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Research Interests and Projects

Here are some of my recent/current research projects.

Modality in grammar and discourse in Mauritian Creole (January 2022 — March 2023). I am the Principal Investigator of this John Fell-funded research project focusing on the expression of modality at the verbal and discourse levels in Mauritian Creole. A recent classification of modality has drawn clear distinctions between the two types, labelling them as core and non-core respectively. While in French these distinctions hold, in MC instances of core modality have properties typical of non-core modality, among which, being expressed via separate words and depending on the speaker's perspective. Not adhering to these distinctions, which were formulated mainly on the basis of Western languages, Mauritian Creole allows a more detached approach to modality, free from a Eurocentric perspective. Existing alongside French in a situation of intense language contact and daily language mixing, Mauritian Creole also affords the opportunity to observe what happens to modality when the choices offered by two languages compete with each other. Post-doctoral Researcher: Dr Hannah Davidson.

Development and spread of Occitan post-verbal negator pas (started September 2018, ongoing. Research Assistant Sept-Dec 2018 Alice Traisnel).
Based on data extracted from narrative texts (11th-15th centuries), this research is a diachronic investigation of the development and spread of the Occitan post-verbal negator pas. The data suggest that the minimizer pas possibly started off as a marker of emphatic negation, and then became also a negator of discourse-old propositions. Evidence from 15th-century theatrical plays suggests that its presence in negative polar questions may hold the key to understanding the reasons behind its establishment as the generalized negative marker in modern Languedocian. Results were presented at the workshop 'A Comparative Perspective on the Languages of the Veneto' held at St Catherine's College, Oxford on 4th-5th April 2019, and published in Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie.

As an expansion on the above, funded by a Small Grant from the Leverhulme/British Academy 2019 (the award of £6040 was derived from the Academy’s partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), the research has continued investigating sentential negation, this time focusing on theatrical texts dating between 16th-19th centuries (Research Assistant Dec 2019-June 2020 Siarl Ferdinand) .

Development and spread of forms of the verb ‘to have’ in Italo-Romance (started January 2016, ongoing).
Focusing on Northern Italian varieties as a starting point, this research aims at identifying and tracking the origin and development of forms of the verb ‘to have’ to which a locative particle has been cliticised. The perspective is both synchronic and diachronic. Part of the results have been published in Paoli (2019) and part are forthcoming. An extension of this research, also including the development of the deontic modal ‘have to’ in Venetian, Paduan and Veronese until the 14th century, will appear as part of Dr Jacopo Garzonio’s publication resulting from his GraVO project.

Use of discourse particles in a Northern-Italian dialect (started September 2017, ongoing).
A preliminary study of the particles pa, po, mo and a syntactic construction to mark different types of illocutionary force and pragmatic import.

Last updated January 2023.

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