Astrid De Wit

Assistant Professor in English Linguistics


Research group

Grammar and Pragmatics


  • I am a cognitive linguist with a keen interest in the semantics of grammatical constructions, primarily within the domain of tense, aspect and modality. Why, for instance, do speakers of Dutch prefer to say "Zit niet zo te zeuren" rather than "Zeur niet"? Or how come McDonald's chose "I'm loving it" as a slogan rather than "I love it"? What do these observations reveal about the function of language as a social and communicative toolkit? What is their cross-linguistic relevance? And in what way do our grammatical choices reflect general cognitive principles? In order to address these questions, I study natural-language data from a variety of languages, including (varieties of) English, Dutch, French and Slavic languages, both from a contemporary and a historical perspective. I model my analyses within a cognitive-semantic and cross-linguistically informed theoretical framework.


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