The interests of the Pisa research group embrace various dimensions of language variation from the synchronic, diachronic, cross-generic and cross-linguistic perspectives, with particular reference to morphology, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and lexicology, as well as the applied fields of translation, second language acquisition and English language teaching. Among the specific topics and themes investigated from a contrastive standpoint are: morphological processes of reduplication, abbreviation and blending, lexical semantic complexity, temporal and aspectual meanings, interactional and interpersonal features of spoken and written discourse, phenomena of indirectness within a Gricean framework, figurative language, audio-visual translation and dubbing, acquisition of aspect, tense, and mood in L2 learners, and error analysis in English language teaching. In addition, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, group members have dedicated particular attention to the study of specialized language across a range of discourse domains, including tourism, science, law, finance and politics, in both academic and professional settings.
A recent initiative of the Pisa research group involves the compilation of three corpora of authentic English texts from the areas of humanities, social sciences and medicine, representing reading materials typically found in the corresponding ESP contexts for adult L2 learners. Using techniques from corpus-assisted discourse analysis, the corpora will be pragmatically-annotated and then utilized in experimentation to determine whether pragmatic and intercultural features increase text complexity which, in turn, may result in greater difficulty for L2 readers.
The members of the Pisa unit also participate in UDRILS (Unità di Ricerca sui Linguaggi di Specialità) of the Centro Linguistico Interdipartimentale (CLI) at the University of Pisa. UDRILS was established in 2013 to promote research in the area of specialized languages, with particular reference to teaching applications.