• Phone+34-93-581 2372, +34-93-581 2782, 93 581 2782
  • Edifici B

    08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)

  • Edifici B, Campus UAB

    08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)

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1992 …2024

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research career focuses on the field of Romance syntax and its connections to semantics, and pragmatics. My 2000 PhD thesis (“The syntax of sentence periphery”, revised and published as Villalba 2009) raised a principled analysis of left and right dislocation according to Kayne’s (2004) Linear Correspondence Axiom, arguing that right-dislocates were placed in a lower Topic Phrase, just above the VP, in contrast with left-dislocates, which were placed in a higher Topic Phrase in the left periphery of sentence. In Espinal & Villalba (2015) we offered strong empirical support for a model of grammar in which syntactic structures are mapped into information structures, which will feed both logical form and PF interfaces. Moreover, the role of information structure in anaphoric relations was studied in Brunetti et al. (2020), where we showed that right-dislocation has a wider set of discourse functions than previously assumed in the literature, which was confirmed experimentally from its interaction with bridging phenomena. Besides the research output, I have published a book (El orden de palabras en contraste, Arco, 2009) and two chapters (La estructura informativa. En la interfaz entre la sintaxis y la semántica. In La estructura informative, Visor, 2021; and Modality and Information Structure: Focus, Dislocation, Interrogative and Exclamatory Sentences. In Manual of Catalan Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2020) addressed to a wider audience.

            My second line of research focuses on exclamative sentences. In Villalba (2007), I argued for a multilevel analysis of the semantics of degree wh-exclamatives, based on experimental data. This study found a recent continuation in Trotzke & Villalba (2020, 2021b), where we offer a comparison between Catalan and German that-exclamatives from an experimental pragmatics perspective, and in Villalba (2024), where I offer an analysis of exclamation speech acts on a commitment-based framework, with new experimental data and important consequences for our knowledge of the contribution of exclamations to the common ground. Besides this research outcomes, I have also published two reference chapters addressed to a wider audience: Villalba (2023) in a collective volume, and the chapter Exclamatives, imperatives, optatives in the Manual of Romance Morphosyntax and Syntax (de Gruyter, 2017).

            Finally, I am pursuing a new line of research on the functional architecture of sentence and its relation to semantics and modality on the one hand, and discourse and expressive meaning on the other. In Villalba (2019a), I argue for the crucial role of semantic selection in the articulation of the left periphery of relative and interrogative nonfinite sentences, an issue that I pursued in a recent article (Villalba, 2022), where I discuss the nature of prepositional complementizers and their connection with the modal interpretation of infinitival relative clauses. As for the encoding of discourse and expressive meaning at the left periphery of sentence, I have collaborated with Drs. M.T. Espinal and C. Real-Puigdollers in the analysis of Spanish discourse marker vaya, which encodes different expressive meanings by the speaker. In Espinal, Real-Puigdollers, & Villalba (2022), we consider its evolution from a verbal form to an epistemic discourse marker, and in an article in press at Journal of Historical Syntax, we show a further development whereby it becomes a commitment marker, formally encoding a VERUM operator. Finally, in a submitted paper to Journal of Pragmatics (Romance exclamative particles at the syntax-pragmatics interface: A compositional approach to exclamativity) and a recent presentation at Going Romance (Nijmegen, 2023), I analyze the semantic and pragmatic roles of exclamative markers and their position in the left periphery of sentence in Romance languages. Part of this research also appears in the reference chapter “Marcadores de discurso deverbales” in Sintaxis Histórica del Español. Cuarta parte (Fondo de Cultura Económica/UNAM, in press).

General quality indicators of scientific research

Regarding general indicators of quality of scientific production, I have 21 publications included in the ISI Social Sciences Citation Index, which have generated 96 citations, 4,57 average citations per item, and a h-index of 5; I have 14 publications indexed in Scopus, which have generated 85 citations and a h-index of 4, and I have 1167 citations in Google scholar, with a h-index of 18. Finally, I have obtained 4 six-year Spanish positive research evaluations (“sexenios de investigación”) for periods 1998-2003, 2005-2010, 2011-2016, and 2017-2022, from the Spanish National Commission for Assessment of Research Activity (CNEAI).

Education/Academic qualification

Ph. D., Filología Catalana, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

Award Date: 9 Jun 2000

External positions

A2.3, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

1 Jan 199731 Dec 1997

Becari de l'I.E.C., Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

1 Jan 19971 Jan 1998

Becari F.P.I., Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

1 Jan 19931 Jan 1996


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