Lessico Etimologico Italiano

LEI aims to document and etymologically comment on the entire vocabulary of Italoromania from a historical perspective. The project was founded in 1968 by Max Pfister. Since 2001 it has been managed by Max Pfister together with Wolfgang Schweickard. So far, 16 large-format volumes have been published. The LEI can also be accessed online via open access at a later date than the print output. LEI enjoys an outstanding international reputation.The project leaders were awarded seven honorary doctorates by the most important Italian universities. They are members of the Italian National Academy in Rome, the Accademia della Crusca in Florence and the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, among others.

One of LEI‘s most important concerns is the promotion of young talent. Numerous young scientists trained at the LEI can now look back on outstanding academic careers. Several doctoral theses written in Saarbrücken have been honoured with the “Premio Giovanni Nencioni” in recent years. The LEI has been digitized at the University of Mannheim under the direction of Prof. Elton Prifti since 2015. In the first phase of the long-term project LEI-Digitalale, the retro-digitisation of all data material (over 5 million index cards) and the published articles was completed.


  • Prof. Dr. habil. Dres. h.c. Wolfgang Schweickard (Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Elton Prifti (Project Leader)
  • Candida Andreas-Cuva (Contact Person)
  • Dr. Francesco Crifò (Research Associate)
  • Prof. Dr. Maria Besse (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Adriana Cascone (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Thomas Hohnerlein (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Giorgio Marrapodi (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Gunnar Tancke (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Yvonne Tressel (Research Associate)
Running time
Project type

Responsible for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17