Settimana della Lingua Italiana Nel Mondo

The role of Italian in the architecture of the human language, natural logic, and bilingualism.

Event Details


swissnex Boston
420 Broadway, Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138 United States


October 27, 2014 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm America/New York (UTC-05:00)

Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo

Italian Language and Bilingualism

swissnex Boston and the Consulate General of Italy are celebrating the Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo.

As part of this special series, a transatlantic panel of linguistics experts will discuss the role of the Italian language in human language, natural logic, and bilingualism.

The panel discussion will be in English.

The Subject Which Wasn’t There

Andrea Moro

We will see how scientific reflections on Italian language paved the way toward a better understanding of the architecture of human language and shed light on the mysterious phenomenon of spontaneous language acquisition by children. We will see some historical examples centred on the special behaviour of verbs in Italian and the possibility not to express the subject in sentences.

This will show how grammar is a mental “Rubick’s cube” where all elements have connections and effect on the others.


The Spontaneous Logicality of Language: The Case of Italian

Gennaro Chierchia

How do we come to understand one another? Why does information spontaneously attach to human languages, but not to other human activities (like, say, music)? Two key ideas have emerged in recent research in addressing these questions. The first is that core aspects of human language, including meaning, are shaped by grammar. That is to say, the phonological and syntactic properties of a linguistic string give form to what that string conveys, and not the other way around. The second idea is that human language meaning can (and must) be studied through mathematical tools that unveil its spontaneous logicality, i.e. the inferential-deductive system (the logic) that is tightly intertwined with language and responsible for a multiplicity of aspects of meaning. These ideas will be illustrated with examples that show the role that Italian is playing in unveiling our natural logic through grammar.


Raising bilingual children: Its impact and beyond

Suzanne Flynn

What are the advantages to raising a child with more than one language? What is the best way to go about raising a bilingual child? Whether you are thinking about raising a multilingual child, or have already decided to do so, this workshop will guide you through that process. This seminar will review the research on the effects of bilingual experiences on children’s language development and discuss social factors that can help children acquire and maintain fluency in more than one language. This seminar will also focus on the advantages and possibilities for lifelong language learning.


About The Speakers


Andrea Moro (1962) is professor of General Linguistics, director of the Research Center for Neurocognition and Theoretical Syntax (NeTS) at the Institute for advanced study IUSS (Pavia, Italy). Fulbright student and visiting scientist at MIT and at Harvard University for several times he obtained a “Diplôme d’études supérieures” at the University of Geneva. His main fields of research are theoretical syntax and the neurobiological foundations of syntax. Among his books: The Raising of Predicates (CUP, 1997), Dynamic Antisymmetry (MIT Press, 2000), The Boundaries of Babel (MIT Press, 2008), The Equilibrium of Human Syntax (Routledge, 2013) Breve storia del verbo “essere”, Adelphi,  2010; Parlo dunque sono, Adelphi (2012); he published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science PNAS, Trends in Cognitive Science, Linguistic Inquiry, Lingua and Nature Neuroscience.


Gennaro Chierchia is Haas Foundations Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. He has previously taught at the University of Milan (Statale) and at the University of Milan-Bicocca. His main object of research is how meaning is informed by grammar, how it develops in children,  and how it can be coded in the human mind. He has written many articles and books on these topics including, e.g., Meaning and Grammar (MIT Press, 1990, 2000; trad. it. a cura di W. Castelnuovo, Muzzio, Padua, 1993), Dynamics of Meaning (University of Chicago Press, 2001) and Logic in Grammar (Oxford University Press, 2013).


Suzanne Flynn, Ph. D., Professor of Linguistics and Language Acquisition, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT.

Dr. Flynn has been a Professor of Linguistics Acquisition at MIT for over 30 years. Her research focuses on the acquisition of various aspects of syntax in children and adults in the context of multilingual language learning. More recently, her work has focused on the neural representation of the multilingual brain and issues related to impairment viz., autism. She has published extensively in journals and has authored and coedited several books. Dr. Flynn is the co-founding editor of “Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research.” She is also clinically certified in Speech and Language Pathology.