9. On the interpretation of nominals: Towards a result-oriented verb classification. 2010. In: Olga Souleimanova (Hrsg./ed.) Sprache und Kognition: Traditionelle und neue Ansätze – Language andCognition: Traditional and New Approaches. Akten des 40. Linguistischen Kolloquiums in Moskau 2005 – Prodeedings of the 40th Linguistics Colloquium, Moscow Edited in cooperation with Wilfried Kürschner, Nataliya Lyagushkina and Heinrich Weber, pp. 165-178. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang Verlag. 446 Seiten. (with A. Bisetto).
  10. Complex type in the (morphologically) complex lexicon. In: Pierrette Bouillon et al. (eds), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Generative Approaches to the Lexicon, Pisa, ILC-CNR, Sept. 17-19, 2009, pp. 59-67 (with E. Jezek).
  11. Result nominals: A lexical-semantic investigation. 2007. In: Geert Booij et al. (eds.), On-line Proceedings of the Fifth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM5), Fréjus 15-18 September 2005, University of Bologna, 2007, pp. 393-412. (with A. Bisetto).
  12. MORBO/COMP: A multilingual database of compound words. 2006. In: Proceedings of LREC 2006, 5thConference on Language Resources and Evaluation, Paris: ELRA. (with E. Guevara, A. Bisetto, S. Scalise).
  13. Parasynthetic verbs: A hypothesis of application to Russian. 2004. In: Problemy izučenija i prepodovanija russkogo jazyka i literatury [Issues in the Study and Teaching of Russian Language and Literature], pp. 306-316. Moscow: IMGUL

Conference proceedings

  1. Inherent polysemy of action nominals. In: Proceedings of Journées Sémantique et Modélisation, April 9-10, 2009, Paris, France, pp. 42-44 (with E. Jezek).
  2. Per un tassonomia dei nominali “risultato”. 2008. In: E. Cresti (ed.), Prospettive nello Studio del Lessico Italiano, Atti del Convegno SILFI, Firenze 14-17 giugno 2006, pp. 573-581. Firenze: Firenze University Press.