Floris Roelofsen

Associate Professor · Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation · University of Amsterdam

How do people communicate? How do they decode the meaning of complex linguistic expressions? This question has been approached from many different angles in several scientific disciplines, ranging from linguistics and philosophy to logic and cognitive science. And these theoretical investigations have led to many practical applications in computer science and education.

At the heart of this enterprise is a simple notion of meaning as truth-conditional content: you know what a sentence means if you can tell when it's true and when it's false. This conception of meaning, however, has a fundamental limitation: while suitable for statements, it does not straightforwardly apply to other sentence types, like questions. After all, it does not make sense to say of a question that it is true or false.

The main aim of my work over the last ten years has been to overcome this limitation. Together with several colleagues and students, I have developed a semantic framework called inquisitive semantics, which is based on a more general notion of meaning and opens up new horizons for all disciplines concerned with linguistic interpretation. We are currently exploring these horizons in linguistics, logic, and philosophy, and are also looking toward applications in computer science.

My work is currently supported by a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2015-2020) and a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (2016-2021).

Short Bio

Main appointments

2015-now Associate Professor. ILLC, Amsterdam
2013-2015 Assistant Professor. ILLC, Amsterdam
2010-2013 Postdoc. ILLC, Amsterdam
2009-2010 Vis. Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst
2008-2009 Postdoc. ILLC, Amsterdam

Visiting appointments

2015 (1 mth) CSLI, Stanford.
2012 (3 mth) Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz
2011 (3 mth) Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz
2006 (6 mth) Computer Science, Harvard

Main grants

2016 ERC Starting Grant (1400k euro)
2015 NWO VIDI Grant (800k euro)
2012 NWO VENI Grant (250k euro)


1 textbook
> 20 top-tier journal articles
> 30 top-tier conference articles / book chapters
> 2750 citations (see Google Scholar)


> 15 courses at ILLC Amsterdam
2 courses at UMass Amherst Linguistics
1 course at Harvard Computer Science
3 mini-courses at San Diego, Göttingen & Beijing
5 courses at international summer schools


3 Postdocs
5 PhD students
> 10 Master students

Editorial work

Associate Editor, Journal of Semantics
2 special issues (Synthese & Topoi)
5 conference proceedings and 1 festschrift
Frequent reviewing for journals and conferences


2018-2019 NWO VIDI selection panel
Organized 5 international conferences
Organized 8 international workshops
Built the inquisitive semantics website


The publication list below is generated by bibbase.org . You can search or select categories to find your way to specific types of publications. Search keywords and selected categories are interpreted conjunctively. For instance, if you search for "Ciardelli" while setting Publication type to "Journal articles" and Empirical topic to "Modality", you get all journal articles on modality co-authored with Ivano Ciardelli.
Thanks to Emmanuel Chemla and Thom van Gessel for help with building this part of the website.

Group and collaborators


Jakub Dotlacil (2016-2019), now Postdoc in Utrecht
Alexandre Cremers (2016-2019), now researcher in Vilnius
Ivano Ciardelli (2016), now Assistant Professor in Munich

PhD students

Thom van Gessel (2016-2020)
Gianluca Grilletti (2016-2020)
Nadine Theiler (2015-2019), now Postdoc at UConn
Ivano Ciardelli (2012-2016), now Assistant Professor in Munich
Matthijs Westera (2010-2017), now Postdoc in Barcelona

Master students

Morwenna Hoeks (2018), now PhD in Santa Cruz
Jonathan Pesetsky (2018), now PhD in Amherst
Hana Möller Kalpak (2018), now PhD in Stockholm
Thom van Gessel (2016), now PhD in Amsterdam
Benjamin Sparkes (2015), now PhD at Stanford
Nadine Theiler (2014), next: PhD in Amsterdam
Michele Herbstritt (2014), next: PhD in Tübingen
Pawel Lojko (2012), now Associate Director, Moody's Analytics
Noortje Venhuizen (2012), next: PhD in Groningen
Ivano Ciardelli (2009), next: PhD in Amsterdam
Sam van Gool (2009), next: PhD in Nijmegen

Current collaborators

Maria Aloni, University of Amsterdam
Ivano Ciardelli, LMU Munich
Liz Coppock, Boston University
Alexandre Cremers, Vilnius
Jakub Dotlacil, Utrecht University
Donka Farkas, Princeton / UC Santa Cruz
Kees Hengeveld, University of Amsterdam
Sabine Iatridou, MIT
Sunwoo Jeong, Seoul National University
Wataru Uegaki, University of Edinburgh

Past collaborators

Adrian Brasoveanu, UC Santa Cruz
Lucas Champollion, New York University
Sam van Gool, Amsterdam
Jeroen Groenendijk, Amsterdam
Barbara Grosz, Harvard
Morwenna Hoeks, UC Santa Cruz
Rebecca Nesson, Harvard
Kathryn Pruitt, Arizona State University
Luciano Serafini, Trento
Galit Weidman Sassoon, Tel Aviv
Nadine Theiler, UConn


Recent book and articles

Inquisitive semantics
Ivano Ciardelli, Jeroen Groenendijk, and Floris Roelofsen. Oxford University Press, 2018.
download pdf get hardcopy

Addendum on Sign Language of the Netherlands
For an advisory report by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) Languages for the Netherlands. With Pieter Muysken, Beppie van den Bogaerde, and Onno Crasborn, December 2019.

Ignorance implicatures of modified numerals
With Alexandre Cremers, Liz Coppock, and Jakub Dotlacil, March 2019.

Distributive ignorance inferences with wonder and believe
With Alexandre Cremers and Wataru Uegaki. Recently came out in Semantics and Pragmatics.

Upcoming invited talks

Invited talk at Sinn und Bedeutung
Köln, September 2021

Invited talk at the Second Tsinghua Interdisciplinary Workshop on Logic, Language, and Meaning
Beijing, April 12, 2020

Recent presentations of ongoing work

Interacting alternatives: Referential indeterminacy and questions
Joint work with Jakub Dotlacil. Presented at Rutgers University, November 2019. Earlier versions presented in Barcelona, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.

Quexistentials and focus
Joint work with Sabine Iatridou and Kees Hengeveld. Presented at the University of British Columbia and at Princeton, November 2019.

NPIs in questions
Linguistics Colloquium at New York University, November 2018.
Earlier versions presented in Santa Cruz, Munich, and Amsterdam.

Recent and upcoming events that I help to organize

The Amsterdam Colloquium
International conference on natural language semantics, Amsterdam, December 18-20, 2019

Semantic Universals
International workshop collocated with the Amsterdam Colloquium, Amsterdam, December 18, 2019

Inquisitiveness Below and Beyond the Sentence Boundary
International workshop on inquisitive semantics and related topics, Amsterdam, June 26-27, 2019