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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NEW: Prospective Master's students might be interested in attending our webinar Studying in Verona: International Master’s Programmes, which will take place on 24/06/2020 at 04.00-05.00 PM CEST, presenting the English-taught Master's (amongst which the Master's in Linguistics) and allowing participants to ask any question. Pre-registration is required and possible at this link.

The biggest and most important event of the year is the Winter School in Linguistics, which takes place in November 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 Joachim Kokkelmans (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 Anne Kruijt, a second 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. I am currently following courses of the IT-Zertifikat at the University of Cologne to learn more about the HTML5, Javascript, and XML language families. Due to an inability to say 'no' and a strong tendency to overburden myself, 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. Like us at or visit our website:
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.
This winter semester I am on exchange at the University of Cologne, so I can currently be found in the Universitätsbibliothek Köln. After February, I will return from the land of beer and bratwurst and reclaim my desk in the PhD room at the Palazzo di Lingue in Verona.
You can send me an e-mail:
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.
I am working on the interaction between language and music, with particular attention to the processing of syntax in both domains.
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.
This academic year you'll find me in the Arctic!
You can send me an email at or
I am Francesca Festi, a first year Ph.D. student. I am interested in language acquisition, morphology, and syntax. However, as my past studies suggest, I also enjoy learning about literature, philology, and art.

What is the language using us for? – W.S. Graham
The aim of my PhD project is to study morpho-syntactic processing and reading comprehension in L2 Italian speakers.
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 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.
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 third 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 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 second 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 first 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".
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:
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