Mark Dingemanse is Associate Professor in Language and Communication and head of the Elementary Particles of Conversation project. His work on interactive repair and conversational structure has revealed a number of striking candidate pragmatic universals that we study using cross-linguistic and computational approaches.

Marieke Woensdregt is a postdoctoral fellow with a PhD in language evolution (Edinburgh, 2019) and expertise in computational modelling. Her work focuses on agent-based modelling of the (co)evolution of linguistic structure and interactional practices for dealing with miscommunication.

Andreas Liesenfeld is a postdoctoral fellow with a PhD in conversation analysis (NTU Singapore, 2019) and expertise in corpus linguistics and conversational AI. His work focuses on understanding how people interact with each other and with machines in the real world.

Marlou Rasenberg is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Meertens Instituut and completed her PhD under the supervision of Asli Özyürek and Mark Dingemanse. Marlou works on alignment and mutual understanding in multimodal interaction, using rich observational and experimental data.

Research software engineers

Thanks to a digital humanities grant from the eScience center we are fortunate enough to have two research software engineers on our team.

Barbara Vreede has been working a research software engineer at the Netherlands eScience Center since 2021. Her background is in biology: she holds a PhD in evolutionary biology from the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Oeiras, Portugal.

Eva is a Research Software Engineer (PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019, SISSA) at the Netherlands eScience Center and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education, Oxford. She combines her scientific background with her software development skills to develop open, accessible, and user-friendly software for the wider scientific community. 


Ada Lopez

Ada Lopez is a Linguistics and Communication Sciences research master student specializing in Language and Speech Technology at Radboud University. Her research interests include studying the use of computational modeling to further understand language processing and conversations. Ada is doing a 2-term Research MA internship with the project.

Laura van de Braak is a PhD student at the Donders Center for Cognition supervised by Mark Blokpoel, Iris van Rooij, Ivan Toni and Mark Dingemanse. Their work focuses on creating a computational infrastructure that can deal with resolving misunderstandings in communication.

Jacqueline van Arkel (MSc in Human-Machine Communication, Groningen) produced a CoNLL paper while interning with us, wrote an MSc thesis on the efficiency of other-initiated repair and pragmatic communication (supervised by Marieke Woensdregt and Mark Blokpoel), and helped out with other modelling projects as a research assistant.

Collaboration network

Prof. Felix Ameka (Leiden University) is a world-renowned expert on interjections and interactional routines. With Mark Dingemanse, he organized a workshop Centering pragmatic phenomena on the margins at the 10th World Congress of African Linguistics (2021).

Elementary Particles of Conversation is closely allied to the campus-wide Communication in Brain and Behaviour lab, where we work on formal models of metacommunication together with Mark Blokpoel and Iris van Rooij , and on communicative alignment across linguistic levels with Ivan Toni and Asli Özyürek.

We have close ties to Asli Özyürek’s Multimodal Language and Cognition lab. Further collaborators on campus include Onno Crasborn of Sign Language Linguistics and Natalia Levshina in the Neurobiology of Language Department of the MPI for psycholinguistics.

International collaborators include Christoph Rühlemann (on backchannels and continuers); Tayo Neumann in Berlin (on change-of-state tokens in Japanese, Mandarin and English); Sabine Stoll in Zürich (on repair in language development), Bill Thompson at Princeton (computational modelling); Raphaela Heesen at Durham, Marlen Fröhlich in Zürich and Christine Sieverts in Basel (communicative redoings across species); and Christina Dideriksen and Riccardo Fusaroli at the Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University (on grounding and repair in Danish interaction).

We are also affiliated to the DFG-funded Scientific Network Interactional Linguistics: Discourse Particles from a Cross-Linguistic Perspective, where PI Mark Dingemanse is an invited external expert.