The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics welcomes Asli Ozyurek as new director of the Multimodal Language Department

03 August 2022
In her new department at the MPI for Psycholinguistics Asli Ozyurek will explore the human ability to use language not only through speech or text but also through the visible body.

The Max Planck Society has appointed Professor Asli Ozyurek as a new Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen (NL).  As a linguist and cognitive scientist, Asli Ozyurek investigates the cognitive and social foundations of human language ability from a multimodal and crosslinguistic perspective: in speech, gesture and sign. She is dedicated to bridging the gap between science, technology (AI), society and education and to making scientific practices accessible and available to people from different backgrounds and languages.

Asli Ozyurek: ‘My ambitions are to conventionalize the view of language and linguistics as multimodal phenomena going beyond speech or text as it is traditionally studied. In my department we will investigate how humans around the world and in different languages and cultures use the resources of their visible body, along with speech or as in sign languages, to shape language use and structure, to transmit language to new generations and to create and develop languages when there is no conventional language model available.’

To achieve these goals, Asli Ozyurek combines methods from corpus and computational linguistics, machine learning and virtual reality to investigate multimodal language use in different spoken and signed languages.

Asli Ozyurek was born in Turkey and received a BA in psychology from Bogazici University in Istanbul and a PhD in linguistics and psychology from the University of Chicago. Since 2010, she has been Professor of Linguistics and Social Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen and the director of the Multimodal Language and Cognition Lab, whose members are spread across the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the Centre for Language Studies and the Donders Institute for Cognition at Radboud University. She has acquired  large and prestigious  grants such as an ERC starting Grant, and NWO VIDI and VICI grants.  Asli Ozyurek is a Scientific Board Member and PI of the Language in Interaction Consortium.

MPI Managing Director Antje Meyer looks forward to the arrival of Asli Ozyurek at the Max Planck for Psycholinguistics. “We are thrilled to welcome Asli Ozyurek as a new director of our institute. While many have argued that language scientists should consider the importance of gestures for communication, her view of language as an intrinsically multimodal system constitutes a very important change of perspective. Her research program is broad and extremely ambitious. We are looking forward to seeing her put it in place and to collaborating with her in many areas of shared interest”.

More information on the work of Professor Asli Ozyurek

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