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Giulia Bencini

School of Health Sciences



Dr. Bencini is originally from Italy, where she studied Linguistics at the University of Florence. She obtained her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Illinois in 2002, specializing in psycholinguistics. From 2004-2008 she was a National Institute of Health funded post-doctoral research fellow working at the Language Acquisition Research Center at Hunter College-CUNY. Dr. Bencini is currently an Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences Program at the Hunter College Brookdale Health Sciences campus.

Description of research:

Dr. Bencini's research investigates the knowledge representations and processes underlying the unique human ability to produce and understand new sentences. She adopted an interdisciplinary approach that combines insights and methods from linguistic theory, psycholinguistics, and language pathology. Different research projects examine the mapping between linguistic meaning and linguistic form in typical and atypical language development, in adult language use, and language impairment. Some of the questions that guide this research program are: What are the nature and format of children’s early sentence-level representations? What linguistic representations are used during language processing – comprehension and production? What is the interplay between linguistic knowledge and more general cognitive factors such as memory? What is the nature of language impairments? Do they reflect impaired knowledge, or defective access to knowledge? 


Semenza C., Bencini, G. M. L. Bertella L., Mori I., Pignatti R., Ceriani F., Cherrick, D., & Magno Caldognetto E. (2006, February). A vowel deficit in aphasia sparing the number lexicon. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the World Federationof Neurology – Aphasia and Cognitive Disorders Research Group, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Bencini, G., Biundo, R., Semenza, C., & Valian, V. (2005, August). Subject drop inItalian Alzheimer’s Disease. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of theAcademy of Aphasia, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Bencini, G., Biundo, R., Semenza, C., & Valian, V. (2005, August). Subject drop in Italian Alzheimer’s Disease. Poster presented at the 6th Conference of the Scienceof Aphasia, Helsinki, Finland.

Bencini, G. McElree, B., & Foraker, S. (2004, September). The effect of animacy on the time course of filler-gap resolution in wh-questions. Poster presented atArchitectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Bencini, G., Bock, K., & Goldberg, A. (2002, March) How abstract is grammar?Evidence from structural priming in language production. Poster presented at theFifteenth Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, New York, NY.

Bencini, G., & Nocentini, A. (2000, January). Interrogative particles: Diachrony versustypological consistency. Paper presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of theLinguistic Society of America, Chicago, IL.

Bencini, G. M. L., & Valian, V. (2006). Abstract sentence representation in 3-year-olds: Evidence from comprehension and production. Submitted manuscript.

Semenza C., Bencini, G. M. L. Bertella L., Mori I., Pignatti R., Ceriani F., & Magno Caldognetto E. (2005). A dedicated neural mechanism for vowel selection: A case of relative vowel deficit sparing the number lexicon. (Accepted pending revisions)

Bencini, G. M. L., Biundo, R., Semenza C., & Valian, V. (2005). Subject drop in Italian Alzheimer’s Disease [Abstract]. Brain and Language, 95, 133-134.

Goldberg A. E., & Bencini G. M. L. (2005). Support from processing for a constructional approach to grammar. In A. Tyler, M. Takada, Y. Kim, & D. Marinova, (Eds.) Language in use: Cognitive and discourse perspectives on language and language learning (pp. 3-18). Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.

Bencini, G. M. L. (2004). A diachronic account of question particle position. In A. Parenti (Ed.), Per Alberto Nocentini: Investigazioni linguistiche (pp. 44-62). Firenze: Alinea.

Bencini, G. M. L. (2003). Towards a diachronic typology of yes/no question constructions with particles. Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society.

Bencini, G. M. L., & Goldberg, A. E. (2000). The contribution of argument structure constructions to sentence meaning. Journal of Memory and Language, 43, 640-651.

Bencini, G. M. L., & Goldberg A. E.(1999). Constructions as the main determinants of sentence meaning. Proceedings of the Twenty-first Annual Conference of theCognitive Science Society (p. 785). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.