Literature and Mathematics>
The doctoral research project – which focuses on French and German literary texts written in the early 20th Century – deals with the relationship between literature and mathematics, analysed through the study of some texts that directly aims the question, in order to observe how mathematics is used metaphorically as a tool for investigating possibility, showing that literature is a cognitive tool in a continuous tension between precision and possibility.
Literatur und Mathematik
Das Dissertationsprojekt, das sich auf deutsch- und französischsprachige Texte aus dem 19. Jahrhundert konzentriert, beschäftigt sich mit den Beziehungen zwischen Literatur und Mathematik, die Mathematik im metaphorischen Sinne als Mittel zur Untersuchung der Möglichkeit verwendet.
Littérature et mathématiques
Le projet de recherche doctorale – qui se concentre sur des textes germanophones du début du XXe siècle – porte sur les rapports entre littérature et mathématiques, analysant à travers l’étude des textes qui interrogeaient directement la question, afin d’observer comment les textes pris en l’analyse mathématique soit utilisée au sens métaphorique comme outil d’investigation de la possibilité, et comment la littérature est un outil cognitif qui agit avec des instruments et des voies propres, dans une tension continue entre précision et possibilité.
Supervisor: Prof. Stefano Brugnolo – Pisa
Jenna El Hilali
Intercultural exchanges in the ancient Mediterranean: cosmography, literature and myths
Based on a few figures of ‘foreign’ mediators who linked through their ‘descriptions’ various places and people of the Mediterranean during Antiquity and Renaissance, we seek to understand how Myth and History can interpenetrate to make Literature a field allowing for the circulation of ideas, knowledge and cultures. In the Euro-Mediterranean area, the coexistence of Otherness, real or symbolic, has lenghtily favoured the construction of a plural identity that allows both worldwide and self-awareness. Thus, in the 16th century, an Andalusian Moorish diplomat, whose destiny was adventurous, was adopted by Pope Leo X, and was renamed after him Jean-Léon de Médicis. He became a cosmographer and, thanks to his knowledge of languages, customs and sciences still unknown to westerners, he could transcribe into Italian the sum of his knowledge about Africa. This example, which is not an isolated one, raises new questions in the context of a global geopolitical order which is definitely ignoring lessons from History while making Exclusion the new rule.
Les échanges interculturels en Méditerranée ancienne : cosmographie, littérature et mythes
A partir de quelques figures de passeurs “étrangers” qui, de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance, ont relié, par leurs “descriptions”, divers lieux et peuples de la Méditerranée, nous cherchons à observer comment le mythe et l’histoire s’interpénètrent pour faire de la littérature un espace de circulation des idées, des savoirs et des cultures. Dans l’espace euro-méditerranéen, la coexistence des altérités, réelles ou symboliques, a longtemps favorisé la construction d’une identité plurielle qui permet à la fois de connaître le monde et de se connaître soi-même. Ainsi, au XVIe siècle, un diplomate maure d’origine andalouse au destin aventureux, adopté par le pape Léon X qui lui donne son propre nom, Jean-Léon de Médicis, devient cosmographe et transcrit en italien la somme des connaissances sur l’Afrique qu’il possède grâce à sa connaissance des langues, des coutumes et des sciences inconnues des Occidentaux. Ce cas, qui n’est pas isolé, soulève encore de nouvelles questions face à un équilibre géopolitique mondial dominé par les exclusions et l’oubli des leçons de l’histoire
Supervisor: Prof. Antonietta Sanna – Pisa
Generational Hauntings: Forms and Ethicsof Domestic Trauma in the Contemporary Family Novel [L-LIN/10]
The research project concerns the study of the family novel, understood here as the story of a family which spans two or more generations, and which is characterised by a series of recurring elements, in themes as well as in structure. As shown by the relatively sparse but pioneering studies on the subject, the family novel as a literary genre is a problematic (as well as necessary) category which deserves further scholarly attention. My research consists in a three-fold comparative analysis: I plan to take a closer look at works from three contemporary novelists and use two novels of each as case studies. The primary sources would therefore amount to six novels, as I intend to argue that these novelists are carrying out a personal meditation on this literary genre, and that the six novels which are to be analysed can be read as phases of a gradual exercise in taking apart a certain facet of the family novel. Taking a closer look at a peculiar and frequently slippery genre such as the family novel provides us with the opportunity to test how these texts naturally interact and deal with the very same themes and preoccupations which characterize most of contemporary literature. The family novel, in fact, inevitably tackles such issues as the relationship with materiality (i.e. how is family heritage transmitted?); the question of connectivity and authenticity, in the sense of how today’s interpersonal relationships are developed); finally, confronting temporality, as it clearly emerges from the conflictual stances the protagonists of these novels have with history, the past and how it shapes the present.
Supervisor: Prof. Roberta Ferrari – Pisa
L’image du corps dans les Mémoires d’outre-tombe de Chateaubriand
The research investigates the human body representation and its images, through a stylistic, rhetorical, and philological analysis of Chateaubriand’s Mémoires d’outre-tombe (1768-1848). The work alternates the analysis of single case studies with moments of synthesis guided by the concepts of character (caractère) and sensitivity (sensibilité), of which I try to analyze metamorphoses and survivals.
La recherche porte sur la représentation de l’image du corps humain, à travers une analyse stylistique, rhétorique et philologique des Mémoires d’outre-tombe de Chateaubriand (1768-1848). La thèse alterne l’analyse de cas particuliers et de moments de synthèse guidés par les concepts de caractère et de sensibilité, dont j’essaie d’analyser les métamorphoses et les survivances.
Supervisore: Prof. Gianni Iotti – Pisa
The Beginnings of South American Science Fiction: Utopia and Satire
The project is dedicated to the study of the first science fiction texts in Chilean and Argentinian literature at the end of the 19th century, in particular those which, through the typically utopian motif of the travel through space or time and the representation of new ways of social organization, conceal moral and social criticism to reality of their times. Through the examination, both in a formal and thematic sense, of the interpretations that the authors made of the models they imitated (classical satire, the scientific novel of the 19th century) and the analysis of recurring meaningful elements (negative representation of the masses, description of custom and manners with moral aim, the use of a literary form to convey a strongly ideological message), this investigation aims at understanding which particular idea of progress and which vision of the past can be found behind these texts, and in which sense their circulation was supposed to actively contribute, in their authors’ mind, to the modernization processes of their countries.
Los comienzos de la narrativa sudamericana de ciencia ficción: sátira y utopía
El proyecto está dedicado al estudio de los primeros textos de ciencia ficción de las literaturas chilena y argentina de finales del siglo XIX, en particular a aquellos que, tras la representación de nuevas formas de organización social sobre las que suelen estar construidas las tramas utópicas del viaje a otro país o del viaje a través del tiempo, esconden una crítica moral y social a la realidad de su tiempo. Teniendo en cuenta, en un sentido tanto formal como temático, la interpretación de los modelos que sus autores imitan (la sátira clásica, la novela científica del siglo XIX) y los elementos más significativos por su repetición (la representación negativa de las masas, la descripción de costumbres con intento moralizante, la elección de formas literarias para transmitir un contenido con una fuerte carga ideológica), la investigación busca entender qué particular idea de progreso y qué visión del pasado se encuentran detrás de estos textos, y en qué sentido su difusión hubiera tenido que contribuir, según sus autores, a los procesos de modernización de sus respectivos países.
Supervisor: Prof. Alessandra Ghezzani – Pisa
Complex figures of speech: a cognitive pragmatic approach
The research project aims at analysing the cognitive complexity of compound figures of speech, that is tropes which serve more than one purpose (i.e. ironic metaphor, hyperbolic metaphor, etc.). These expressions occur frequently in everyday speech, but they have so far received less attention in the literature than has been devoted to individual tropes. The research question concerns the logical, psychological and temporal order of interpretation: is an ironic metaphor first interpreted as a metaphor and then as irony, for instance, or is one interpretation conditioned on the other, and if so, how? The hypothesis is that the actual interpretation of these dual-figure uses depends on the context, both in terms of contextual attractors and contextual salience. The theoretical claim, however, is that individual tropes are not represented in the mind as rigid categories but rather as multidimensional spaces including flexible sets of factors that may group together differently on different occasions to let one or the other interpretation emerge. Ultimately, the study focuses on verifying the ability of the human mind to process meanings at multiple dimensions: not only from literal to metaphorical, but also from literal to metaphorical to hyperbolic (for instance).
Supervisor: Prof. Marcella Bertuccelli – Pisa
Ana Luiza Oliveira De Souza
Inglese: The transitivity of Portuguese as a heritage language in Italy. Activation and Reactivation.
The project aims to develop the theoretical knowledge of the transitivity models that occur during the acquisition / learning process of Portuguese as a heritage language. The research adopts the perspective of Construction Grammar and Usage-Based Linguistics. It consists of the qualitative study of the linguistic production of bilingual children between the ages of 5 and 13 who, living in Italy and speaking Portuguese as a heritage language (language of origin). The data are extracted from records of oral interactions that took place during educational activities of the Brazilian association Casa do Brasil in Florence, a community school located in the city of Florence. The main objective is, therefore, to describe how, among the acquisition, activation and reactivation profiles, the transitivity patterns of Portuguese manifest themselves in contact with Italian.
Supervisor: Prof. Monica Lupetti – Pisa; Prof. Vania Cristina Casseb-Galvão (Brasil)
Pietro Carlo-Maria Giusteri
Per un Thesaurus delle lingue brittoniche: comparazione sincronica e diacronica delle attestazioni arcaiche
This project aims at investigating the relationship between the various Celtic dialects of the Brittonic insular Celtic group. Namely, the objective is to collect and organize in in a singular consistent corpus all the oldest testimonies of the Brittonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) in order to gain a new perspective on how and when these languages split, while considering contact phenomena with other languages, both inside and outside the Celtic branch. After arranging the testimonies (and their translations) in a Thesaurus, it will be possible to shed new light not only on phonetic, phonological and syntactic data, but also on semantic data. Any current hypothesis on the history of mutual intelligibility between the Brittonic dialects will be thoroughly analysed.
Supervisor: Prof. Andrea Nuti – Pisa
Linguistic Generalization in Transformer-Based Pre-trained Language Models
Real-valued vector representations of words and sentences are widely used to solve diverse natural language processing tasks. In recent years, transformer-based Neural language models have been largely adopted towards this end. Indeed, the representations they produce make it possible to obtain spectacular performances on a wide array of downstream tasks. This suggests that such models capture better the information contained in their input sentences that their predecessor, even without being explicitly supervised during their training. The nature of this information is still scarcely understood, as these models are mostly used as black boxes. Their decisions are hard to interpret, as the models generally have a great number of parameters (up to 10^12 for the most recent architectures).
In this thesis, it is first proposed to investigate the extent to which representation produced by neural language models capture the structure of their input sentences. More generally, the goal of this thesis is to develop new diagnostic methods to evaluate the nature of linguistic representations acquired during training, in order to better understand the capacities of neural language models.
Supervisor: Prof. Alessandro Lenci
Pronunciation in Italian L2: accuracy and assessment
The thesis aims at investigating the segmental and suprasegmental deviations in the pronunciation of Italian by a sample of learners of Italian as a foreign language at B1, B2, C1 level who took part in the oral production exam of the Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language (CILS). At the same time the assessment of the corresponding oral production tests will be performed by raters and teachers of Italian as a second/foreign language (L2/LS). The goal of the study is to test the correlation between the accuracy of pronunciation measured through instrumental analysis and the impressionistic assessment provided on pronunciation by raters and teachers using holistic and analytical rating scales, by exploring the process underlying the assessment partly through the use of the elicitation technique Thinking aloud. In other terms, based on the studies carried out mainly on the English language and by employing Derwing and Munro’s (1995; 2020) model of pronunciation perception, the purpose is to verify the impact of deviant pronunciation traits on the assessment of oral production, a test as subjective, multidimensional and difficult to assess.
Supervisor: Prof. Francesca Gallina – Pisa