ILA lectures will take place on Zoom in 2023. We have an amazing line-up of speakers.


October 7, 2023

Observing migrant words: researching the fate of Italian loanwords in Europe and beyond

Dr. Matthias Heinz
University of Salzburg, Austria

Time: October 7, 2023 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 847 5134 9823
Passcode: 929712

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The Osservatorio degli italianismi nel mondo (OIM), an observatory on Italian loanwords worldwide, is an ongoing international project hosted by the Accademia della Crusca in order to document the lexical impact of Italian as a donor language worldwide (cf. Heinz 2017, Pizzoli 2017, Pizzoli/Heinz 2022). With its long-standing history as a rich and diverse source for loanwords Italian has been the source of many borrowings from culturally relevant lexical domains (e.g. music, arts) in various languages while numerous Italianisms also stem from geographical proximity or the presence of migrant communities and are therefore contact-induced.

Starting from a dictionary of Italian loanwords in French, English and German (DIFIT, Stammerjohann et al. 2008), the OIM has developed into an international research endeavor, integrating in its database corpora of Italianisms present in a growing number of languages. The first version of this lexicographical tool has been launched with the release of data for Portuguese and Hungarian, soon to be followed by Spanish, Catalan, and Polish. Meanwhile collections of Italianisms in Maltese, Mandarin Chinese and other languages are well underway. Thanks to DIFIT core data and data from an earlier survey project on Italianisms (cf. Serianni 2017) database entries for further languages are constantly being added while existing entries, especially regarding American varieties of French, English and Spanish, are being revised and refined.

This talk will address innovations and challenges inherent to such a large-scale digital research tool and the findings it can provide as to the diachronic and synchronic dimension of Italian as a contact language. Drawing on data from the OIM database allows us to reconstruct the specific ‘migration paths’ of some Italianisms and clarify the typology of the loanwords, which may differ characteristically from one recipient language to another.

Monthly Lectures 2023 - 2024


Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)
October 07 Observing migrant words: researching the fate of Italian loanwords in Europe and beyond Dr. Matthias Heinz (University of Salzburg, Austria)
November 04 Constructions, Holism, and the Reciprocity of Parts and Wholes Dr. David Wible (National Central University, Taiwan)
December 02 Mapping Linguistic Diversity and Documenting Endangered Languages in New York Dr. Ross Perlin (Co-Director of the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA))


Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)
February 03 Temporal organization of gesture and prosody in conversation in Luganda Dr. Margaret Zellers (Kiel University, Germany)
March 02 Mind and Flesh: Connecting Linguistic Knowledge to Neurons Dr. Zohar Eviatar (University of Haifa, Haifa)
May 04 TBA Dr. Michał B. Paradowski (University of Warsaw, Poland)