Mark Dingemanse -
Language & Cognition
I'm interested in how people use language in everyday life — from sharing information to building social relations. I study these topics in depth in societies I know well, and I investigate them from a comparative perspective in collaboration with colleagues in Nijmegen and around the world.
My current research focuses on the linguistics of depictions: the iconically motivated signs that are as much part of daily language use as the arbitrary words that have long been the bread and butter of linguistics. In support of this work I was awarded a Veni grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. I do regular fieldwork on Siwu, a minority language spoken by the Mawu people in Kawu, eastern Ghana. At MPI I am also involved in collaborative research projects on conversational structure, language and perception, ideophones and iconicity, and synaesthesia across cultures.
My 2011 PhD thesis was on the meaning and use of ideophones —vivid sensory words— in Siwu. Some of its key points are summarised in two recent articles on ideophone typology: (1) Advances in the cross-linguistic study of ideophones and (2) Expressiveness and system integration.