Why are languages the way they are? Why do our utterances combine multiple modes of representation? What makes complex cooperative communication possible? My research formulates new answers to these questions.
I study how language is shaped by and for social interaction. My work is comparative, cross-cultural, and collaborative: I do fieldwork and experiments in societies I know well, and work together with interdisciplinary teams in Nijmegen and around the world.
In the period 2018-2023 my research team focuses on the 'elementary particles of conversation': the little words that streamline interaction and help make complex language possible. We combine corpus-based, cross-cultural and computational methods to study the origins, diversity and consequences of these words. Support comes from a Vidi grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and from a team science project in the Language in Interaction consortium.
Three key papers
- Dingemanse, M. (2018). Redrawing the margins of language: lessons from research on ideophones. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 3(1): 4 ►PDF
- Dingemanse, M., Roberts, S. G., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Drew, P., Floyd, S., Gisladottir, R. S., Kendrick, K. H., Levinson, S. C., Manrique, E., Rossi, G., & Enfield, N. J. (2015). Universal Principles in the Repair of Communication Problems. PLOS ONE, 10(9): e0136100 ►PDF
- Dingemanse, M., Schuerman, W. L., Reinisch, E., Tufvesson, S., & Mitterer, H. (2016). What sound symbolism can and cannot do: Testing the iconicity of ideophones from five languages. Language, 92(2), e117-e133 ►PDF
Three niche papers that I think deserve more readers:
- Dingemanse, M. (2017). Brain-to-brain interfaces and the role of language in distributing agency. In N. J. Enfield, & P. Kockelman (Eds.), Distributed Agency (pp. 59-66). Oxford: Oxford University Press ►PDF
- Dingemanse, M. (2017). On the margins of language: Ideophones, interjections and dependencies in linguistic theory. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Dependencies in language (pp. 195-202). Berlin: Language Science Press ►PDF
- Dingemanse, M. (2015). Folk definitions in linguistic fieldwork. In J. Essegbey, B. Henderson, & F. Mc Laughlin (Eds.), Language documentation and endangerment in Africa(pp. 215-238). Amsterdam: Benjamins ►PDF