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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The biggest and most important event of the year is the Winter School in Linguistics, which takes place in January each year.

An updated list of events can be found on the webpage of the Ph.D. Programme (under 'News').
For any technical comment or question about the website, feel free to contact Andrea Brugnoli (webmaster) at

For questions or comments related to the Linguistics curriculum, please contact Birgit Alber (coordinator of the track in Linguistics) at
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I am Andrea Brugnoli, a first year Ph.D. student. My main research interests include phonetics and phonology, but I am also particularly interested in corpus linguistics, psycholinguistics and historical linguistics. In my free time I like studying classical languages (Latin and ancient Greek), playing the piano and playing tennis.
In my Ph.D. project I am working on the influence of syllable weight on primary and secondary stress in Italian and German, trying to integrate different methodologies such as phonology and phonetics, corpus analysis and experimental techniques.
In my master thesis I studied the influence of syllable weight on secondary stress in Italian and German.
I am currently working in Verona.
You can contact me at
My name is Anna Katharina Pilsbacher and I am in my third year of a joint degree programme between UIT-The Arctic University of Norway and the Università degli studi di Verona. I am interested in phonology and the phonology-morphology interface both synchronically and in a historical context.

In my free time, I enjoy making music as part of choirs and small ensembles and researching topics of global mythology and botany.
I am working on the morphophonology of prefixes in Austro- and Italo- Bavarian dialects as well as in Classical Greek.
My master thesis was an experimental study concerned with the production of prepositional phrase attachment ambiguities and their perception across Germanic dialects.

Looking for me, you might also find articles concerned with arctic plant ecology.
I usually hail from Tromsø in Norway but will be staying and working in Verona in 2021.
I most readily reply to emails to my UIT-email address:
I am Anne Kruijt, a third year Ph.D. student. As my last name reveals, I am Dutch and while I am very accepting of all pronunciations of my last name (except perhaps for very German ones), I do insist on a bisyllabic version of my first name (looking at you, English speakers). My academic interests include morphology, syntax, and documentation and description of minority languages. I have a strong interest in language revitalization, creating community resources, and issues surrounding language endangerment. I am also interested in the use of digital tools for data collection and linguistic fieldwork. When not working, I enjoy travelling, reading, hiking, starting but never finishing Duolingo courses, going /χ/ at foreigners trying some Dutch, and aggressively ringing my bell at pedestrians walking in the cycling lane.
For my PhD project, I am working on the case systems of the Romance and Germanic varieties spoken in Northern Italy. I work in the Digital Humanities framework, and I am particularly interested in the use of digital tools for the collection of linguistic data and its uses for language documentation. I work in the larger project of VinKo of the Universities of Verona and Trento, and am responsible for the morphological questionnaire, which aims to collect data on personal pronouns and articles in the Germanic and Romance varieties of the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. I am also actively involved in the Rift Valley Research Network (RVN). The RVN is a collection of researchers working on the languages, cultures, and people of Tanzanian Rift Valley area.
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.
Most days I work in the PhD office in Palazzo di Lingue (third floor), where through squatter’s rights I have claimed the desk in front of the window.
You can send me an e-mail:
I am Arianna Compostella, a first-year Ph.D. student.

My research interests focus on theoretical linguistics, computational linguistics, and psycholinguistics.

I am particularly keen on syntax and I am fascinated by language acquisition and language processing topics, in particular, the phenomena relating to sentence processing.

I am also passionate about outdoor sports and an enthusiastic traveller. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing and skiing in the Alps and recently, I have also started surfing some waves in the ocean.

“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.” Albert Szent Gyorgi
One of the hallmarks of human language is the hierarchical organization of the structure. Detecting and learning regularities as well as reconstructing hierarchical structures are implicit mechanisms of human cognition that play a major role in language development as well as in other cognitive processes (e.g. image processing, music recognition, …). Recognizing patterns and processing complex structured signals are mechanisms that seem inconceivably complex but, on the contrary, they are implicit, spontaneous, and natural abilities of the human brain. From my point of view, it is a question of major interest understanding which strategies the human parser applies in learning hierarchical structures and to observe potential differences or similarities in this process across different sensory domains. Hence, in my Ph.D. project, I focus on the relationship between language and perception with the aim of exploring the interaction between implicit linear and hierarchical processing within and across different sensory modalities (i.e. visual, auditory, and tactile). In my experiments, I use the artificial grammar learning paradigm, testing non-canonical grammars belonging in the Lindenmayer systems.

Vender M, Krivochen DG, Compostella A, Phillips B, Delfitto D, Saddy D (2020) Disentangling sequential from hierarchical learning in Artificial Grammar Learning: Evidence from a modified Simon Task. PLoS ONE 15(5): e0232687.
When I am in Verona, you can find me in the Ph.D. students’ room on the second floor of Palazzo di Lingue.
You can send me an e-mail at
I am interested in neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and the comparative study of language and music. Music has always been essential to me; besides being a passionate, voracious music listener, I sing, play bass guitar and write my own songs. I also love movies, art and cats.

Car ce n'est pas tant l'oreille qui porte le plaisir au coeur, que le coeur qui le porte à l'oreille - Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
My research project focuses on the interplay between language and music. Specifically, I am investigating whether the processing of linguistic complexity interacts with the simultaneous processing of musical harmony.
For my master's thesis, I investigated linguistic impairments in schizophrenia through both a review of the scientific literature on the subject, and an experimental study. The study mainly aimed at verifying whether concreteness at the lexical level is related to concretism in patients suffering from schizophrenia. In addition, two other lexical dimensions were assessed, namely Type-Token Ratio (TTR) and Lexical Frequency, contrasting patients' and healthy controls' vocabulary uses, in order to highlight potential differences.
When I am in Verona, you can find me in the Ph.D. room at the second floor of Palazzo di Lingue.
You can send me an email at
I am Eirini Apostolopoulou and I have a joint agreement between the Università degli studi di Verona and Universitetet i Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway. My interests revolve around phonology and I am also into language variation and language contact. Besides linguistics I love music, learning languages, and watching sports.
I am studying Calabrian and Salentinian Greek and their contact with local Romance and I'm comparing them to other Greek dialects. My research focuses on the variation arising among these Greek dialects, mainly from a phonological point of view (but also with a touch of phonetics-phonology and morphology-phonology interface).
My research interests so far have centered 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 an MA student I worked on the predictable and the variable realizations of Greek high vocoids.
When I am at the university, you can find me at the PhD office (Palazzo di Lingue).
You can send me an email at or
I am Francesca Festi, a second year Ph.D. student. I am interested in language acquisition, Italian as a second language, bilingualism, reading comprehension, and syntax. However, I also have a soft spot in my heart for classics, literature, philology, and art.

What is the language using us for? – W.S. Graham
I am currently working on a project which investigates reading comprehension in L2 Italian. More specifically, I focus on the influence of syntactic processing abilities and inference making skills for achieving reading comprehension. The aim of this study is to develop an efficient pedagogical method to help students strengthening their knowledge of the Italian language and their reading comprehension abilities.
For my master’s thesis I investigated the development of metalinguistic awareness in monolingual and bilingual primary school children who speak Italian as L2.
You can find me in the Ph.D. room at the Palazzo di Lingue or in the Busch Library. I have a cotutelle agreement with the University of Tromsø, thus sometimes you will find me in Norway.
You can contact me at
I am Greta Viale, I’m currently enrolled in the first year of my Ph.D. My interests include syntax, especially viewed from the Universal Grammar point of view, theoretical and applied linguistics. I have a strong interest in studying the interface between syntax and semantics, and cognitive and psycholinguistics too.

I’m extremely curious, always eager to learn everything I can and deeply enthusiastic about starting new projects. I love travelling, discovering new cultures and new libraries… especially the Parisian ones! I’m keen on personal growth books, meditation, yoga and ballet. As small things lover, I have a thing for a cup of hot tea in front of a good book or a good friend.
My project will focus on the study of have and be as perfective auxiliaries, and particularly on the complexity of what is known as Auxiliary Selection. In other words, many languages exhibit an alternation in the selection of the auxiliary, whose criterion is difficult to understand.
Is this due to semantic or syntactic criteria, or maybe both? Scholars have deeply analyzed this topic ending up with different hypotheses, thus giving birth to a complex puzzle which still may need a further analysis in the variation realm, either cross-linguistically or within the same language.
In this work I will start out from the well-known Sorace’s ASH (Auxiliary Selection Hierarchy) and a collection of empirical data in order to see on the basis of which hierarchy auxiliaries are chosen in a certain language or group of languages (eventually including dialectal datas). Then, my aim is to reflect on the complexity of auxiliary selection thus analyzing the acceptability judgements made by native speakers, eventually by first or second-language learners. Indeed, not only do some verbs require different auxiliaries cross-linguistically, but also within the same language it may be difficult to claim which is the right auxiliary to select (if a right one may exist).
Finally, on the basis on the results achieved during the experimental part, I may consider which theory could better explain this complicated issue, with a privileged eye for generative grammar.
Master’s Thesis: Mihi est Liber and Habeo Librum: Different Perspectives on the Possessive Dichotomy

For my master’s thesis at the University of Turin, partly written at the Sorbonne University, I have worked on possession, especially on the analysis of the universal dichotomy have and be, which possession is characterized by in the language landscape. In particular, my work focused on analyzing the dichotomy from three perspectives, the semantic, the pragmatic and the syntactic ones, namely by seeing if the syntactic dichotomy have and be could effectively be a sign of a semantic or a pragmatic dichotomy too.
My work included both a theoretical and an empirical part focused on Latin, thus presenting it both have and be-constructions as means of expressing possession. Briefly, the semantic part focused on exploring the different meanings associated to the two constructions, thus seeing if they were associated to the same meanings, including a reflection on the notion of the prototype and the investigation of the concepts of possession and ownership. Then, the pragmatic part analyzed how a marked information structure could affect the meaning conveyed, namely I ended up seeing that have and be-constructions could both convey a belong-meaning. I have also demonstrated how the pragmatic arrangement that underlies the notion of belongness could absolutely entail ownership, but without biunivocal correspondence, that is not all marked structures are effectively belong-meaning sentences. Finally, the syntactic part aimed at seeing if have and be had to be considered as pure copulas or as syntactic elements conveying a meaning, thus trying to answer the question of how two different structures could be associated with the same functions.
For now, I will spend my first year in Verona, but I’ll let you know if any linguistic adventures within a joint-degree program and/or a visiting stay will take me abroad in the future!
You can send me an e-mail at:
I am Jelena Živojinović, a third 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.
My main project is titled «The development of the Latin gerund in Rhaeto-Romance” and aims to shed light on the non-finite verbal categories, particularly on the gerund, synchronically and diachronically.
I have worked on several side projects during the past three years. Marta Tagliani and I have tried to provide further understanding on the cycle of negation and the grammaticalization of the progressive periphrasis in Bresciano and Veronese. I have also worked extensively on Slavic-Romance language contact in the Renaissance Ragusa. In my “free time”, I like exploring Balkan features with a closer look at Torlak.
Currently out of office.
You can contact me at or
I am Marta Tagliani and am at the third 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. In collaboration with the University of Gottingen (joint work with Dr. Daniele Panizza).

Side projects:

1) The Acquisition of Double Negation in Italian
2) Object Relatives with Post-Verbal Subject in Italian-Speaking Children and Adults: The Role of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in Detecting Sentence Ambiguity (Prof. Chiara Melloni and Prof. Maria Vender)
3) Grammaticalization in northern Italo-Romance dialects: some considerations on the negation system in Lumezzanese (Prof. Stefan Rabanus)
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 have a co-tutelle agreement with the University of Göttingen (co-tutor: Prof. Dr. Hedde Zeijlstra). or
I am Michela Redolfi, a third 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.
I will spend most of my second year in Verona: you can find me in the Ph.D. students’ room or in the linguistic lab LaTeC (room 3.05). When I am not in Verona I work in Germany, since I have a co-tutelle agreement with the University of Konstanz (co-tutors: Tanja Kupisch and Bettina Braun).
You can contact me at or
I am Paola Peratello, a second year Ph.D. Student. I am interested in Old Norse and Digital Philology, runica manuscripta, palaeography and codicology.
My project focuses on the philological and linguistic survey of two runic handwriting witnesses, AM 28 8vo and SKB A 120, by means of digital editions in compliance XML-TEI P5 standards and Menota guidelines (handbook v. 3.0), which allow, among other things, a more in-depth, consistent and accessible analysis. This project is funded by a Digital Humanities Ph.D. scholarship within the project "Dipartimenti di Eccellenza".
I am now encoding AM 28 8vo in compliance with XML-TEI P5 standards and Menota Guidelines (The Menota Handbook v. 3.0) and expanding the inventory of the runes and the punctuation marks with those of SKB A 120.
My project moves from my Master thesis, a codicological and palaeographical analysis of AM 28 8vo, and my pilot project for encoding a runic manuscript presented at the University of Bergen in April 2019. Also, I have recently presented my Project Work at Università Ca’ Foscari at the end of Master di 1° Livello in Digital Humanities regarding the digitalisation of the secondary literature on the interpretation of the Piraeus Lion’s runic inscriptions in the Venetian Arsenal.
I often work in the Ph.D. room at the second floor of Palazzo di Lingue, but you can also find me looking for some mysterious books in the Bush Library at the first floor of the same building.
You can email me at:
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:
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