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).

Research project

Claudio Iacobini

Title: “The competition between “raising” and impersonal constructions in Italian: a diachronic study”

The project wants to analyse from a diachronic point of view the [N V VInf] and [V che F] constructions with the four verbs that can appear in the main verb slot, i.e., sembrare, parere, apparire and risultare. The study will be carried out within the framework of Diachronic Construction Grammar (Traugott & Amp; Trousdale, 2013; Barðdal et al., 2015). These two constructions, often referred to as the raising and impersonal construction, have mainly been studied by formal approaches to syntax, and from a synchronic point of view. Said analyses have considered these two constructions equivalent from a truth-conditional point of view (cf. Davies & Amp; Dubinsky, 2004). However, several functionalist studies have highlighted differences between the two constructions with regard to their epistemic-evidential semantics and the selection of elements that can enter the slots (Kratschmer, 2006; Musi, 2015; Pisciotta, 2022). Our idea is that a usage-based approach ought to search for diachronic explanations to synchronic phenomena and distributions (Bybee, 1988); henceforth, we will analyse the emergence and changes of these two constructions, assuming that they are allostructions (Cappelle, 2006), i.e., constructions that are partially semantically overlapping, and linked together by a horizontal link in the speaker’s mind. The occurrences of the four verbs under investigation in the constructions [N V VInf] and [V che F] will be extracted from the diachronic corpora CODIT (Micheli, 2021) and DiaCORIS (Onelli et al., 2006). Several variables will be coded: semantic features of the ‘raised’ and ‘non-raised’ subjects, lexical and semantic features of the subordinate verbs, the textual typology in which the construction is found and its epistemic or evidential value. In addition to conducting a qualitative analysis, we will test the association between the constructions and these features by means of multifactorial statistical tests. The results of our study will help tracing the emergence, evolution, and possible constructional changes undergone by these two constructions in the history of Italian. From a theoretical standpoint, this research will allow us to test the value of the concept of allostruction in linguistic change and to understand the diachronic behaviour of alternating syntactic constructions.