• The University of Western Australia (M204), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • M468
    35 Stirling Highway


  • The University of Western Australia (M414), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Personal profile


I am a linguist, working across the areas of language and society, language and health, and computational linguistics.

I completed a PhD at The University of Western Australia, with a thesis in Italian and Spanish historical linguistics. My PhD project investigated the role of language in maintaining personal and political friendship networks through letter writing in colonial Australia.

In 2020, I was awarded a Marie-Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowship at Stockholm UNiversity with a project called ELICIT – Emotion Language in Italian: Change in Texts and time. The project investigates the evolution of linguistic emotional expression in Italian over a period of 250 years, focusing on the contribution of intralinguistic and extralinguistic (cultural) determinants of linguistic change. To conduct this analysis, the project leverages methods from corpus lingusitics and computaitonal linguistics / Natural Language Processing, which are combined with theoretical approaches from pragmatics, systemic functional lingusitics and the history of emotions.

Since 2021, I have been leading a project in health communication (HEAL'D – Health Emotions in Australia: Language and Discourse), in collaboration with researchers in the School of Humanities, the Medical School, the School of Allied Health and the School of Linguistics at UWA. Combining both corpus-based methods and qualitative studies, the project investigates the role of emotions in health-related communication in Australia, with the objective of improving the quality of health care, the well-being of Australia’s diverse communities, and the training of health care professionals.

In 2021-2022 I was also core collaborator in the BigScience research workshop (bigscience.huggingface.co), which is an international year-long open scientific project across academia and industry to develop large-scale and accessible machine-learning models for Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence.

I am now a Research Fellow at the Institute for Communication in Health Care of the Australian National University, where I am studying the impact of communication on the heal literacy and health-outcomes of patients with health failures. I am also a Senior Project Officer for the Western Australian Department of Health, where I am leading the implementation of voice-to-text digital scribes for clinical documentation.

Research interests

Pragmatics, language and health, language and emotion, computational linguistics, language change.

Current projects

Improving communication to enhance patients’ health literacy, empowerment, and self-management of heart failure (at the Australian National University)

FAKES – Fake News in Social Media: Three Case Studies: Populism, Covdi and Climate Change (led by the University of Granada, Spain)

Teaching overview

Courses that I have taught at UWA.

BMED 3001 -  Narrative medicine for research, education and practice, 2022
ITAL1401 - Italian Studies 1, 2015.
ITAL1402 - Italian Studies 2, 2017.
ITAL1403 - Italian Studies 3, 2016.
ITAL1404 - Italian Studies 4, 2015.
ITAL3813 - Linguistic History of Italy, 2017.


Current languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Hindi

Old languages: Latin

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 25 Jul 2019

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Award Date: 11 Dec 2013

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Award Date: 12 Dec 2011

Research expertise keywords

  • Pragmatics
  • Computational linguistics
  • Healthcare communication
  • Public health
  • Language and Society
  • Emotion
  • Historical linguistics
  • Language Evolution
  • Emotions in history


Dive into the research topics where Francesco De Toni is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • SantaCoder: don't reach for the stars!

    Allal, L. B., Li, R., Kocetkov, D., Mou, C., Akiki, C., Ferrandis, C. M., Muennighoff, N., Mishra, M., Gu, A., Dey, M., Umapathi, L. K., Anderson, C. J., Zi, Y., Poirier, J. L., Schoelkopf, H., Troshin, S., Abulkhanov, D., Romero, M., Lappert, M., Toni, F. D., & 21 othersRío, B. G. D., Liu, Q., Bose, S., Bhattacharyya, U., Zhuo, T. Y., Yu, I., Villegas, P., Zocca, M., Mangrulkar, S., Lansky, D., Nguyen, H., Contractor, D., Villa, L., Li, J., Bahdanau, D., Jernite, Y., Hughes, S., Fried, D., Guha, A., Vries, H. D. & Werra, L. V., 9 Jan 2023, USA: arXiv.

    Research output: Working paperPreprint

    Open Access
    57 Downloads (Pure)
  • Entities, Dates, and Languages: Zero-Shot on Historical Texts with T0

    De Toni, F., Akiki, C., de la Rosa, J., Fourrier, C., Manjavacas, E., Schweter, S. & van Strien, D., May 2022, Proceedings of BigScience Episode #5: Workshop on Challenges & Perspectives in Creating Large Language Models. Fan, A., Ilic, S., Wolf, T. & Gallé, M. (eds.). USA: Association for Computational Linguistics, p. 75-83 9 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
  • The BigScience ROOTS Corpus: A 1.6TB composite multilingual dataset

    Laurençon, H., Saulnier, L., Wang, T., Akiki, C., Villanova del Moral, A., Le Scao, T., von Werra, L., Mou, C., González Ponferrada, E., Nguyen, H., Frohberg, J., Šaško, M., Lhoest, Q., Mcmillan-Major, A., Dupont, G., Biderman, S., Rogers, A., Ben Allal, L., de Toni, F., Pistilli, G., & 34 othersNguyen, O., Nikpoor, S., Masoud, M., Colombo, P., de la Rosa, J., Villegas, P., Thrush, T., Longpre, S., Nagel, S., Weber, L., Romero Muñoz, M., Zhu, J., van Strien, D., Alyafeai, Z., Almubarak, K., Chien, V. M., Gonzalez-Dios, I., Soroa, A., Lo, K., Dey, M., Ortiz Suarez, P., Gokaslan, A., Bose, S., Adelani, D. I., Phan, L., Tran, H., Yu, I., Pai, S., Chim, J., Lepercq, V., Ilić, S., Mitchell, M., Luccioni, S. & Jernite, Y., 2022, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022). New Orleans, United States: Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation, Inc.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Emotion

    De Toni, F., 2021, Analysing Religious Discourse. Pihlaja, S. (ed.). UK: Cambridge University Press, p. 256-275

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

  • L’italiano nelle missioni tra XIX e XXI secolo: rassegna delle ricerche e l’esempio dell’Australia

    Translated title of the contribution: Italian language in Catholic missions between 19th and 21st centuries: review of current research and the Australian exampleDe Toni, F., 2021, La Chiesa e l'italiano: un cammino nel tempo e nel mondo. Il Mulino, p. 85-111

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review