Chiara Melloni

Profilo scientifico e accademico in breve

My research interests cover the domain of morpho-syntax and lexical-semantics and are focused on the formal and interpretive properties of the morphologically complex lexicon.  I am especially interested in word formation phenomena such as deverbal nominalization, parasynthesis, root compounding and full reduplication, from a theoretical and comparative perspective (besides Romance, Germanic and Slavic, I have worked on Mandarin Chinese and Bantu languages). Other research subjects, mostly concerning the lexicon/syntax interface, include cognate object constructions and the modelling of polysemy in Generative Lexicon theory. I have recently developed psycholinguistic interests focusing on the role of metalinguistic skills and morphological awareness in typical and atypical language acquisition. I am the author of Event and Result Nominals: A morpho-semantic approach (2011, Peter Lang), and the co-editor of Words don’t come easy, a monographic issue of Lingue e Linguaggio (2009). I have published articles in several peer-reviewed journals including Italian Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Cognitive Science, Journal of Linguistics, Lingue e Linguaggio, Studies in Language. I authored book chapters and articles in miscellanies published by De Gruyter, John Benjamins and Peter Lang.

After graduating cum laude from the University of Bologna in 2003 (Foreign Languages, linguistic curriculum), I got a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Verona in 2007. I have been visiting student at the University of Essex (2005; sponsor: Prof. Andrew Spencer) and visiting scholar at the University of New Hampshire (2006; sponsor: Prof. Rochelle Lieber). In 2007, I was a post-doc researcher at the department of Linguistics of the University of Verona. I have been “cultrice della materia” (honorary fellow) at the Universities of Verona (2006-2007) and Bologna (2007-2008). Since October 2007, I have been Assistant Professor in General Linguistics at the Department Cuture e Civiltà of the University of Verona.

Posizione e titoli accademici


Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale a Professore di Seconda Fascia per il Settore Concorsuale 10/G1 – Glottologia e Linguistica.

October 2007 – present

Ricercatore confermato (Assistant Professor), SSD L-LIN/01 Glottologia e Linguistica, Department of Cultures and Civilizations, University of Verona.

May 2007 ­– May 2008

Cultore della Materia (honorary fellow), University of Bologna.

February – October 2007

Post-doctoral Researcher in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Literature and Communication Sciences, University of Verona. Research project: “Rapporti tra processi morfologici, sintattici e semantici in alcune lingue d’Europa: Il caso della nominalizzazione deverbale”.

December 2006 – October 2007

Cultore della Materia (honorary fellow), University of Verona.


2004 – 2006

Ph.D. in Linguistics, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Verona. Date of defense: June 07, 2007. Thesis title: “Polysemy in Word Formation: The Case of Deverbal Nominals”.

1998 – 2003

BA/MA Degree (summa cum laude) in Foreign Languages and Literatures (Russian and Anglo-American), University of Bologna. Date of defense: July 10, 2003. Thesis title (Russian Linguistics): “La parasintesi verbale: un’ipotesi di applicazione al russo”.

1992 – 1997

Liceo Scientifico M. Morandi, Finale Emilia (MO). High School Graduation (60/60).

International and national funding projects

2014 – present (/2019)

FP7, Cooperation. Project Title: AThEME – “Advancing the European Multilingual Experience”. Call: FP7-SSH-2013-1. Project number: 613465. Member of WP4, “Multilingualism and communicative impairments”, University of Verona.

2014 – 2017

PRIN 2012. Project Title: “Teoria, Sperimentazione, Applicazioni: Le dipendenze a distanza nelle forme di diversità linguistica” (national coordinator: prof. Adriana Belletti). CUP code: B38C13000670001. Member of the Verona Unit.

2007 – 2010

European Network “Bantu, Chinese, Romance nouns and noun phrases”, directed by Prof. dr. Lisa L. Cheng. Participating Institutions: Leiden University, SOAS, University of Essex, ZAS, University of Verona, University of Trieste and University of Trento. Financier: NWO Council for the Humanities (D36900: Language and literature studies of other language groups).

2005 – 2007

PRIN 2004, national project. Title: “CompoNet”, directed by Sergio Scalise, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the Bologna University. Participating Institutions: Universities of Milano-Bicocca and Napoli Federico II. Member of the Bologna Unit.

membership in research groups and laboratories

2016 – current

Organizing referent for the scientific activities of the laboratory LaTeC, Language Text and Cognition, Department Culture e Civiltà.

2006 – 2011

Member of the Dyslexia LAB, directed by Denis Delfitto, Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics, University of Verona.

2003 – 2008

Member of the MorBo Group, directed by Sergio Scalise, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bologna. Research Project: MorBo/Comp – Duties: research on various aspects of the theory of compounding (headedness, classification, typology), data collection and analysis, responsible for the description of Russian compounding and supervision of other Slavic languages.


May – June, 2006

Visiting Scholar at the Department of English Literature of the University of New Hampshire (sponsor: Prof. Rochelle Lieber).

April – June, 2005

Visiting Student at the Department of Language and Linguistics of the Essex University (sponsor: Prof. Andrew Spencer).




  1. Dyslexia and morphological awareness: Italian children’s performance in a nonword pluralization task. Submitted. (with M. Vender, F. Mantione, S. Savazzi, D. Delfitto)
  2. Reduplication across boundaries: The case of Mandarin, to appear in The lexeme in descriptive and theoretical morphology, Language Science Press. (with B. Basciano).


  1. Event delimitation in Mandarin: The case of diminishing reduplication. Italian Journal of Linguistics. (with B. Basciano)
  2. Aspect-related properties in the nominal domain: The case of Italian psych nominals. In: Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Anna-Malicka Kleparska (eds.), Aspect and Valency in Nominals (Studies in Generative Grammar Series). Berlin: De Gruyter.
  3. Cognate constructions in Italian and beyond: A lexical semantic approach. In: Johanna Barðdal, Michela Cennamo, Lars Hellan, Anna Kibort, Andrej Malchukov (eds.), Valency in European Languages (2017). Amsterdam: Benjamins. (with Francesca Masini).


  1. Areal perspectives on total reduplication of verbs in Sinitic. In The Why and How of Total Reduplication: Current Issues and New Perspectives, Special issue of Studies in Language 39 (4): 836–872. Edited by Daniela Rossi (with G.F.Arcordia and B.Basciano). DOI: 10.1075/sl.39.4.01arc
  1. Result nouns. Peter O. Müller, Ingeborg Ohnheiser, Susan Olsen, Franz Rainer (eds.), Word-Formation. An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe (ch. 71.a), pp. 1253-1267. Berlin – New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


  1. Verbal reduplication in Sinitic. In: Morphology in Bordeaux: Selected Proceedings of the 8th Décembrettes (Les Décembrettes 8: Colloque International de Morphologie, Bordeaux, December 6-7, 2012), in Carnets De Grammaire, CLLE-ERSS, pp. 15-45. (ISSN 1965-0019) (with G.F.Arcordia and B.Basciano).
  2. Review of “Lexical Relatedness: A paradigm-based model”. Andrew Spencer. Journal of Linguistics 50 (3), pp 761-767. DOI:
  3. English compounds in child Italian. In: João Costa, Alexandra Fiéis, Maria João Freitas, Maria Lobo, Ana Lúcia Santos (eds.), New Directions in the Acquisition of Romance Languages, Selected Proceedings of The Romance Turn V, pp. 345-370. Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-4438-5948-6 (with Jacopo Torregrossa).


  1. Compounding as a symmetry breaking strategy. In: Pier Marco Bertinetto, Valentina Bambini, Irene Ricci e Collaboratori (a cura di), Linguaggio e cervello / Semantica, Atti del XLII Convegno della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore, 25-27 settembre 2008), Volume I, 155-177. Roma: Bulzoni. (with Denis Delfitto).
  2. Annotating Qualia Relations in Italian and French Complex Nominals. In: Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Thierry Declerck, Mehmet Uğur Doğan, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Jan Odijk, Stelios Piperidis (eds.), LREC 2012 Proceedings, Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, May 21-27, 2012, Istanbul, 1527-1532. ISBN 978-2-9517408-7-7 (with Pierrette Bouillon, Elisabetta Jezek and Aurélie Picton).


  1. Modes of compounding in Bantu, Romance and Chinese. In Italian Journal of Linguistics 23, 2, pp. 203-249. (with Bianca Basciano and Nancy Kula).
  2. Compounding at the interfaces. In: Suzi Lima, Kevin Mullin and Brian Smith (eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 39), 255-269. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications. (with Denis Delfitto and Antonio Fábregas).
  3. Event and Result Nominals: A Morpho-semantic Approach. Frankfurt, Peter Lang.
  4. La morfologia alle interfacce. In: Giovanna Massariello e Serena Dal Maso (a cura di), I luoghi della traduzione/Le interfacce, Atti del XLIII Congresso della Società di Linguistica Italiana, Verona 24-26 settembre 2009, pp. 825-848. Roma: Bulzoni. (with Denis Delfitto).
  5. Nominals, polysemy and copredication. In Journal of Cognitive Science 12: 1-31 (with Elisabetta Jezek).


  1. Parasynthetic compounds: data and theory. In: Sergio Scalise and Irene Vogel (eds.), Cross-disciplinary Issues in Compounding, 199-217. Amsterdam, Benjamins (with Antonietta Bisetto).
  2. Action nominals inside: Lexical semantic issues. In: Artemis Alexiadou and Monika Rathert (eds.), Nominalizations across languages and frameworks, pp. 139-166. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (Series Interface Explorations).
  3. On the interpretation of nominals: Towards a result-oriented verb classification. In: Olga Souleimanova (Hrsg./ed.) Sprache und Kognition: Traditionelle und neue Ansätze – Language and Cognition: Traditional and New Approaches. Akten des 40. Linguistischen Kolloquiums in Moskau 2005 – Prodeedings of the 40th Linguistics Colloquium, Moscow Edited in cooperation with Wilfried Kürschner, Nataliya Lyagushkina and Heinrich Weber, pp. 165-178. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang Verlag. 446 Seiten. (with Antonietta Bisetto)


  1. Inherent polysemy of action nominals. In: Proceedings of Journées Sémantique et Modélisation, April 9-10 2009 Paris, France, pp. 42-44 (with Elisabetta Jezek).
  2. Complex type in the (morphologically) complex lexicon. In: Pierrette Bouillon et al. (eds), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Generative Approaches to the Lexicon, Pisa, ILC-CNR, Sept. 17-19, 2009, pp. 59-67 (with Elisabetta Jezek).
  3. Compounds don’t come easy. Lingue e Linguaggio, vol. VIII.1, pp. 75-104 (with Denis Delfitto).
  4. Presentation: Words don’t come easy. Lingue e Linguaggio, vol. VIII.1, pp. 3-4 (with Denis Delfitto).
  5. Editor of the monographic issue of Lingue & Linguaggio, vol. 1 (with Denis Delfitto).


  1. Parasynthetic compounding. Lingue e Linguaggio vol. VII.2, pp. 233-260 (with Antonietta Bisetto).
  2. Per un tassonomia dei nominali “risultato”. In: Elisabetta Cresti (ed.), Prospettive nello Studio del Lessico Italiano, Atti del Convegno SILFI, Firenze 14-17 giugno 2006, pp. 573-581. Firenze: Firenze University Press.


  1. Result nominals: A lexical-semantic investigation. In: Geert Booij et al. (eds.), On-line Proceedings of the Fifth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM5), Fréjus 15-18 September 2005, University of Bologna, 2007, pp. 393-412. (with Antonietta Bisetto).


  1. Logical polysemy in word formation: E and R Suffixes. “Lingue & Linguaggio”, vol. V.2, pp. 281-308.
  2. MORBO/COMP: A multilingual database of compound words. In: Proceedings of LREC 2006, 5th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, Paris: ELRA. (with Emiliano Guevara, Antonietta Bisetto, Sergio Scalise).


  1. Parasynthetic verbs: A hypothesis of application to Russian. In: Problemy izučenija i prepodovanija russkogo jazyka i literatury [Issues in the Study and Teaching of Russian Language and Literature], Moskva: IMGUL Press, pp. 306-316.