Marieke Schouwstra

Winner Dissertation Prize 2014

Semantic Structures, Communicative Strategies and the Emergence of Language

Supervisor: Prof. dr H.E. de Swart
Nomination: Utrecht University, Faculty of the Humanities

Report by the selection committee

With the tools of language philosophy and evolution theory, Marieke Schouwstra has found a way to study the evolution of language through an ingenious empirical research method. Meanings of words and communication have played a role in the early stages of language evolution, and in order to find out which role, Marieke has organized a series of inventive experiments. Her thesis gives insight into the urge of mankind to organise the world around him by means of language. Her dissertation promises to be an exciting new line of research.