I was a PhD student for Cognitive Artificial Intelligence at Utrecht University, based at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UiL OTS).
The title of my dissertation is 'Cognitive structures, communicative strategies and the emergence of language', and it
studies exactly that: the interplay between cognitive structures and communicative strategies in the early stages of
the emergence of language, and meaning in language in particular.
I study the emergence of language by looking at 'simple language' in 'improvisation situations', most recently in lab experiments where people are asked to communicate about simple events by using only gesture and no speech. My aim is to show that semantic structures play a role in the emergence of early forms of syntax.
At the same time, I am interested in conceptual issues that come up when the emergence of human language is discussed. What is language? Is language uniquely human? What is meaning? What is the relation between linguistic meaning and mental representation in individuals?
Research topics I am interested in are:
On December 19, 2011, my son Gijsbert was born. Here are some photos.
[this site is (permanently) under construction]
[but which website isn't?]