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Professor Mair Parry

Professor Mair Parry

Professor Mair Parry
B.A., Ph.D.(Wales), M.A.(Oxon.)

Emeritus Professor

Senior Research Fellow in Italian

19 Woodland Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TE
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 7425


The main focus of her research is on the syntax of the dialects of Italy, both early and modern, but she also publishes on Italian sociolinguistics, being particularly interested in the question of minority languages due to her Welsh background. She was joint editor of The Changing Voices of Europe. Social and Political changes and their linguistic repercussions (1994) and The Dialects of Italy (1997), while her 2005 monograph is a detailed sociolinguistic and grammatical analysis of a north-western Italian dialect: Parluma 'D Còiri, Sociolinguistica e grammatica del dialetto di Cairo Montenotte. Piedmontese and Ligurian dialects in particular have provided material for a range of synchronic and diachronic morphosyntactic studies, including on the conditional, demonstratives, pronominal clitics, relative, interrogative and exclamative structures, presentational and impersonal / indefinite-subject constructions. Word order and negation in all the early vernaculars were especially fertile areas of enquiry within the context of the AHRB-funded research project with the University of Manchester, Sintassi degli antichi volgari d'Italia (SAVI) (Syntax of the early vernaculars of Italy).  She has recently published invited critical surveys of the history of negation in Italo-Romance and of research trends in Italian sociolinguistics, while joint contributions to the Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages (OUP) on the grammar of northern-Italian dialects and Italian sociolinguistics are in press.


Mair Parry studied French with Accessory Italian at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (BA 1968), followed by Modern Languages (Italian) at Oxford University (BA 1970). She was appointed to a Lectureship in Italian at UCW, Aberystwyth in 1970, gaining a doctorate for a thesis on the dialect of Cairo Montenotte (SV, Italy) in 1985, and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1993. Having moved to Bristol in 1995, she was awarded a Personal Chair in Italian Linguistics at Bristol in 1998. From 2000-2004 she co-directed a major AHRB-funded collaborative research project with the University of Manchester entitled, Sintassi degli antichi volgari d'Italia (SAVI) (Syntax of the early vernaculars of Italy) and for ten years organised an annual Incontro di dialettologia italiana at Bristol. Having taken early retirement in 2004, she taught Italian linguistics in the Department until 2008 and is now Professor Emerita and Senior Research Fellow. She is a consultant
for the Atlante Sintattico d’Italia (, based at the University of Padua, and for the AHRC-funded research project, Existential constructions: An investigation into the Italo-Romance dialects (, based at the University of Manchester. She was recently the surprised and very pleased recipient of a Festschrift, entitled Diachrony and Dialects and edited by her colleagues in Italian linguistics, Paola Benincà, Adam Ledgeway and Nigel Vincent (OUP, 2014) (



Department of Italian

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