Luigi Talamo

I am a linguist interested in language diversity and variation, which I try to understand from a functional-typological perspective using quantitative methods.

Since my inception in Linguistics I have been working with a particular type of linguistic data, namely, corpora; my first work, actually, my MA thesis, is a corpus-based study of suffix combinations in Italian (1). After graduating, I worked at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, where I have developed an annotated database of Italian derivational suffixes, derIvaTario (2,, as an extension of an early Italian corpus.

I then enrolled in the PhD programme in Linguistics at the Universities of Bergamo and Pavia, where I conducted a study on nominalizations of property concepts in a journalistic corpus of Italian (4). During my doctoral years and immediately thereafter I have also contributed to the building of a pragmatically annotated corpus of Classical Latin (3) and a philological corpus of Early Modern Sardinian (5,

I eventually managed to combine my long-term interests in Linguistic Typology and Corpus Linguistics when I joined Jun. Prof. Annemarie Verkerk at Saarland University in preparation of a grant proposal for the third round of SFB 1102 ( Since the end of 2019, we have been developing a parallel corpus, CIEP+, for typological analysis, thus joining the pioneeristic field of token-based typology (7, 8, 9). Such 'hunger for linguistic data' is not restricted to occurrences (tokens) of strategies or constructions in corpora, but it also embraces the collection of typological datapoints at the deepest level, that is, dialects; this methodology was applied to a phylogenetic study of negative existentials in Indo-European, covering more than 100 IE dialects (6).

Working in a department with a strong tradition of translation studies my interests have broadened to contrastive linguistics, again in a corpus- and usage- based framework. 

Selected publications

  • 1: Luigi Talamo. Suffix combinations in Italian: selectional restrictions and processing constraints. In Stela Manova, editor, Affix Ordering Across Languages and Frameworks, pages 175–204. Oxford University Press, 2015
  • 2: Luigi Talamo, Chiara Celata, and Pier Marco Bertinetto. derIvaTario: a lexicon of annotated Italian derivatives. Word Structure, 9(1): 72–102, 2016
  • 3: Chiara Fedriani, Chiara Ghezzi, and Luigi Talamo. Exploring linguistic representations of identity through the DiSCIS corpus: evidence from Directive acts in Plautus and Goldoni. In Piera Molinelli, editor, Language and identity in multilingual mediterranean settings: Challenges for historical sociolinguistics. De Gruyter Mouton, 2017
  • 4: Luigi Talamo. Nominalization of Property Concepts: Evidence from Italian. Bergamo University Press (ISBN: 978-88-97413-32-5, DOI: 10.6092/978-88-97413-32-5), 2018
  • 5: Nicoletta Puddu and Luigi Talamo. EModSar: A Corpus of Early Modern Sardinian Texts. In Atti del IX Convegno Annuale dell’Associazione per l’Informatica Umanistica e la Cultura Digitale (AIUCD), Milan, Italy, January 15 - 17, 2020, pages 210–215, 2020
  • 6: Shahar Shirtz, Luigi Talamo, and Annemarie Verkerk. The evolutionary dynamics of negative existentials in Indo-European. Frontiers in Communication, 6: 661862, 2021

Coming soon

  • 7: Luigi Talamo and Annemarie Verkerk. A new methodology for an old problem: a corpus-based typology of adnominal word order in European languages. in review
  • 8: Natalia Levshina, Savithry Namboodiripad, Marc Allassonnière-Tang, Mathew A Kramer, Luigi Talamo, Annemarie Verkerk, Gabriela Wilmoth, Sasha Garrido Rodriguez, Timothy Gupton, Evan Kidd, Zoey Liu, Chiara Naccarato, Rachel Nordlinger, Anastasia Panova, and Natalia Stoynova. Why we need a gradient approach to word order. in review
  • 9: Further work to come on human reference & surprisal


My Research Gate page
My GitHub repository
Google scholar


I teach one course per semester, usually in the form of Seminar or Hauptseminar.

I have taught an introductory seminar to Linguistic Typology (Languages of Europe: a Typological Perspective) in summer semester 2020/2021, which was divided into two parts, a foundational part and a special focus on Standard Average European.

In the winter semester of 2020 (WiSe) I have taught an advanced seminar (Hauptseminar: Rational communication across languages) on information-theoretic measures applied to cross-linguistic studies; after several introductory classes, students presented and discussed a dozen of papers on topics ranging from word order to gender marking.


I would be happy to supervise BA/MA students on the following topics:

- linguistic typology, especially on nominal and mixed lexical categories (adjectives, nominalizations);
- corpus linguistics, with a focus on contrastive and cross-linguistic studies with information theoretic measures (entropy, surprisal, ...);
- low-resource languages, i.e., languages that are either understudied (grammars, language descriptions) or lack computational resources such as corpora, parsers, ...

I am currently supervising the following thesis:

Zenija Minka, Modal ellipsis in German, Russian and Spanish football commentaries: a corpus- and frequency- based approach (MA, with prof. Elke Teich)