Welcome

Hi! Welcome to my website! I am a scientific staff member in the Neurobiology of Language Department, at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

I am interested in the relation between language and cognition. In particular, I investigate how the specific language(s) that we use influence(s) the way in which we perceive, understand and describe events.  By events, I mean everyday-type dynamic actions, e.g., walking to the bus stop, cycling to school, cutting a cucumber, building a Lego tower, etc.

buildlego_action_m

Events are an interesting test case for the study of language-on-cognition effects, because much of the speech that we encounter on a daily basis involves references to them; a lot of the time we talk to other people about things that happened or are happening: “Yesterday, I was playing with Lego, when my boss entered the office” (oops!).

Interestingly, an event description contains information from different conceptual domains. It involves reference to persons (me) and things (Lego), actions (playing, entering), time (yesterday, was playing, entered), plus space (my office). These different elements can be  expressed by lexical (e.g., yesterday) or grammatical means (the opposition between was playing and entered).  From a psycholinguistic point of view, perceiving, understanding and describing events is quite a complex task. And here comes the crucial point: languages show a great deal of variation in their lexicon and grammar, which leads to different foci of attention in relation to specific event components, such as agents, actions, objects, time and space. I ask: to what extent, and how, does cross-linguistic variation lead to general differences in our perception of events? What aspects of event cognition can be considered universal (if any), and what type of variation can we find?

On this website, you will find an overview of my past and current research in the field of event cognition across different languages. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please get in touch with me:  monique.flecken@mpi.nl

Looking forward to hearing from you!