Dr M. Dingemanse (Mark)

Associate professor - Centre for Language Studies
Associate professor - Department of Language and Communication

Why are languages the way they are? Why do our utterances combine multiple modes of representation? What makes complex cooperative communication possible? My research formulates new answers to these questions.

I study how language is shaped by and for social interaction. My work is comparative, cross-cultural, and collaborative: I do fieldwork and experiments in societies I know well, and work together with interdisciplinary teams in Nijmegen and around the world.

In the period 2018-2023 my research team focuses on the 'elementary particles of conversation': the little words that streamline interaction and help make complex language possible. We combine corpus-based, cross-cultural and computational methods to study the origins, diversity and consequences of these words. Support comes from a Vidi grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and from a team science project in the Language in Interaction consortium.

Research group


Research grants and prizes

Ancillary activities

Mark Dingemanse carries out field work, experiments and simulations in order to find out why languages are the way they are. In 2020 he was awarded the Heineken Young Scientists Award in Humanities and he also won an Ig Nobel Prize for discovering that the word ‘huh?’ is universal.