Flavio Pisciotta

Curriculum vitæ
In 2022 he received his Master’s Degree in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures and Linguistics at the University of Bologna with a grade of 110/110 cum Laude, presenting a thesis in Semantics and Lexicon entitled “Impersonal and raising constructions with sembrare in written and spoken Italian: a constructionist and usage-based study”, supervised by prof. Francesca Masini and prof. Chiara Gianollo. The thesis was awarded by the CLUB (Linguistic Circle of the University of Bologna) as the best master’s thesis in linguistics for the academic year 2020-2021, according to the criteria of originality, methodological accuracy, and clarity of exposition. In 2019 he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy at the University of Naples “Federico II” with a grade of 110/110 cum Laude, presenting a thesis in Theoretical Philosophy. From April to October 2022, he worked as Teaching Tutor for the course ‘Theory of Lexicon’ at the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures of the University of Bologna, within the Department’s Experimental Laboratory. He contributed to the update of CORIS (Reference Corpus of Written Italian) 2021 monitor corpus and collaborated in the creation of the lexical resource DILLo (Italian Lexical Database for Speech Therapists).

Claudio Iacobini
University of Salerno
Francesca Masini
University of Bologna

Research project

Title: Horizontal links in the Constructicon: alternations and paradigmatic relationships between morphology and syntax

In the theoretical framework of Construction Grammar, a central assumption is that constructions do not form a mere list, but are linked by relations between them, forming the so-called Constructicon (Lakoff 1987; Langacker 1987; Goldberg 1985).  Research has focused mainly on vertical relations, which generally specify a mechanism whereby a construction inherits formal and functional features from its more abstract counterpart. However, another type of relation between constructions has been debated in recent years, namely horizontal relations (Cappelle 2006; Van de Velde 2014; Booij & Masini 2015; Perek 2015; Audring 2019). Horizontal relations have been postulated to account for the speakers’ awareness of the near-synonymy between two formally different constructions (thus not derivable from the same “mother” node). They were first proposed in the study of syntactic alternations (Cappelle 2006), but subsequently the definitions and uses of horizontal relations have multiplied in the literature, and they are now distinguished primarily between allostructions and paradigmatic links (Smirnova & Sommerer 2020). As the types of horizontal links have multiplied, so have hypotheses about their relationship with vertical links, with little agreement from the standpoint of representational solutions (Ungerer, forthcoming). Furthermore, the features and the criteria to define and operationalize horizontal links are still subject to debate (De Vaere et al. 2020; Belligh & Willems 2022). Alongside these questions, a number of interesting possibilities arise: in fact, the encoding of horizontal relations allows for the inclusion of the (primary morphological) notions of competition and paradigms in the representation provided by Construction Grammar.

Thus, we will attempt to explore and define the types and characteristics of horizontal relations between constructions, by investigating the types of relationships between elements that occupy the same functional domain. The investigation will consist of three case studies on morphological and syntactic constructions: the first will concern evaluative affixes, the second will concern the so-called ‘clitic climbing’, and the third the competition between denominal verbs and verb support constructions.

This project aims to define an empirically and methodologically grounded standard in the classification and representation of horizontal links.  This standard will be useful not only from a theoretical point of view, but will also be applied to the practice of Constructicography (the creation of linguistic resources that represent the Constructicon of a specific language).