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Main research interests:
Intonational phonology, articulatory phonology, second language acquisition.
Short Curriculum:
Undergraduate Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures in July 2007 at University of Salento (Lecce) with a thesis in Experimental Phonetics entitled "La fonologia dell'intonazione: l'italiano e il tedesco in parlanti dell'area leccese" (The phonology of intonation: Italian and German in productions of speakers from Lecce area) – Tutor: Barbara GiliFivela, Ph.D.

Currently, he is graduate student for the Ph.D. Program "Studi Linguistici, Storico-Letterari e Interculturali" (Linguistic, Historical-Literary and Intercultural Studies), curriculum in Experimental Phonetics since March 2008 (XXIII Ph.D Cycle) at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Salento. He carries out his research activity at the CRIL Research Center (Centro di Ricerca Interdisciplinare sul Linguaggio). His main research interests are intonational phonology, articulatory phonology and second language acquisition, with a special attention to prosodic phenomena.

In 2009 he received a short-term research grant (B1) by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) and spent a 2-months period as visiting student at the Institut für Linguistik – Phonetik of the University of Cologne (Germany), where he broadened the knowledge of the articulatory correlates of German intonation and improved the experimental design for an acoustic-articulatory investigation of L2 German intonation.

He actively collaborates on internal projects, as well as other projects with Italian and foreign Universities (see Project page for further details).
Complete Curriculum
Ph.D. dissertation: Supralaryngeal correlates of tonal events: evidence from Italian and German produced by speakers from Lecce (South Italy) with different L2 competence levels.

This study aims at exploring the features of tonal events in productions of broad and contrastive focus conditions in Italian and German by speakers from Lecce (Apulia, South Italy) with different competence levels of German as foreign language; prosodic features will be investigated using production data (both acoustic and kinematic data recorded simultaneously using a Carstens AG500 electromagnetic articulograph (EMA) at CRIL research center of the University of Salento), as well as perceptual data.
For this goal, comparable Italian and German data from at least two groups of Italian speakers coming from Lecce with two different competence levels of L2 German (at least 3 subjects per group) will be acquired, in order to compare each other the productions in the two languages and to detect the influence of the native system on the L2 prosody in function of competence; furthermore, L2 productions will also be compared to the productions of a control group of native German speakers, to verify whether the realization of intonational features is correctly achieved by the learners. The competence of the speakers will be differentiated in 2 levels (low and high) on the basis of the most possible objective criteria.
In this work the productions of the broad and the contrastive focus conditions are taken into exam: indeed, in Lecce Italian and in German the broad and the contrastive focus conditions are realized exploiting a different phonological category comparing the two languages. The phonetic realization of the pitch accents are different in the alignment of peak and valleys and in the synchronization with the segmental material. Therefore, broad and contrastive focus conditions will be exploited to test the modification of the synchrony between oral gestures and the correlation of them with fine intonational features of pitch accents like tonal alignment, scaling and duration; furthermore, the exploration of the fine phonetic reality of the events exploiting the potentiality of Articulatory Phonology theory (for a general overview, cfr. Browman and Goldstein, 1992) and their representation in the framework of the Coupling Oscillator Model (Nam and Saltzman, 2003) will help to shed light on the links between the production of tones and the organization of oral gestures.
Do these differences in tonal alignment exert an influence on (or are due to an influence of) the intergestural timing between consonantal and vocalic gestures? And above all, if these differences exist, could they be correlated to the differences in competence level and therefore to the influence of the native prosodic system? The hypotheses are that at least for alignment features, the articulatory level is more informative and fine-grained than the acoustic level for the detection of the tonal anchoring. Moreover, the differences could reflect different patterns of motor control that a learner exert on the synchronization of the gestures and that could be considered as a signal of a complete acquisition of a prosodic category.
The exploration of the links between tones and oral gestures is an amazing topic, which could shed light on acquisitional aspects of prosody, which suffer a lack of investigations, but also on the acquisition of different patterns of motor control for consonantal and vocalic gestures in the two languages. The investigation of the correlation between the control of articulatory events and the phonetic/phonological characterization of linguistic events is the heart of the Articulatory Phonology, which gives the possibility to investigate at a very deep level and from a new perspective the processes of the second language acquisition.
Last modified 27/10/2016
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