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

Some current and past outreach projects:

🌈How do your senses work together? National Survey on language and synaesthesia (with Tessa van Leeuwen)
🌍Editor, StemmenvanAfrika.nl
🖼️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)

Media coverage

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

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.

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.

An age group leader oversees a festival in Akpafu-Mempeasem, Volta Region, Ghana. The Ashanti-inspired wreath, cowrie shells, and digital wristwatch work together to remind us that culture is a moving target, always renewing and reshaping itself. Finalist in the 2008 American Anthropological Association photo contest.