Chiara Gianollo's Website


Research Interests


My research focuses on classical problems of historical linguistics which may receive new inputs by current advances in general linguistic theory and quantitative linguistics:
- Semantic change: Indefinite noun phrases from Latin to Romance
- Formal historical syntax: Case and word order in the Determiner Phrase
- Syntax-Semantics interface: middle voice and deponent verbs, argument structure, morpho-syntactic encoding of grammatical relations, extended accusative
- Formal properties of parametric systems; Phylogenetic relevance of syntactic parameters: development of the Parametric Comparison Method
- Fostering knowledge and study of Ancient Greek and Classical Latin in the Italian High School System

Semantic change: Indefinite noun phrases from Latin to Romance

Indefinites are diachronically quite unstable and, as such, can differ significantly even in closely related languages; at the same time, there are a number of recurrent paths of change within indefinite systems. I would like to investigate them, in order to uncover general mechanisms of semantic change in the domain of referentiality and quantification. The empirical domain of my research is represented by Latin and by the early stages of the Romance languages, in particular Italian and  French.

The project started in Konstanz, in collaboration with Maribel Romero, and I further developed it in Cologne in the context of my Habilitation-Projekt. I submitted the manuscript of my work 'Indefinites from Latin to Romance' to the Habilitation committee of the University of Cologne in September 2016. I am glad to circulate it to those who might be interested, just write me an e-mail.

In 2012 and 2013 I gave a number of presentations on the topic of Latin specific indefinites. In 2014 and 2015 I focused on negative indefinites, negative polarity items and the syntax of negation in Classical and Late Latin.

In order to investigate the parallelisms between syntactic and semantic change in a formal perspective, I organized, together with Agnes Jäger and Doris Penka, the Workshop / Arbeitsgruppe 'Language Change at the Syntax/Semantics Interface' within the Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., March 7-9 2012. See the Workshop Website and the abstracts of the presentations.
A thematic volume (Gianollo, Jäger, Penka, eds) resulting in part from this meeting  has been published by de Gruyter (Series 'Trends in Linguistics') in November 2014.

In February 2016 I organized, together with Svetlana Petrova and Klaus von Heusinger, a Workshop on 'Indefinites between Theory and Language Change' at the Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, University of Konstanz: here is the link to the call for papers on the LinguistList. 

Formal historical syntax: Case and word order in the Determiner Phrase

- Research project: 'The role of Case inflection in the diachronic development of Indo-European nominal syntax'. Funding for the Senior Fellowship of Paul Kiparsky at the Zukunftskolleg.
- Research project: The History of Indo-European Genitive. Exploratory work funded by the Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz (2008-2010)

The bibliography on genitive that I collected for the project is available here (updated to 2009)
- ‘Constituent structure and parametric resetting in the Latin DP: a diachronic study’, doctoral thesis, 2005. See abstract and related papers in the 'Publications' section.
Some recent presentations:
- ‘How did genitives become datives in Greek?'. Poster presented at DIGS XIII, University of Pennsylvania, June 5, 2011. Abstract here: [pdf]
- 'The syntax of genitives from Late Latin to Old French'. Paper presented at Going Romance 24, Universiteit Leiden, December 9-11, 2010. Slides from the presentation available here: [pdf]
- ‘Prepositional genitives in Romance and the issue of parallel development’. Paper presented at DiGS XI, Diachronic Generative Conference, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, July 22-24, 2009.
- ‘Jerome as a translator, and his model. A compared analysis of nominal syntax in the Greek and Latin New Testament. Paper presented at the International Workshop on Indo-European Syntax and Pragmatics. May 13-15, 2009. University of Georgia. Paper available here: [pdf]
- ‘Genitive arguments in Latin and German DPs’. Paper presented at SWIGG 2009, The Swiss Generative Grammar Meeting, Université de Neuchâtel, April 24, 2009. Handout available here: [pdf]

Syntax-Semantics interface: middle voice and deponent verbs, argument structure, morpho-syntactic encoding of grammatical relations, extended accusative

- Organization, together with Agnes Jäger and Doris Penka, of the Arbeitsgruppe 'Language Change at the Syntax/Semantics Interface' within the Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., March 7-9 2012. See the Call for Papers on the Linguist List.
- Organization, together with Josef Bayer and Doris Penka, of the Workshop 'Case at the Interfaces of Grammar', February 4-5, 2010, Department of Linguistics and Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz.
- ‘Il medio in latino e il fenomeno dell’intransitività scissa’, tesi di laurea, 2000
- ‘L’ accusativo esteso: Analisi di un possibile sviluppo parallelo in latino tardo e medio olandese’, dissertation for the ‘diploma’ of Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2001 (ms. abriged English version: ‘Accusative subjects : a possibly parallel development in Late Latin and Middle Dutch’)
Some recent work:
- 'Labile Verbs in Late Latin'. Draft available upon request.
- ‘I verbi deponenti latini e l’unità della flessione in -r’. Paper presented at the Incontri Triestini di Filologia Classica, December 3, 2008. Paper available here: [pdf]
- ‘Extended accusative in Late Latin’. Paper presented at the Workshop on the Origin of Non-Canonical Subject Marking in Indo-European, ICHL XIX, International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Universiteit Nijmegen.

Formal properties of parametric systems; Phylogenetic relevance of syntactic parameters: development of the Parametric Comparison Method

- Participation in the research Project: ‘Parametric Variation in the Nominal Morpho-Syntax of Indo-European Languages of Europe’, University of Trieste, 2006-2008. Updates for these projects at the University of Trieste’s linglab
- Participation in the research project: ‘Historical Implications of a Formal Theory of Syntactic Variation’, University of Trieste, 2002-2004
Some presentations:
'Evaluating pertinacity in syntax'. Presentation at 'Dimensions of Grammar. In honour of Paul Kiparsky', Konstanz, August 2-3, 2011. I'll be happy to provide you with a copy of the handout.
'Which entities qualify as comparanda for syntactic reconstruction?'. Presentation at ISTAL 20, Thessaloniki, April 1-4 2011. Abstract here: [pdf]
- with C. Guardiano and G. Longobardi, ‘Modularized Global Parametrization and the form of parametric variation’. Paper presented at GLOW XXX, Workshop on Selective Global Comparison, CASTL, University of Tromsø, 2007. Slides from the presentation available here: [pdf]

Fostering knowledge and study of Ancient Greek and Classical Latin in the Italian High School System

- 2007: degree for teaching Italian, Latin and Greek in the Italian High School System (A043, A051, A052)
- 2003-2008, 2010-2011: participation in the European Summer School of Classics, an annual event organized by the Department of Classics of the University of Trieste and the ‘Associazione per lo studio e la conoscenza delle culture del mondo antico’. The school is dedicated to high school students interested in aspects of classical philology, history and archaeology. See the section Teaching for my contributions there.