School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS)


Professor Vieri Samek-Lodovici

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Prof Vieri Samek-Lodovici

Prof Vieri Samek-Lodovici


Foster Court
Department of Italian


  • Professor of Linguistics
    Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL


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.
Award year Qualification Institution
1996 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
1992 MA
Master of Arts
Linguistics with Cognitive Science
Brandeis University
1985 BA
Bachelor of Arts
Computer Science
Universita degli Studi di Milano


Agreement|*|Focus|*|Information Structure|*|Marginalization|*|Optimality Theory|*|Prosody|*|Right Dislocation|*|Syntax|*|Syntax of Italian|*|Thematic Structure|*|Topic