I’m a university professor at the Seminar for English Philology at the Georg-August-University in Göttingen, where I am part of the Linguistics in Göttingen (LinG) platform. My main interest is the relation between sentence meaning and form: how does the meaning of a sentence follow from its parts, and why are there so many different ways of expressing the same meaning across languages? Click on the video on the right to see the public lecture I held about this.

NEW: To appear in August: De geniale eenvoud van taal ('The ingenious simplicity of language'). Popular scientific book on the big questions about language: How are languages learned, and why do adults lear languages differently from children? How do languages vary from each other? Why do languages change over time? And what's the origin of language?

Short CV


I was born in 1975 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After having attended the municipal gymnasium in Utrecht, I studied Dutch language and culture in the same place (having also taken courses in physics, math and philosophy). In 2000 I began a PhD project on negation in Dutch dialects at the University of Amsterdam; I defended my dissertation in 2004.


From 2004 to 2006 I worked as a postdoc in the SFB “Linguistic Datastructures” at the University of Tübingen, after which I took up a position as assistant professor of Dutch linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. In 2009 I also held a position as visiting assistant professor at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT in 2019. In 2012 I was appointed a full professor in Göttingen.

I have held guest lecture appointments at Cambridge University, MIT and USC. Since 2017 I serve as an associate editor of Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, and since 2018 as general editor of Linguistic Variation. In addition, I am also a member of the editorial boards of Linguistic Inquiry, the Journal of Linguistics, and Pragmatics & Semantics. I also used to be one of the organizers of the EGG summer schools.

I'm married and reside in Amsterdam.

Full CV

Click here for a full version of my CV.