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Photo of Professor Francesco Goglia

Professor Francesco Goglia

Associate Professor of Migration and Multilingualism


01392 723157

Research interests

My main research interests lie in multilingualism and language contact in immigrant communities, and the sociolinguistics of the Italian diaspora. The main areas of my research are:

Multilingualism and linguistic practices among immigrant communities in Italy

Since the time of my PhD thesis, I have been researching issues of multilingualism, language maintenance and language contact among the Igbo-Nigerian immigrants in Italy. The analysis was based on extensive fieldwork within the Nigerian community in Padua. Nigerians are one of the largest immigrant communities in the Veneto region (north east of Italy) and the community’s linguistic repertoire comprises Igbo, Nigerian English, Nigerian Pidgin English, Italian and Veneto dialect. In 2012, I was awarded an AHRC Early Career fellowship which allowed me to expand my research to the use of languages in in-group conversations.

Since 2011, I have also been interested in the presence and role of Italo-Romance dialects by in the linguistic repertoires of immigrants in Italy, a still under-researched topic. Thanks to the British Academy Small Grant 'Emerging Multilingualism in Italy' (2011), I have investigated multilingualism among children of immigrant origin in the Veneto region (north east of Italy) whose linguistic repertoires include Italian, the Veneto regional language and the immigrant language(s). Sociolinguistic questionnaires were distributed in three secondary schools in the Veneto region.

A co-edited volume with Matthias Wolny (University of Heidelberg) on Italo-Romance dialects in the linguistic repertoire of immigrants in Italy will appear in 2022 published by Palgrave. This will be the first on the topic and I will co-author a comprehensive introduction on the topic and a chapter.

The sociolinguistics of East Timor and the East Timorese Diasporas

Since 2010, I have been collaborating with my colleague at Exeter, Dr Susana Afonso (Portuguese Linguistics). We have investigated multilingualism and language use among East Timorese migrants in Portugal and the emergence of a new variety of Portuguese in East Timor. Between 2014 and 2016, I was project leader of the Leverhulme International Network Grant ‘Shifting sociolinguistic realities in the nation of East Timor and its Diasporas’ that brought together, for the very first time, scholars from six universities: University of Exeter, University of Tilburg, University of Melbourne, Griffith University, University of Birmingham, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor). 

The sociolinguistics of Italian immigrant communities abroad

Since 2013, I have been collaborating with Professor John Hajek (University of Melbourne). We are finalising a co-edited volume Italian(s) abroad: Italian language and migration in the cities of the world contracted with Mouton de Gruyter. The book will comprise 24 chapters and will present an innovative and up to date approach for the study of Italian communities in the world together with new empirical data. 

Onward migration from Italy to the UK: sociolinguistic implications

I am currently working on the project ‘Onward Migration from Italy to the UK: sociolinguistic implications’ (Leverhulme Research Fellowship). During the last decade, thanks to the freedom of movement allowed within the European Union, a new migration of third-country nationals has been taking place. After residing for many years in a European country, certain individuals become citizens but then decide to migrate onward to another EU country. This process of onward migration often involves entire families. A growing literature in Migration Studies and Sociology has investigated the phenomenon of onward migration within the EU. These studies have only touched upon issues of language, in particular the role of English as a pull factor for onward migration. This is the first project that focuses on onward migration from a sociolinguistic perspective. The project was disrupted by the Covid pandemic and received an extension (August 2021) to complete the data collection. This project investigates how families that have migrated onward from Italy to the UK reshape their linguistic repertoires, re-prioritise linguistic resources and deal with issues of language maintenance. Participants to this study include: Italian-Indians, Italian-Bangladeshis, Italian-Ghanaians, Italian-Nigerians and Italian-Sri Lankans.

Research supervision

I would be happy to consider supervising research students in the following areas:

- Multilingualism and Migration

- Language Maintenance and Shift

- Language Contact

- Minority Languages

- Language Attitudes and Ideologies

- Language Policy

- Family Language Policy

- Intercultural Communication

- Multilingualism in schools

- Italian sociolinguistics

Research students

Current Research Students:

2021-Present: Katy Humberstone (PhD SWWDTP2-funded), “‘From mines to signs’: Exploring grassroots spatial and multimodal experiences of transcultural Cornish identity in Pachuca and Real del Monte, Hidalgo” (Supervised with Clare Mar-Molinero, University of Southampton)

2022-Present: Ali Alghamdi, (PhD) “The Impact of Saudi Arabic Pidgin On Al-Baha Dialects” (Supervised with Giorgia Ferrari)

2022-Present: Joshua Taylor, (PhD) “An exploration of the contribution of linguistic diversity to perceptions of British-national identity in Bristol and Cardiff” (Supervised with Gabriela Meier)

Previous Research Students:

2008-2013: Claudia Bortolato, (PhD) “Language Maintenance and Attrition in the Venetian-Italian Community of Anglophone Canada” (supervised with Aidan Coveney)

2011-12: Adrian Chrime, (MRes) on “Issues related to the standardization of English as a Lingua Franca”

2009-10: Andrea Gobbi, (MRes) “A critical review of the literature on Italian immigrants in English-speaking countries”

2007-8 Anne-Marie Obretin (MRes AHRC-funded) “Aspects of negation in Neostandard Italian” (supervised with Aidan Coveney)


My teaching reflects my research interests in multilingualism. I am always keen to share my findings with my students and encourage them to share their experiences of multilingualism both in seminar discussions and assessments.

I teach two very popular departmental wide modules - ‘Multilingualism in Society’ (year 2) which focuses on minority languages of Europe, and ‘Migration and Multilingualism’ (year 4) which focuses on immigrant and community languages in the UK and Europe. To students of Italian, I offer ‘Introduction to Italian Linguistics’ (year 1), covering all main aspects of the history of Italian and its current sociolinguistic situation, ‘Italian(s) in the World’ (year 2) which considers the sociolinguistics of Italian communities abroad, and ‘Italian Varieties and Dialects’ (year 4) which is an advanced module on Italo-Romance dialects, Regional Italian and contact outcomes of Italian and Italo-Romance dialects. In previous years, I have also enjoyed teaching ‘Language Contact’ (year 4) and Intercultural Communication (year 2).

In 2021, I was awarded a Community-Engaged Incubator: Students as Teachers of Multilingualism: a Bi-Directional Project between the University of Exeter and Rokeby School, a secondary school in the borough of Newham in East London. This pilot project tested an innovative method of community-engaged learning on multilingualism and linguistic diversity, in which both student cohorts were engaged in online teaching and learning activities.

My teaching also includes Italian language, both at beginner and advanced level. For my language classes and my sociolinguistics modules, I have implemented appropriate changes to decolonise the curriculum.

I am a member of the Society of Italian Studies Equality, Diversity and Inclusion working group, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Together with Dr Gabriela Meier (Graduate School of Education, Exeter), I have also been a member of the Enrope Erasmus Plus Project ‘European Network for Junior Researchers in the Field of Plurilingualism and Education’ (2018-2021: The project has organised summer schools and workshops for postgraduate students in the field of multilingualism and education.

Modules taught


I did my undergraduate studies in English, Spanish Literature and Linguistics at the University of Padua, during which I spent a year abroad at the University of Kent (Canterbury). This is where I developed my interest in sociolinguistics, and back in Italy my undergraduate thesis was awarded the first prize by the Office for Bilingualism and Foreign Languages of Bolzano (Italy).  My interest in multilingualism deepened and I returned to England for my MA in Linguistics at the University of Manchester - sponsored by a graduate studies studentship offered by the University of Padua. After my MA, I went on to complete my PhD in Linguistics at the University of Manchester with the support of a Mont Follick Scholarship. During my postgraduate studies in Manchester, I also worked as an Italian teacher for various colleges, Manchester City Council and the Italian Consulate. After few months as research assistant in the project Convergence and Linguistic Areas (University of Manchester), in 2006, I was appointed lecturer in Italian at the University of Exeter. I became senior lecturer in 2012 and was promoted to Associate Professor in Migration and Multilingualism in 2021.

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