Research Aims

The interests of the Pisa research group embrace various dimensions of language variation from the synchronic, diachronic, cross-generic and cross-linguistic perspectives, with particular reference to morphology, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and lexicology, as well as the applied fields of translation, second language acquisition and English language teaching. Among the specific topics and themes investigated from a contrastive standpoint are: morphological processes of reduplication, abbreviation and blending, lexical semantic complexity, temporal and aspectual meanings, interactional and interpersonal features of spoken and written discourse, phenomena of indirectness within a Gricean framework, figurative language, audio-visual translation and dubbing, acquisition of aspect, tense, and mood in L2 learners, and error analysis in English language teaching. In addition, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, group members have dedicated particular attention to the study of specialized language across a range of discourse domains, including tourism, science, law, finance and politics, in both academic and professional settings.

A recent initiative of the Pisa research group involves the compilation of a multimodal corpus of video clips across a variety of genres and specialized discourse domains with the framework of the PRIN 2015 interuniversity research project for applications in ESP contexts. The transcript files of the multimodal corpus have been annotated to identify linguistic features of particular interest in ESP teaching (e.g., specialized vocabulary, informal register, figurative language, culture-specific references). The underlying rationale of the multimodal corpus as a resource for ESP is to better motivate learners who expertly use multisemiotic digital resources in daily life and to foster skills needed to effectively interact with multimodal and multimedia texts, in order to develop proficiency in meaning-making through multiple modes (e.g., linguistic, visual, audio, gestural, spatial).

The members of the Pisa unit also participate in UDRILS (Unità di Ricerca sui Linguaggi di Specialità) of the Centro Linguistico Interdipartimentale (CLI) at the University of Pisa. UDRILS was established in 2013 to promote research in the area of specialized languages, with particular reference to teaching applications.