About Kate

I'm an associate professor (tenure-track) in Linguistics at Harvard University where my research investigates the unique capacity that we have to understand an infinite number of sentences that we've never encountered before (semantics), how we incorporate contextual information into these meanings (pragmatics), and how we ever learn to do this (development). My research addresses questions like:

  • What kinds of logic do we need to model meaning in human language?
  • How does language modality (speech, sign, gesture, writing, etc.) affect the way that we create and share meaning?
  • How is meaning structured in human language different than meaning outside of language?
  • How can we use new tools for collecting and analyzing linguistic  data to create mathematically precise models of the semantic/pragmatic interface?
  • What role does language input play in developing our language abilities, such as the support gained by sign language exposure for deaf children's overall language development?

I direct the Meaning & Modality Laboratory, where we make balanced use of theory for hypothesis creation with psycholinguistic experimental methods for gathering and analyzing behavioral data based on a wide variety of spoken and signed languages. 

My CV can be found here, and I can typically be found in Boylston Hall (home of Harvard Linguistics) or 2 Arrow St. (M&M Lab).

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