Associate Professor in Linguistics (Romance Languages)
Senior Research Fellow of Balliol College
My research interests have ranged from a number of phenomena in specific Romance varieties to specific phenomena (e.g., grammaticalization, modal particles, sentential negation, pronominal forms, pragmatics-syntax interface – especially contrastive and mirative focus, particles and discourse, acquisition of functional categories) across Romance varieties. In recent years they have moved in the direction of Historical Pragmatics, and in the search for the reasons for language change in language use.
My most recent work has focused on the development and spread of post-verbal negative markers in Occitan and the use of discourse particles. Within grammaticalization in a more narrow sense, I have worked on the diachronic trajectory of acquisition and loss of pronouns, the development and spread of forms of the verb ‘have’ in Italo-Romance, the development of the ‘GO-past’ and ‘GO-future’ forms in early Occitan, and the function and nature of discourse particles in Mauritian Creole (click here for further details).
In my research I combine detailed synchronic investigation of a phenomenon with its diachronic development. I am especially interested in the notions (and their effects) of gradience and gradualness in the context of grammaticalization (and pragmaticalization), and the role played by discourse and the cognitive-pragmatic dimension in language change.
I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students interested in working on comparative (especially from the dialectological perspective) synchronic and diachronic pragmatics and morpho-syntactic aspects of Romance varieties, with a focus on the role played by dialogic contexts, metonymy, polyphony (and discourse in general) in bringing about language change.
I teach Comparative Romance both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Structure of Italian, Prelims Grammatical Analysis, part of the Prelims General Linguistics course and a new graduate course in Historical Pragmatics (focusing on Romance). I also run the weekly seminar Discussing Romance, a discussion group on all things (but mainly diachronic, morphosyntactic and pragmatic!) Romance. Current and past programmes can be found on Canvas, under Discussing Romance. My current projects can be found under Research Interests/Projects.