PhD students

PhD Students Research projects related to the Dipartimento di Eccellenza themes: Digital Humanities or Translation Studies

The PhD program in Language Sciences provides educational and research activities which are also related to two of the main macro-themes of the five-year project “Dipartimento di Eccellenza”. The program includes a specific course on “Corpora and computational linguistics”; it is held by academics from the affiliated Universities of Bergamo and Pavia, and by scholars from other Italian and foreign Universities. The themes relating to Translation Studies are dealt with from a linguistic and socio-cultural point of view, and by means of digital instruments.

Below are the research projects currently in progress:


Francesca Almini

Italian Sign Language (LIS) in Twenty-first century schools: use, translation, teaching.

Supervisor: Federica Venier

This project aims at investigating the current state of the Italian School as regards several aspects of deafness. The initial goal is to outline Italian foundations dealing with the education of the deaf, and take into account all institutions hosting deaf children – be they specialized institutes or simply less structured schools. At present, the information available are incomplete and not up to date; hence they need total review and updating. On one hand, thanks to the tools provided by “Digital Humanities”, once the mapping of the institutions is completed, the project will create a website listing such institutions to let everybody check the information found. On the other hand, my research also draws on “Translation”. This will include visits to some schools in order to investigate some aspects relating to the linguistic field. Special attention will be paid to morphological differences between the Italian language and Italian Sign Language (LIS). Lastly, once the Italian educational institutions involved with the deaf have been outlined, it will be worth of interest to compare them to more advanced international institutions.


Matteo De Franco

Guta lag: translation and glossary

Supervisor: Maria Grazia Cammarota

My research deals with Guta lag, a thirteenth-century juridical text. It is the longest piece of writing in Old Gutnish – the medieval language spoken in the Swedish Island of Gotland. The project aims at providing the first Italian translation of Guta lag and widen the knowledge of the laws from the Nordic Middle Ages through an Italian translation. Besides, I will also provide the first modern translation of the latest and the shortest text in Old Gutnish, The Statues of Saint Catherine’s Guild – another juridical text written around 1443. The glossary appended to both translations will highlight the lexical traits of the Medieval language.


Demis Galli

Development of the Tobler-Mussafia law in the Fifteenth century Florentine vernacular  

Supervisor: Federica Venier

The purpose of my research project is to analyse the development of the Tobler-Mussafia law as to the Florentine vernacular in a time spam from the end of the Fourteenth century to the end of the Fifteenth century. Such a period of time is crucial in the history of the language not only for the persistent rediscovery of Latin, but also for the profound structural changes faced by the Florentine vernacular, particularly on a syntactical level in which Latin might have played a central role. Despite this, my research has revealed right away a shortcoming in the digitalization of the linguistic heritage of this period, which corresponds to the absence of wide-ranging corpora – not limited to one author only. Such a lack of corpora can be a starting point for future research.


Laura Poggesi

An unedited medical book in Cambridge, Trinity College Library, MS R.14.32: edition and translation

Supervisor: Maria Grazia Cammarota

My research project focuses on a medical book in Cambridge, Trinity College Library, MS R.14.32 from the second half of the Fifteenth century. Together with several theoretical treatises, the manuscript contains more than two hundred unedited medical recipes written in Middle English. The main goal of the project is to provide the first edition of the medical book, an Italian translation, and a glossary with technical words. Brining to light this unedited corpus will allow to widen the current number of documents relating to such texts and to shed some new light on medieval medical knowledge.


Elena Valvason

The rhetoric of sustainability: A cross-linguistic, corpus-assisted analysis of news discourse about the environment

Supervisor: Gianguido Manzelli

The research project is based on a cross-linguistic analysis of Italian, English and Hungarian news discourse relating to environment sustainability. It will be carried out thanks to the methodological instruments provided by corpora linguistics in the analysis (of the rhetoric) of discourse. Research will particularly focus on the rhetorical and discursive construction in Italian, English and Hungarian news regarding sustainability between 2015 and 2016, after the publication of the 2030 Agenda.



XXXV Cycle

Shaping mixed identities through language choices: a case study on Sheng in Kenya

The present Ph.D. project aims at investigating some of the linguistic traits of Sheng, a mixed language that emerged from the highly complex sociolinguistic situation of the suburban areas of Nairobi. Sheng is an acronym for Swahili-English slang; its syntax and its phonologhy share a number of traits with the syntax and phonology of Swahili, whereas most of its vocabulary comes from the other (either autochthonous or exogenous) languages spoken in Kenya. Sheng is considered a youth identity marker, especially among young people. By establishing new boundaries and excluding those who cannot display a certain competence of this language, Sheng is reshaping the linguistic map of Nairobi. This Ph.D. project aims to describe the lexical and the morphosyntactic features of Sheng and to compare it with other languages in Kenya, in order to isolate the main linguistic traits tied to the expression of individual and group identity.


Experiential Constructions in Hindi: the encoding of Sensations, Perceptions and Cognitions

This research project aims to provide an exhaustive analysis – both from a syntactic and a semantic point of view – of Hindī experiential constructions, which is currently lacking in the typological panorama. Hindī exhibits more than one construction for the encoding of experiential events: transitive patterns and intransitive ones (in particular, dative, genitive and allative constructions) can be used for the encoding of an experience in Hindī. My project focuses on the correlation between the high iconicity of this language (Malchukov 2005, 2015) and the variety of Hindī experiential constructions. Given the tendency of Hindī to use specific syntactic alignments on the basis of specific semantic properties (Montaut 2004, 2013), the analysis of Hindī experiential construction is quite interesting: the Experiencer being an argument with exceptionally variable semantic properties (Luraghi 2020: 38). The research will be carried out through the qualitative and quantitative analysis of a specifically collected corpus consisting of literary texts of the 19th century and it will follow the theoretical approach of the Cognitive Construction Grammar.



CROATPAS (Croatian Typed Predicate Argument Structures)

My research project revolves around the CROAtian Typed Predicate Argument Structures resource (CROATPAS), a digital corpus-derived collection of Croatian verb valency structures, whose argument slots have been manually annotated with a set of hierarchically organised semantic labels called Semantic Types.
Thanks to its Generative Lexicon approach, CROATPAS is tailored for encoding both verbal polysemy and metonymic shifts in verb arguments – just like its Italian sister resource T-PAS.
The project goals are to carry out research on the interaction between verbal polysemy and verb aspect on the basis of the annotated data, while exploring both the language teaching and computational applications of the resource.


The message of the Gospels in Medieval England: how it was received and trasmitted 

This project research aims at analysing the ways in which the text of the Gospels was passed down through the years and how it was translated in the context of vernacular medieval England; three attestations will be taken into consideration: the Anglo-Saxon version of the Gospels, the Catholic Homilies by Ælfric of Eynsham, both belonging to the period of the Benedictine Reform in Early Medieval England (10th century) and the long work written in verse known as Ormulum, belonging to the period of Norman Conquest (11th century).
The main goal is to produce a comparative analysis, including the study of the translations from a philological point of view, to underline similarities and differences between the texts, in the use of the sources and in the influence of the social context in which the three of them were produced. Lastly, special attention will be given to the analysis of the linguistic features of the works, especially to the development of the English language, from the period of Old English to that of Middle English.  










Bianco Antonio

Tutor: Zanchi                       

Lettori: Luraghi, Fiorentini


Caprioli Francesco

Tutor: Moroni                       

Lettori: Valentini, Cammarota



Corbetta Claudia

Tutor: Luraghi                                 

Lettori: Passarotti, Zanchi


Gemelli Sara                                     

Tutor: Valentini        

Lettori: Fiorentini, Zanchi


Giarda Martina         

Valency Patterns in Old and Middle English

Tutor: Luraghi                                 

Lettori: Cocco

Neither Old English nor Middle English valency patterns have been analysed in depth. Only studies on specific constructions have been carried out, e.g. on labile verbs or impersonal constructions, both synchronically in the two separate stages, and from a diachronic point of view. Using the ValPaL methodology (Malchukov & Comrie 2015), the aim of this project is to carry out a comprehensive and systematic study of all possible alternations and constructions that may affect valency, in Old and Middle English. The purpose of the project is twofold: on the one hand a synchronic analysis of the two stages, on the other a diachronic perspective, allowing to understand the evolution of this aspect of the language. The result of this corpus-based study will be part of the PaVeDa project and will complete the ValPaL database by Goddard (2013) for Present-Day English. This could allow to carry out other more specific studies both in diachrony, covering both the earlier and the contemporary stages of the language, and in a comparative perspective.


Giribaldi Elena          

Metaphorical images of Russia and the United States of America in the media: a study on the year 2022

Tutor: Formentelli                           

Lettori: Luraghi, Goletiani, Monti

Metaphors have been under scrutiny since ancient times. Originally, they were studied within the realm of rhetoric and poetics, later on of stylistics. However, the nature and functions of metaphors have been fully reconsidered in the last 40 years. Metaphors thrive in language: they structure reality and organize human knowledge into manageable fragments; allowing us to communicate idiosyncratic experiences, they save language and mental resources. The aim of this project is to examine metaphors as framing devices which variously forge the concept of nation, “a concept which requires constant imaging and inventing” (Stanojević & Šarić 2019: 6). Within the framework of Conceptual Metaphor Theory, the project aims at analyzing the metaphorical images of the United States of America and Russia on various levels of media discourse, i.e. newspapers, TV talk shows and social networks, so as to provide a classification of metaphors of the nation. Both American and Russian media will be taken into account in a comparative perspective, and linguistic data will be gathered from materials published in 2022.

Marchesi Chiara

Tutor: Goletiani                    


Nichetti Giovanni

Tutor: Cocco                        

Lettori: Cammarota

Ruggiu Sarah                     

Tutor: Turchetta      

Sala Marta

Tutor: Avallone                                

Lettori: Brugnatelli


Svanoni Roberta

Digitalizzazione e valorizzazione delle fonti scritte relative al monastero di Astino                          

Tutor: Molinelli                                 

Lettori: Rao

Ente convenzionato: Fondazione MIA