Language is what makes us human. Much of my research revolves around how we use language to make sense of the world together. If you’re looking for an expert on language and communication, or for an experienced public speaker, feel free to get in touch.

Public outreach

Media coverage

Several of our research findings have led to widespread media coverage. Some highlights are below. See ‘In the news’ for a fuller list of international media coverage. My Dutch site also has a list focused on Dutch media, including radio & TV appearances.

Fresh! Coverage of our ‘acts of kindness’ paper (2023):

Earlier coverage:

More complete list of media coverage: in the news.

Some current and past outreach projects:

🌈How do your senses work together? National Survey on language and synaesthesia (with Tessa van Leeuwen)
🖼️A Picture of Science: photo contest and exhibition visualising the language sciences (with Jeremy Hammond)
📺TV:Het Klokhuis & De Kennis van Nu
🎓Ambassador MuseumJeugdUniversiteit
🧪Taal in de reageerbuis: Public science experiments on language evolution (with Séan Roberts & Tessa Verhoef)

Art & science

Our research on Huh? as a universal word inspired an installation by artist Pauline Wiersema (Design Academy Eindhoven). The piece aims to shake things up by placing the word ‘Huh?’ in unexpected contexts such as office buildings and public spaces.

"Huh?" installation by Pauline Wiersema

London Symphony Orchestra composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman was inspired by our work on universal words and named her music+spoken word composition HUH ‘to celebrate music as a universal language’ (source)

Cloud of Identity by video artist Geert Mul and composer Michel Banabila features a soundtrack with voices and vowel sounds from languages all around the world. It was exhibited in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London and Beirut. I served as a linguistic consultant on the project.

The Heineken Prizes honour the best in Arts and Sciences. I am honoured to have been awarded the Heineken Young Scientist Award in Humanities. The jury praised my “unconventional questions, dedication to open science, and science communication efforts.”