Prof Delia Bentley

Professor of Romance Linguistics

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I am a Professor of Romance Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Manchester. My principal research interest is in the interface of syntax with discourse and lexical meaning, which I explore on evidence from the microvariation attested synchronically in the grammars of the lesser-known Romance languages. By observing these closely cognate languages, I investigate how atoms of meaning are reflected by patterns of grammatical variation. Over the years I have also explored extensively the interplay of discourse with syntax, notably in existential and presentational constructions. I have held Principal Investigator positions in two research projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (see From 2006 to 2012 I was an Honorary Member of Council of the Philological Society ( ) and I am currently on the board of consulting editors of Linguistics. I am a syntax consultant on the Atlante Linguistico della Sicilia ( and I have in the past collaborated with the Atlante Sintattico dell’Italia Settentrionale ( I am the author of two monographs, published by Mouton de Gruyter (2006) and Oxford University Press (2015), and of over forty research articles, which have appeared in major linguistics journals (Glossa, Journal of Linguistics, Language, Lingua, Linguistics, Rivista di Linguistica, Transactions of the Philological Society…) and in edited collections. I have edited four collections/ thematic issues of journals and at present I am a member of the editorial team of the Cambridge Handbook of Role and Reference Grammar (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press). Although I fully engage with linguistic research of any theoretical persuasion, the framework which I usually adopt in my own work is that of Role and Reference Grammar ( This is ideally suited to the investigation of the discourse-semantics-syntax interface and to the study of syntactic typology. I am also familiar with the cartographic model, which has been applied extensively to the study of the syntax of the dialects of Italy.

Appointment history

2002 to 2004, Lecturer in Italian Studies, The University of Salford.
2004 to 2007, Lecturer in Italian Studies, The University of Manchester.
2007 to 2015, Senior Lecturer in Italian Language and Linguistics, The University of Manchester.
August 2015 to present, Professor of Romance Linguistics, Division of Linguistics and English Language, The University of Manchester
Membership of bodies
The Societas Linguistica Europaea.
The Linguistic Association of Great Britain.
The Centro di Studi Filologici e Linguistici Siciliani.
The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Peer Review College.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College (from 2017 to 2020).
The Philological Society (Honorary Secretary for publications from 2006 to 2012).
Awards and research projects
Research Support Fund award of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (£1.8K) to conduct research on Gallo-Italian dialects (November 2014-June 2015).
AHRC Research Grant, Standard Scheme (AH/H032509/1, £535,927): Existential constructions: An investigation into the Italo-Romance dialects (November 2010-June 2014).
AHRC Research Grant, Research Leave Scheme (AH/E506011/1, £23,268): Existential constructions: discourse, semantics, syntax (Semester 2: Academic year 2008/2009).
Consultant on the Atlante Linguistico della Sicilia (on-going), the Atlante Sintattico d'Italia (Universita' degli studi di Padova) (2013-2015) and on the AHRC-funded project Sintassi degli Antichi Volgari d'Italia (University of MAnchester and University of Bristol, 2000-2004).
Editor roles
Member of the Board of Consulting Editors, Linguistics (2019-)
Member of the International Advisory Board of Italian Journal of Linguistics (2013-2015).
Honorary Secretary for Publications (monograph series), The Philological Society (2006-2012).

Programme Director of the MA Linguistics, University of Manchester.
Expert peer reviewer for Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR).
Head of the Division of Languages and Intercultural Studies,The University of Manchester (2016-2017)
Head of the Division of Linguistics and English Language, The University of Manchester (2012-2014)
Head of the Department of Russian and Eastern European Studies, The University of Manchester (2011-2012)
Head of the Department of Italian Studies, The University of Manchester (2010-2012)
Director of the Institute of Linguistics and Language Studies, The University of Manchester (2008-2010)



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