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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Sara Natalia Cardullo

PhD Candidate
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


I study comparative Romance linguistics with a focus on Italo-Romance varieties, and my primary interest lies in morpho-syntactic variation arising from endogenous and contact-induced language change. My PhD project consists in the documentation and analysis of key morpho-syntactic phenomena in the dialect of the Eolian islands (Sicily), including the distribution of past tense forms (passato prossimo vs. passato remoto), the distribution of auxiliaries and agreement of past participles in the use of the compound past (passato prossimo), the use of possessives with kinship terms, finite and non-finite complementation, and pseudo-coordination. Beyond my curiosity of the extent of dialect microvariation between the islands, the selection of these particular topics is driven by my deep-seated interest in the nature of the typological and genealogical relationship of the Eolian dialect to the major dialect groups of Southern Italy (the upper southern Italian dialects vs. the extreme southern Italian dialects).

This research is a continuation of my MA project at the Università di Pisa (Italy), in which I focused on finite complementation in the Eolian dialects of Salina and Stromboli as a pilot study. In Pisa I studied Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (2019, cum laude), and towards the end of my degree I had the opportunity of participating as an intern in the ERC-funded research project “Microcontact. Language Variation and Change from the Italian heritage perspective” at the Universiteit Utrecht (Netherlands). Before this, I received my BA degree at the University of California, Berkeley (2014, cum laude) where I studied Psychology and minored in Applied Language Studies. I first pursued my interests in Italian linguistics and dialectology as a Fulbright scholar conducting sociolinguistic research on southern Italian dialects at the Università di Messina (Italy) (2016-2017).  


  • Cambridge International Scholarship (2019-2023)
  • AHRC DTP Studentship (2019-2023)
  • Fulbright Student Program (2016-2017)


I have had experience both as a supervisor and a lecturer since beginning my PhD at the University of Cambridge. I have either supervised in the past or am currently supervising students for the following paper: 

  • IT1/ITA3 “Introduction to Italian Linguistics”; IT2 “Structures and Varieties of Italian”; CS1 “The Romance Languages”

I have lectured for the following paper:

  • IT1/ITA3 “Texts and Contexts”/“Use of Italian” (fifth module): “Introduction to Italian Linguistics”

I have also had past experience as a tutor for the phonetics module of the course “Linguistica generale” at the University of Messina (2016-2017).

Conference papers:

  • Cardullo, S., (2020), Contextualizing the Eolian Dual Complementizer System, paper presented at “48th Cambridge Romance Linguistics Seminar”, Cambridge, 3-4 Jan 2020.
  • Cardullo, S., (2019), Split Complementation in the Dialect of the Eolian Islands, paper presented at “Third Bucharest Workshop on Formal Approaches to Romance Microvariation”, Bucharest, 22-23 Nov 2019.
  • Cardullo, S., (2019), Infinitival complement clauses in the Dialect of the Eolian islands, paper presented at “Anglia Ruskin-Cambridge Romance Linguistics Seminars”, Cambridge, 21 Nov 2019.
  • Cardullo, S., (2017), Il dialetto dei giovani tra proverbi e lessico, paper presented at “Dialectology and Historical Linguistics Summer Course”, Bellinzona, 28 Aug-2 Sept 2017.


  • Cardullo, S., (forthcoming), “Dual Complementation in the Dialect of the Eolian Islands”, in Revue Romaine de Linguistique.

Other activities and roles:

I co-organize the weekly Anglia Ruskin-Cambridge Romance Linguistics Seminars held during term time.