I am Professor of Dutch Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication at Utrecht University, and a member of the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS. I obtained my PhD (1990) from Tilburg University (title dissertation: The Syntax of Left Branch Extractions; supervisor: Henk van Riemsdijk), and was an assistant professor at that same university before joining the Utrecht University faculty in 2001. In 2019, I was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut. I am currently PI of the project Mind your Manner Adverbials! (MiMA), funded by an NWO Open Competition grant; this will run until the end of 2025.
In my research, I study the structural design (syntax) that underlies human languages. I search to localize properties that languages have in common (invariant properties), as well as the ways in which languages can or cannot vary. In order to find these structural design properties, I examine the structure of language both from a single-language perspective (e.g. Dutch) and from a cross-linguistic perspective (e.g. comparison of different languages, or comparison of dialectal varieties of Dutch). The goal of my research is to contribute to a theory of natural language that explains its invariant core, as well as the range and limits of syntactic variation. Another area of my work involves the encoding of affective information in the build of human language. This work has shown, for example, that Dutch curse expressions are structurally organized expressions that can be decomposed into smaller building blocks. My current research focusses on the syntax of adverbial expressions. Other research topics I have worked on are the following: adjective phrases, (sub)extraction phenomena, numeral expressions, measure phrases, interjections, and NP-ellipsis.