CIMeC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences

Overview | Research directions | Members | Publications | Grants | Ongoing Collaborations


Linguistics aims at understanding the place of language within other human cognitive faculties. Along the way, it tries to answer questions that range from the inner working of individual constructions to broad models of the way language might have evolved, how it is processed in the brain and which of its aspects might be the by-product of biological constraints. We address these issues with a wide range of tools, from theoretical analysis to computer modeling to brain data of sentence processing.

Research directions

  • the Syntax/Semantics Interface: Nominals and Beyond - Our more theoretical work addresses fundamental issues in the semantics of nominals: how (is)definiteness is expressed even in language that have no definites; how we refer to classes of objects or make generalizations on them; how the “part of” relation is expressed across languages. At a broader level, we are interested in fostering a fruitful interplay between denotation- and  distribution-based semantics;
  • novel methods for linguistic research - A second side of our research, funded in part by the “TREiL” PRIN grant, is concerned with the development of novel methodologies for doing linguistic research. We are currently investigating the extent to which human linguistic intuitions, possibly derived via crowd-sourcing, can be modeled computationally using compositional distributional semantics or neural networks. On the brain side, we are working at detecting the ERP signature of (un)grammatical sentence from pure mental rehearsal. Other ongoing works aims at studying the processing of negation with FMRI;
  • linguistic education and research via gaming - As part of the EU grant Atheme on multilingualism we are interested in reinforcing the motivation of learners by making them play educational games. Specifically, we studied ways to improve linguistic education in schools and broad-public science exhibits using physical, multilingual models of language structure, and are now looking into new ways to collect large-scale linguistics data using web games.



For a complete list see  Roberto Zamparelli personal page


  • EU Cooperation Grant “Advancing The European Multilingual Experience” (AthEME) (2014-19) (UNITN Unit PI)
  • Technologies for Research and Education in Linguistics (TREiL) 2015  PRIN Project (PI)

Ongoing Collaborations

  • Prof. Caroline Heycock, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Prof. Lisa C. Cheng, University of Leiden, Netherlands
  • Prof. Jutta Mueller, University of Osnabruck, German