Professor of Linguistics and Director of Undergraduate Studies
PhD, University of Pennsylvania (1991)
Laurea in Lettere Moderne, Università di Torino, Italy (1984)
Professor Raffaella Zanuttini is a linguist who studies the architecture of human language, in particular in the area of syntax, a subfield of linguistics that aims to discover the principles by which words are combined to form sentences. Her work strives to determine how exactly languages can differ from one another in their syntactic structure. She pursues her research by comparing both languages that are very different from one another (like English and Korean) and languages that differ minimally from one another (like dialects of English). Professor Zanuttini’s work has explored topics such as the syntactic expression of sentential negation and the notion of clause type (what are the ingredients that make a sentence a statement, a question, or a command?). Her books include Negation and Clausal Structure: A Comparative Study of Romance Languages (1997) and Micro-Syntactic Variation in American English (2014). Professor Zanuttini founded the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project, which explores the syntactic properties exhibited by varieties of English spoken in North America, and examines what the differences across these varieties tell us about the syntax of English and about the architecture of grammar more generally.