Prof Delia Bentley

Professor of Romance Linguistics

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Research interests

My principal research interest is in the interface of morphosyntax with discourse and lexical meaning, which I explore on evidence from the microvariation attested synchronically in the grammars of major and lesser-known Romance languages. By observing these closely cognate languages, I investigate whether and to what extent the attested patterns of grammatical variation depend on differences in the sensitivity to lexically-driven meaning and to discourse. My principal research contributions to date have been on split intransitivity, existential and presentational constructions, the discourse and semantic underpinnings of subjecthood, and the formation of result state adjectives. At present I am investigating V-S agreement on evidence from Northern Italo-Romance dialects and psych-verbs on evidence from Sicilian and other Romace languages.

I have a keen interest in the documentation of the Romance dialects of Italy, a large number of Romance languages which are rapidly receding under pressure from the national language (Italian). In my AHRC-funded research project on existential and locative constructions, I set up a publicly accessible source of data from Italo-Romance and Sardinian dialects of Italy ( With Francesco Ciconte and Silvio Cruschina, the RAs on the project, I also produced a collection of short stories and fairy tales in the dialects of Italy. This is available on DVD and booklet.

Principal awards :

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).


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display