One of the goals of our project is to make more people aware of the amazing power and subtlety of even the simplest interactional words. To this end we organise various public outreach activities.

Hè? Helpt dat? (How “Huh?” Helps)

The Nao bot

We organized a demo of interactive language use at the Kletskoppen Child Language Festival, February 2020. Over 80 kids joined in to discover why they are smarter than robots — and how little words help us do big things with language. Concept & execution by Marieke Woensdregt and Marlou Rasenberg.


  • PI Mark Dingemanse was awarded the Young Scientists Award in Humanities by KNAW (June 2020)
  • Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad wrote about our work on universal words (September 2019)
  • Popular science magazine Quest featured a three-part interview with Mark Dingemanse on language origins, Neanderthal language, and new languages (June 2019).
  • What’s so important about words like huh?, oh and um? Steven Smit interviews PI Mark Dingemanse on NPO Radio 1 (Feb 2019)
  • Our project was featured in a chapter on “The Netherlands as a harbor for scientific talent” in the Wetenschapsbrief, a policy document from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Jan 2019).
  • De Taalstaat featured an interview with PI Mark Dingemanse about the newly funded Vidi-project Elementary particles of conversation (June 2018)


Amsterdams Inburgeringsevent 2019

Mark Dingemanse gave a keynote on intercultural communication at a symposium on integration in Pakhuis De Zwijger, Amsterdam (December 2019).

Mark Dingemanse gave a keynote Homo Interagens at the Drongo Festival of Languages in Nijmegen (October 2019).

At the Sound of Science festival in Antwerp, PI Mark Dingemanse gave a lecture on elementary particles of conversation (May 2019).

In collaboration with Radboud Reflects and with funding from the Centre for Language Studies, Mark Dingemanse co-organised an event The Value of Improbable Research, featuring Ig Nobel found Marc Abrahams and several Ig Nobel prize winners (March 2019).

Mark Dingemanse gave a keynote on language and social interaction at a national symposium for mental healthcare professionals, setting in motion a key aim of the project to share knowledge with practitioners (Jan 2019).