Spanish Flu Lab (1918-1920)


Funded by: Remedia

Coordinators: Gabriele Frasca, Raffaella Scarpa


Spanish Flu Lab is a transdisciplinary laboratory open to linguists, historians, literary scholars, medical historians, anthropologists, philosophers, cultural historians, historians of ideas, epidemiologists. Spanish Flu Lab is also open to any discipline wishing to participate in the debate on staggering collective forgetfulness that overshadowed the worst scourge of the 20th century: «the Spanish flu infected one in three people on earth, or 500 million human beings […]. In terms of single events causing major loss of life, it surpassed the First World War (17 million dead), the Second World War (60 million dead) and possibly both put together […]. When asked what was the biggest disaster of the twentieth century, almost nobody answers the Spanish flu» (Laura Spinney, Pale Rider, London 2017). Spanish Flu Lab promotes research, meetings, debates, scientific publications on this disconcerting removal; the aim is to understand its reasons and read, through the past, linguistics and symbolic forms of oblivion in the contemporary world.



Funded by: Orpea Italia

Principal Investigator: Raffaella Scarpa


E.L.D.A. (Exploring Language in Dementia and Alzheimer) is a research project dedicated to language in individuals with dementia/Alzheimer.


Its core aim is to structure a new training program, based on linguistic data, in order to deepen the comprehension of language in patients with dementia/Alzheimer as well as to improve the interaction between those patients and healthcare professionals/caregivers.


For this purpose, E.L.D.A. will identify the main linguistic features of:


1) spontaneous speech of selected groups of patients with dementia/Alzheimer;


2) conversation between selected groups of patients with dementia/Alzheimer and healthcare professionals (patient care assistants, healthcare educators, nurses, psychologists, doctors)/caregivers;


By investigating the language of both patients and healthcare professionals/caregivers, E.L.D.A. intends to clarify some areas of ambiguity still affecting the clinical practice as well as the scientific discourse, with particular regard to:


- the very concept of conversation (which is mainly – if not exclusively – considered from the point of view of non-patients, when related to individuals with Alzheimer and dementia), in order to include the role and perspective of patients and thus expand its meaning and potential;


- the different functions of the communication between patients and healthcare professionals/caregivers.


Corpus CoMe700


2016-2018; 2019-2021; 2021-2024

Funded by: University of Turin (Italy) until 2018, Remedia until 2024

Principal Investigator: Raffaella Scarpa


Corpus CoMe700: the Italian medical consultations in the XVII-XVIII centuries. The origins of the modern medical language is a research project dedicated to the language of the medical consultations written in Italy during a span of time that has been crucial in the definition of the medical language itself.


The aim of CoMe700 is collecting, transcribing, creating an interactive database and analyzing – with a specific focus on linguistic analysis – the whole corpus of the 18th century Italian medical consultations.