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, 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.
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
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
2016 ERC Starting Grant (1400k euro)
2015 NWO VIDI Grant (800k euro)
2012 NWO VENI Grant (250k euro)
> 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
5 PhD students
> 10 Master students
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
Maria Aloni, Amsterdam
Lucas Champollion, New York University
Ivano Ciardelli, LMU Munich
Liz Coppock, Boston University
Alexandre Cremers, Amsterdam
Jakub Dotlacil, Amsterdam
Donka Farkas, UC Santa Cruz
Thom van Gessel, Amsterdam
Kees Hengeveld, Amsterdam
Morwenna Hoeks, UC Santa Cruz
Sabine Iatridou, MIT
Sunwoo Jeong, Princeton
Nadine Theiler, Amsterdam
Wataru Uegaki, Edinburgh
Adrian Brasoveanu, UC Santa Cruz
Sam van Gool, Amsterdam
Jeroen Groenendijk, Amsterdam
Barbara Grosz, Harvard
Rebecca Nesson, Harvard
Kathryn Pruitt, Arizona State University
Luciano Serafini, Trento
Galit Weidman Sassoon, Tel Aviv
Alexandre Cremers (2016-2019)
Jakub Dotlacil (2016-2019)
Ivano Ciardelli (2016), now Assistant Professor in Munich
Nadine Theiler (2015-2019)
Thom van Gessel (2016-2020)
Gianluca Grilletti (2016-2020)
Ivano Ciardelli (2012-2016), now Assistant Professor in Munich
Matthijs Westera (2010-2017), now Postdoc in Barcelona
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), next: Actuary in Edinburgh
Noortje Venhuizen (2012), next: PhD in Groningen
Ivano Ciardelli (2009), next: PhD in Amsterdam
Sam van Gool (2009), next: PhD in Nijmegen
Polarity particles revisited
With Donka Farkas, June 2019. To appear in Semantics and Pragmatics.
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, September 2018. To appear in Semantics and Pragmatics.
Organizing Inquisitiveness Below and Beyond the Sentence Boundary
International workshop on inquisitive semantics and related topics, Amsterdam, June 26-27, 2019
Talk at the Stockholm Conference on the Principles of Formal Semantics
Stockholm, September 27, 2019
Talk at the University of British Columbia
Vancouver, November 15, 2019
Organizing The Amsterdam Colloquium
International conference on natural language semantics, Amsterdam, December 18-20, 2019
Talk at Tsinghua University
Beijing, April 12, 2020
Ignorance inferences and roundness effects of modified numerals
Alexandre Cremers, Liz Coppock, Jakub Dotlacil and Floris Roelofsen. Presented at SALT, Los Angeles, May 17, 2019.
Morwenna Hoeks and Floris Roelofsen. Presented at SALT, Los Angeles, May 17, 2019.
NPIs in questions
Linguistics Colloquium at New York University, November 2, 2018.
Earlier versions presented in Santa Cruz, Munich, and Amsterdam.
Dynamic inquisitive semantics
Presented at Sinn und Bedeutung in Barcelona, September 7, 2018.