Prof Vieri Samek-Lodovici

Prof Vieri Samek-Lodovici

Professor of Linguistics


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1999

Research summary

As a theoretical linguist, I investigate the underlying structure of human language. I am particularly interested in the presence of conflicts between grammar constraints and their implications for the theory of human grammar. This has led me to work on the fundamental properties of Optimality Theory and on its applications.

I am currently investigating how information structure affects the grammar  of Italian. I am particularly interested in the interaction between focalization and the representation of discourse-given constituents through in-situ destressing vs. right-dislocation. My research in this area indicates that contrastive focalization in post-verbal position occurs in-situ, rather than left-peripherally above the clause as currently assumed.

I am also interested in the interaction between syntax and prosody and in particular in the conflicts that arise between the constraints governing the placement of prosodic prominence and the constraints governing the syntactic representation of the clause. In my research, I have shown that significant differences in the distribution of focused constituent in Italian, English, French, follow from different resolutions of these. The same set of prosodic constraint have also been shown to affect the syntactic representation of adjective-nouns sequences in Italian (this latter research was carried out in collaboration with Nicole Dehé).

Other topics examined in my research include the constraints governing prosodic prominence, the phonology of syllabic gemination, the constraints governing word order, the basic components of thematic structure, and the analysis of specific phenomena in syntax and morphology.

Teaching summary

Graduate courses

Lectures on the Interaction of Focus and Givenness in Italian Clauses. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Lecture series on the syntax of information structure. Doctoral School on Topic and Topicalization. University of Geneve. 

Advanced Core Training in Linguistics (with other lecturers). ACTL is an intercollegiate course providing advanced training to PhD students from UCL, Cambridge, Essex, Queen Mary, and Reading.

Reading in Syntax A (final year undergraduate), Joint MA/Undergraduate course, Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, UCL.

Postgraduate course on information structure. University of Potsdam. 

OT-Syntax (MA-level), Department of Italian, UCL.

Formal Properties of Linguistic Theories. 14th European Summer School in Logic Language and Information (ESSLLI), Trento, Italy. This lectureship is open to worldwide competition.

Theoretical syntax. University of Potsdam. Invited by Prof. Gisbert Fanselow.

Introduction to OT (with Miriam Butt, PhD-level), Konstanz University, Germany.

Undergraduate courses (the number in parenthesis shows the course year)

1. Introduction to Linguistics and Syntactic Theory (1).

2. Introduction to the Study of Human Language (1 & 2).

3. Issues in Italian Syntax (2).

4. Introduction to OT (4).

5. The syntax of Information Structure (4).

6. Special Subject by long essay (4).

7. Comparative Syntax (4).

8. Courses for students learning Italian: grammar, prose, translation across all years.


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1996
Brandeis University
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1992
Universita degli Studi di Milano
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1985