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I am a variationist sociolinguist studying language use within its social context. I focus on issues such as: morphosyntactic variation and change; minority languages, bilingualism and outcomes of language contact; as well as the relationship between prescription, language prestige and praxis. My research applies sociolinguistic principles to the study of language variation and change, with a focus on Romance languages, in particular, Italian and Frech.
In 2019, I graduate from the University of Ottawa where I obtained a doctorate in Linguistics and where I currenty work as Research Advisor (Faculty of Law) and Adjunct Professor in Linguistics.

Name : Salvio Digesto
Email : sdigesto@uottawa.ca
Address : 70 Laurier Ave. East, Ottawa ON Canada K1N 6N5, Room 435
Affiliation : Sociolinguistics Laboratory, OttawaU
Academia.edu : SalvioDigesto
Languages : Italian, French, English
Spanish, Japanese (intermediate)

Education


  • 2013 - 2019

    Ph.D. Linguistics

    University of Ottawa


    Thesis:"Verum a fontibus haurire. A Variationist Analysis of Subjunctive Variability Across Space and Time: from Contemporary Italian back to Vulgar Latin.

    Thesis supervisor: Shana Poplack.

    Thesis Committee: Massimo Cerruti (Università di Torino), Stephen Levey (University of Ottawa), Éric Mathieu (University of Ottawa), Ana Arregui (University of Ottawa/UMass Amherst)

  • 2010 - 2012

    M.A. Études Romanes
    Linguistics and Translation

    Université Paris-Sorbonne


    Thesis:"Need a bag? Voulez-vous un sac?". Le code-switching à Montréal. Une réinterprétation urbaine ?".

    With honours.
    Thesis supervisor: Alessandra Stazzone.

  • 2011 - 2012

    International Exchange Program
    Département de linguistique

    Université de Montréal


  • 2008 - 2010

    B.A./Licence Langues, Littératures et Civilisations Étrangères

    Université Paris-Sorbonne


    Minor FLE (Français Langue Étrangère)

    With honours.

  • 2007 - 2009

    Diplôme d’Université (DU)
    Langue et Culture Japonaises

    Université Paris 7 Diderot


  • 2005 - 2006

    Certificate
    Advertising and Communication

    ILAS - Istituto Superiore di Comunicazione


Research

In my research, I draw on insights and questions from (socio)linguistic theory, and I link those questions to empirical observations by integrating quantitative and statistical modeling to the study of language. I believe that integrating evidence from multiple sources can lead us to a better understanding of the structure of language.

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    RELATIVE CLAUSES

    I recently joined the international research project CAPES-PRINT Initiative (Brazil), exporing variation in relative clauses in English (Stephen Levey, University of Ottawa), Brazilian Portuguese (Rosane Berlinck, Unesp - Universidade Estadual Paulista), French and Italian (Salvatore Digesto, University of Ottawa).

  • M

    LANGUAGE CONTACT

    My research interests include examining underlying mechanisms of language mixing. My goal is to investigate the outcomes of language contact, e.g. borrowing and code-swithing, in Italian-English and Italian-French bilingual discourse.

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    DATA COLLECTION

    Another core project is related to data collection through sociolinguistic interviews. My goal is to build different benchmarks for the study of Italian of both monolingual and bilingual speakers, in order to study variation and change in Italian as well as its contact situation with English and French when spoken by heritage speakers.

Other Research Projects

Throughout the years, I have gained experience in data collection and handling, concordance software, and quantitative and statistical analyses, by working on large-scale spontaneous speech corpora of both monolingual Canadian French, from 19th to 21st century, Italian, bilingual Canadian French/English as well as British English. I also participated in a number of different research projects, exploring morpho-syntactic and discourse-pragmatic features in Italian, French and English, as well as language contact through a study of English compound words in French discourse.

Research projects in which I participated at the Sociolinguistics Laboratory, directed by Shana Poplack, at the University of Ottawa (From Fall 2014):

Y Subjunctive variability in Romance.
Y Language ideology and prescription vs. usage of the Italian Subjunctive.
Y Comparative study of the variable expression of future temporal reference in French and Italian speech.
Y Conditionals in French: the alternation between indicative and conditional in si-clauses in 19th and 21st century Canadian French.
Y Complementizer deletion in British English in 7UP series: Change over a lifespan.
Y Language mixing: English compound words in French discourse.

Research projects In collaboration with Prof. Stephen Levey, at the University of Ottawa:

Y The acquisition of syntactic complexity in later childhood: a sociolinguistic study of English finite complement clauses.
Y A Romance perspective on the quotative system.
Y Complementizer deletion in French discourse.

Publications


In progress Digesto, Salvatore. Lexical conditioning and apparent productivity of the Italian subjunctive.
In progress Digesto, Salvatore & Levey, Stephen. L’acquisition de la variabilité dans l’usage du complémenteur que en français canadien.
To appear Levey, Stephen, Kastronic, Laura, Digesto, Salvatore & Chiasson-Léger, Mélissa. Quotative Variation and Change in French, with Additional Insights from Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. In Discourse Pragmatic Variation and Change: Theory, Innovations, Contact, edited by Peterson, E., Kern, J. & Hiltunen, T. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Peer-reviewed)
2020 Digesto, Salvatore. Kontext (Version BETA) [Computer Software]. Ottawa, Canada: University of Ottawa. Available from https://www.digesto.ca/kontext.
2018 Poplack, Shana, Torres Cacoullos, Rena, Dion, Nathalie, de Andrade Berlinck, Rosane, Digesto Salvatore, Lacasse, Dora & Steuck, Jonathan. 2016. Variation and grammaticalization in Romance: A cross-linguistic study of the subjunctive. In Ayres-Bennet, Wendy & Carruthers, Janice (eds.), Manuals in Linguistics: Romance Sociolinguistics. de Gruyter, pp. 217-252. (Peer-reviewed)
2017 Digesto, Salvatore & Poplack, Shana. Le français canadien. Un français comme les autres. In France Forum, 65, April 2017, pp. 93-94.

Dissertation


Title Verum a fontibus haurire. A Variationist Analysis of Subjunctive Variability Across Space and Time: from Contemporary Italian back to Vulgar Latin.
Abstract This dissertation investigates the use of the subjunctive in completive clauses governed by verbs in Italian, both synchronically and diachronically, and in Vulgar Latin. By making use of the tools provided by the Variationist Sociolinguistic framework (Labov 1972, 1994), the current study sheds light on the underlying conditioning on variability using actual usage and speech-surrogate data. Contemporary actual speech data comes from LIP (De Mauro et al. 1993) and C-ORAL-ROM (Cresti & Moneglia 2005) corpora, providing spontaneous discourse in casual and careful speech as well as sub-sample divisions representative of geographical variation. In order to measure any changes in the underlying conditioning on subjunctive selection, a diachronic benchmark is established: a corpus of speech-like surrogates of 16th to 20th century Italian, COHI (Corpus of Historical Italian), and a corpus of Vulgar Latin (Cena Trimalchionis, from the Satyricon by Petronius). The subjunctives were extracted in adherence to the principle of accountability (Labov 1972), using the method developed by Poplack (1992): every complement clause governed by a matrix verb (governor) that triggered the subjunctive at least once was included. This method enables us to circumvent the issue of the lack of consensus in the literature on exactly which contexts, i.e. verbs and/or meanings, should trigger the subjunctive in discourse. This issue surfaces as well from the meta-linguistic analysis of a compendium of 58 Italian grammars and treaties (CSGI, Collezione Storica di Grammatiche Italiane), constructed for the purpose of this research. A series of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors proposed by formal and prescriptive literature are operationalized and tested against the corpora of both Italian and Vulgar Latin, in order to ascertain the nature of variability in discourse: i.e. whether the use of the subjunctive is semantically motivated, productive in speech or undergoing desemanticization and lexicalization. Despite widespread assumption of a change that occurred after the political and the subsequent linguistic unification of Italy, i.e. that the subjunctive has lost ground in favour of the indicative when it was supposedly used categorically in the past, quantitative and statistical evidence shows that subjunctive selection is largely determined by lexical identity of the governor as well as embedded suppletive forms of essere, and that this pattern has been operative at least since the 16th century. On a more socio-linguistic aspect, this study confirms the linguistic prestige that the subjunctive has acquired in contemporary speech, being selected with a wider range of infrequent and singleton governors by highly educated speakers. Also, the highly lexicalized pattern on variability was found to be largely shared amongst the four main urban centres of Florence, Milan, Rome, and Naples, thus countering the assumption of divergent linguistic behaviour between northern and southern varieties of Italian. The study also shows that despite the significant time span targeted, no evidence of desemanticization has been found. Likewise, the variationist analysis on the Vulgar Latin subjunctive shows that subjunctive choice was already largely determined by, and restricted, to a few governors, identified as ‘volitive’ and ‘emotive’ matrices. These governors remained strong predictors for the selection of the subjunctive in Italian as well, suggesting that this lexical pattern has been transferred and consistently retained in the daughter language.
   
Download uO Research

Comprehensive Papers & Unpublished manuscripts


Y 1st Comprehensive Paper in Variationist Sociolinguistics. L’évolution de l’expression de la référence temporelle du futur en italien : une étude synchronique et diachronique.
Y Language ideology and prescription vs. usage of the Italian Subjunctive2nd Comprehensive Paper in Formal Semantics/Pragmatics. Strong and Weak Claims. A semantic account of counterfactuals in Italian.
Y I think Ø something is missing here: A variationist study of complementizer deletion in Italian discourse. Seminar: Urban Dialectology II. University of Ottawa, Winter 2014.
Y When is a black horse a black-horse? English compound words in French discourse. Seminar: Bilingualism. University of Ottawa, Winter 2015.
Y T’es comme : « Ahh ! ». C’est le fun, tu sais. Réflexions variationnistes autour de être comme en français québécois. Seminar: Urban Dialectology I. University of Ottawa, Fall 2014.
Y Assessing the counterfactual implicature in an experimental setting with R. Seminar: Experimental Pragmatics. University of Ottawa, Winter 2015.

Conferences/Guest Lectures


2020 What the Italian subjunctive "actually" means. Linguistweets. December 5, 2020. ABRALIN - Brazilian Linguistics Association.
2020 Manipulating Corpus Data with KONTEXT. Invited Speaker. October 19 & 30, 2020. Faculdade de Ciências e Letras, Universidade Estadual Paulista – UNESP. São Paulo, Brazil.
2019 Assessing language contact in a minority context in Canada: The Case of Ontarian French. Guest lecture. Course LIN 2760 Bilingualism. Prof. Stephen Levey. Fall 2019. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada.
2018 Levey, Stephen, Digesto, Salvatore, Chiasson-Léger, Mélissa, Dei Tos Cardenuto, Ariane and Lefebvre, Sarah. 2018. Putting the Romance back into reported speech: Evidence from Quebec French, Acadian French, Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. DiPVaC 4. 28-30 May. University of Helsinki. Helsinki, Finland.
2016 Unveiling the Future: the case of Italian. OCLU 2016. 26 November. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada. (Plenary)
2016 Unveiling the Future: the case of Italian. Seminar in Sociolinguistics. Prof. Shana Poplack. Fall 2016. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada
2016 Poplack, Shana, Torres Cacoullos, Rena, De Andrade-Berlinck, Rosane, Digesto, Salvatore, Dion, Nathalie, Lacasse, Dora & Steuck, Jonathan. 2016. Meaningful variation? A multi-language study of the Romance subjunctive. Sociolinguistics Symposium (SS) 21. 17 June. University of Murcia. Murcia, Spain.
2016 Patterns of futurity: A variationist study of future temporal reference in Italian. Change and Variation in Canada (CVC) 9. 8 May. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada.
2016 with Shana Poplack. 2016. Identical or fraternal twins? The Synthetic Future in French and Italian. Linguistics Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL) 46. Stony Brook University (SUNY). New York, USA. Accepted but withdrawna.
2016 Poplack, Shana, Torres Cacoullos, Rena, De Andrade-Berlinck, Rosane, Digesto, Salvatore, Dion, Nathalie, Lacasse, Dora & Steuck, Jonathan. 2016. Tracking grammaticalization across Romance: Evidence from the subjunctive. Linguistics Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL) 46. 31 March. Stony Brook University (SUNY). New York, USA.
2015 Strong and Weak Claims. A Semantic Account of Counterfactuals in Italian. Invited speaker. Doctoral Seminar. Prof. Éric Mathieu. Fall 2015. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, CanadaSA.
2015 Poplack, Shana, Torres Cacoullos, Rena, De Andrade-Berlinck, Rosane, Digesto, Salvatore, Dion, Nathalie, Lacasse, Dora & Steuck, Jonathan. 2015. Using variability to measure grammaticalization: A pan-Romance study of the subjunctive. New Ways of Analysing Variation (NWAV) 44. 23 October. University of Toronto. Toronto, Canada.
2015 Poplack, Shana, De Andrade-Berlinck, Rosane, Digesto, Salvatore & Dion, Nathalie. 2015. A pan-Romance perspective on subjunctive variability. Canadian Linguistic Association (CLA) 2015. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada.
2015 Le Futur à Présent. Une étude variationniste de la référence temporelle du futur en italien parlé. Journées de Linguistique (JDL) 2015. 6 March. Université Laval. Québec, Canada.
2013 Langues et société à l'ère de la mondialisation. Le cas de Montréal. Conference: "Valeur(s) et responsabilité(s) face à la globalisation". November, 22. Université Paris-Est Créteil et Université Paris-Sorbonne. Paris, France.
2013 "Need a bag? Voulez-vous un sac?". Lieux et enjeux du code-switching à Montréal. International Conference: "La frontière en soi". 2 May. Université de Montréal. Montréal, Canada.

Conference co-organization


2016 DiPVaC3 - Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change, 4-6 May, 2016, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
2016 CVC9 – Change and Variation in Canada, 4-6 May, 2016, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Grants & Awards


2020 Nominated for the Part-time Professor of the year Award, APTPUO, University of Ottawa.
2019-20 APTPUO Academic and Professional Development Fund. University of Ottawa.
2014-19 Bourse de la francophonie internationale, University of Ottawa.
2017-18 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS).
2017-18 University of Ottawa Excellence Scholarship.
2017-18 APTPUO Academic and Professional Development Fund. University of Ottawa..
2016-17 Department of Linguistics bursary, University of Ottawa.
2016-17 D.S. Mullen Bursary, University of Ottawa.
2015-16 SCFP Funds, University of Ottawa.
2015-16 André Lapierre Scholarship, University of Ottawa.
2015 Stephen Levey Bursary, University of Ottawa.
2014-15 APUO Scholarship, University of Ottawa.

Employement


Adjunct Professor
Teaching at Carleton University
(Ottawa, ON - Canada)
  Winter 2021 Morphologie [FREN 3412]

Teaching at University of Ottawa
(Ottawa, ON - Canada)
  Fall 2020 Sociolinguistique [LIN3742]
  Winter 2020 Introduction to Semantics [LIN3315]
  Fall 2019 Introduction à la sémantique [LIN3715]
  Fall 2019 Les langues dans le monde [LIN2700]
  Fall 2019 Qu’est-ce que le langage ? [LIN1700]
  Summer 2019 Introduction à la linguistique, “Destination Clic”, Summer program for francophone students
  Winter 2019 Les langues dans le monde [LIN2700]
  Winter 2019 Langue et société [LIN1740]
  Fall 2018 Sociolinguistique [LIN3742]
  Fall 2018 Qu’est-ce que le langage ? [LIN1700]
  Summer 2018 Introduction à la linguistique, “Destination Clic”, Summer program for francophone students
  Winter 2018 Sociolinguistique [LIN3742]
  Fall 2017 Introduction à la sémantique [LIN3715]
  Fall 2016 Sociolinguistique [LIN3742]

Teaching at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris - France)
  Winter 2013 Italian [Level 1, 2 & 4]
  Fall 2012 Italian [Level 1 & 2]

Teaching Assistant at University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON - Canada)
  Fall 2013 Sociolinguistics [LIN3342], taught by Shana Poplack

Skills

Acoustic Analysis/transcription: Concorder PRO, ELAN, Praat, Audacity
GOLDVARB (Statistical Package for Linguistic Variation)
Other Statistical Packages: R, SPSS
Programming Languages: HTML5, CSS, Python
Time Management
Collaboration with internal and external stakeholders
Problem Solving