Dr Valentina Brunetto

Dr Valentina Brunetto


I earned my MA at the University of Siena in 2009, followed by a PhD at the University of Leeds in 2012 and a short post-doc at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute in 2013. I investigated Italian children's production and comprehension of reflexive and accusative clitics in different syntactic constructions. In 2013-14 I worked on a project on the acquisition of near-reflexivity (with Tom Roeper) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, funded by the Fondazione Marica De Vincenzi. I taught Language Acquisition at the University of Manchester before coming back to Leeds in 2017.

Research interests

My primary research interests are in experimental syntax, first language acquisition and language processing. I study the interaction between syntactic structures and interpretation through several lenses: child language acquisition, adult online processing, comparative syntax. My research focuses on the following themes:

  • The syntax and semantics of strong, weak and clitic pronouns and their development in the preschool years.  
  • The acquisition of anaphora and the interaction between locality of syntactic computations and strategies of anaphora resolution in both language development and online processing.
  • The acquisition of perceptual reports and causative constructions in Romance languages (with a particular focus on Italian).
  • The syntax of intensionality. Currently, I am investigating the interaction between children’s representation of attitude domains and their interpretation of perspectival elements such as anaphors, evaluative adjectives, and anti-attitudinal expressions.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Linguistics, University of Leeds
  • MA in Linguistics, University of Siena
  • BA in Journalism, University of Palermo

Professional memberships

  • Member of LAGB

Research groups and institutes

  • Formal Linguistics
  • Language acquisition
  • Language processing
  • Language pedagogy
  • Language at Leeds
  • Leeds Child Development Unit
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>