Research Areas:

Syntax/ Semantics

My initial interest in generative syntax was sparked by the grammar of control and raising, and gradually extended to other issues of sentential complementation: interrogatives, relatives, clitic climbing, negative and factive islands, free relatives (see e.g. Rooryck 2000). In addition, I have published on the structure of PPs, passives, evidentiality, the internal structure of DPs and pronouns, and underspecification. I have also worked on the semantics of negation in French.

Since 1997, I have collaborated with Guido Vanden Wyngaerd on various issues in Binding theory. This collaboration resulted in the book Dissolving Binding Theory (2011, Oxford University Press). Our proposal is that Binding theory can be dispensed with altogether: the behavior of anaphors and pronouns can be derived from independent principles of the grammar, such as Agree, the Elsewhere Principle, the syntax of floating quantifiers, and the syntax of inalienable possession.

Most of my work is situated in the Minimalist framework. More generally, I try to combine original theorizing with a scrupulous respect for the complexity of language data.

Language disorders

My interest in language disorders started with two projects on aphasia that I was involved in: the Postdoctoral project Nominal referential elements in agrammatic speech: a cross-linguistic perspective carried out by Esterella de Roo (2000-2003), and the PhD project Production and comprehension of Wh- questions by French-speaking Broca aphasics of Ineke van der Meulen.

From 2004 to 2009, I was closely involved as a co-supervisor in Martine Coene’s VIDI project The morpho-syntactic development of children with a cochlear implant, and since 2008 in the international European Community FP7 project DUAL PRO.

Core knowledge systems

My interest in core knowledge systems arose from discussions with my friend Pierre Pica. From 29 May – 1 June 2012, we organized the Lorentz Workshop Core knowledge, language and culture. At the end of June, I was awarded a NWO sponsored Horizon research project Knowledge and culture in collaboration with Hans Bennis (Meertens), Edward de Haan (Amsterdam), Henkjan Honing (Amsterdam), Sjef Barbiers (Meertens/ Utrecht), Maarten Delbeke (Leiden/ Gent), Pierre Pica (CNRS), Marc van Oostendorp (Meertens/ Leiden).