Why are languages the way they are? What makes complex communication possible? My research formulates new answers to these questions by studying how language is shaped by and for social interaction.

I am Associate Professor in Language and Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen. I’m also PI of Elementary Particles of Conversation, a collaborative and transdisciplinary research programme on the small words that streamline everyday language use. The research in my group is funded by a Vidi talent grant from the Dutch Research Council NWO (2018-2023) and by collaborations with the Language in Interaction consortium. Find out more about my research and publications, or see my CV.

News! I am deeply honoured to be awarded the 2020 Heineken Young Scientist Award in Humanities by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.

Three key papers

  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Between Sound and Speech: Liminal Signs in Interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 53, 188–196, doi: 10.1080/08351813.2020.1712967 ► pdf
    (how liminal signs help streamline social interaction)
  • Dingemanse, M., & Akita, K. (2017). An inverse relation between expressiveness and grammatical integration: on the morphosyntactic typology of ideophones, with special reference to Japanese. Journal of Linguistics53(3), 501–532. doi: 10.1017/S002222671600030X ► pdf
    (when syntax depends on semiotics; with open data and code)
  • 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, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136100 ► pdf
    (pragmatic universals of repair; with open data and code)

Three niche papers

  • Dingemanse, M., & Thompson, B. (2020). Playful iconicity: structural markedness underlies the relation between funniness and iconicity. Language and Cognition12(1), 203–224. doi: 10.1017/langcog.2019.49  pdf 
    (why some words playfully sound like what they mean)
  • 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. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.573781 ► pdf
    (why rara are different from marginalia, and how theoretical outlooks influence the questions we ask)
  • 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. doi: 10.1075/clu.17.09din ► pdf
    (on a procedure that is part of many field work routines, but seldomly appreciated as a method of its own)

See also the full publication list and open science resources.