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Dr Chiara Ciarlo

  • Lecturer in Italian
  • Italian Language Coordinator for the degree programme
  • Italian Year Abroad Co-ordinator 


Miller  115

Building location

Miller building 

Areas of interest

My primary interest lies in First and Second Language Acquisition, particularly in the Acquisition of Syntax by L1 and L2 speakers of a language.

More recently, I have been working on a project investigating the link between the study of Linguistics and Foreign Language Learning Pedagogy.

As a theoretical linguist who teaches a foreign language, I am interested in observing and studying all aspects of the process of language learning and acquisition that occurs in my language classes, as this can further deepen our understanding of how the human faculty of language works.

As a language teacher with a background in linguistics, I apply my knowledge of linguistic phenomena, SLA research and theories of language learning and teaching, to inform and shape my teaching.

Specific areas of my pedagogic research include: Ab-Initio Language Learning and Teaching Methods, the use of Translation for Language Learning, and Language Curriculum Design and Development. Other areas of my linguistic research include: Variationist Sociolinguistics (English and Italian varieties) and Italian Dialectology.

Research interests

My primary research interest is in the acquisition and expressions of agreement in L1 and L2 speakers, and its variation in adult speakers. I have carried out research on the acquisition and use of oblique subject pronouns in English speaking children, and on the variation of subject clitic pronouns in Italian varieties. I am currently studying the acquisition of agreement in foreign language learners, and how theoretical knowledge of this particular linguistic phenomenon can inform language pedagogy.


I convene and teach Italian Language modules from ab-initio to advanced levels, and I also teach linguistics modules in the Department of Languages and Cultures and in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics.

Currently taught modules:

  • IT3L6 Advanced Italian Language III (taught and convened)
  • IT2LVS "One country, many languages. Linguistic variety and society in contemporary Italy" (taught and convened)
  • ML1IL Introduction to Linguistics

Past taught modules:

  • IT1L1 Beginners Italian Language (taught and convened)
  • IT2L2 Intermediate Italian Language
  • IT1001 Advanced Italian Language I
  • IT201 Advanced Italian Language II
  • IT301 Advanced Italian Language III: Translation into Italian
  • IT3L6 Advanced Italian Language III (taught and convened)
  • IT2LING Italian Linguistics

Research centres and groups

I am a member of:

  • Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), University of Reading
  • Linguistic Association of Great Britain (LAGB)
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • Linguistics and Knowledge about Language in Education (BAAL SIG).

Academic qualifications

  • BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures (Genoa), 2002
  • MA Contemporary English Language and Linguistics (Reading), 2004
  • PhD Linguistics (Queen Mary, London), 2010

Awards and honours

  • Rewarding Excellence Award – Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Reading, 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence Award (group award for the Italian Section) Reading University Students’ Union Excellence Award, University of Reading, 2016
  • Rewarding Excellence Award – School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading, 2014
  • Rewarding Excellence Award – Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Reading, 2013
  • Exploring Modern Languages Linguistics Project. With Dr Federico Faloppa. Teaching and Learning Development Fund (TLDF) – CDoTL, University of Reading, 2012

Selected publications

Conferences and presentations

  • ‘Imparare a tradurre e imparare traducendo: Aims, Methods and Challenges of a Translation Course’. Joint Postgraduate Training Programme in Italian Studies. Institute for Germanic and Romance Studies, London, 2012
  • ‘Subject clitic variation in Ligurian: A phi-feature analysis’. Workshop on phi-features. University of Cambridge, 2010
  • ‘On the lack of verb-subject agreement in Ligurian’. X Incontro di dialettologia italiana. University of Bristol, 2010
  • ‘Subject clitic deletion and past participle agreement in Ligurian’. IX Incontro di dialettologia italiana. University of Bristol, 2009
  • ‘Subject Clitic Variation: Evidence from spoken Ligurian’. Methods in Dialectology XIII. University of Leeds, 2008
  • ‘Subject clitic variation in Ligurian’. Queen Mary Postgraduate Discussion Group. Queen Mary, University of London, 2008
  • ‘On the nature of l’ in Ligurian: clitic or phonological element?’. XXXV Romance Linguistics Seminar. Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, 2007
  • ‘A Combinatorial approach to Subject Clitic variation in Ligurian’. 2nd Queen Mary Postgraduate Linguistics Conference. Queen Mary, University of London, 2006

Organised events

  • Linguistics in/for Modern Languages Workshop. University of Reading, 2013
  • First Conference of Italian Linguistics in the UK. University of Reading, 2010


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