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 a PhD student in CABB and the Multimodal Language and Cognition lab, supervised by Asli Özyürek and Mark Dingemanse. Marlou works on alignment and mutual understanding in multimodal interaction, using rich observational and experimental data.

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) wrote an MSc thesis on the efficiency of other-initiated repair and pragmatic communication (supervised by Marieke Woensdregt and Mark Blokpoel), and helps out with other modelling projects as a research assistant.

In lines of research less directly connected with ElPaCo, PI Mark Dingemanse also supervises PhD students Bonnie McLean (with Michael Dunn in Uppsala) and co-supervises Tashi Bradford (with Onno Crasborn and Connie de Vos).

Collaboration network

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); 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.