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:

  • How do human minds combine different components of meaning in a linguistic utterance, especially what kind of combinations occur between logical-propositional and depictive components?
  • How does language modality (speech, sign, gesture, writing, etc.) affect the way that linguistic meanings are expressed?
  • 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 later linguistic and cognitive development, such as the support gained by early 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), although Fall 2021 I'll be on a research sabbatial. 

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