Have you ever wondered why people talk with their hands, and what they mean by it? I’m a cognitive linguist working towards a greater understanding of how we use language to communicate using linguistic structure and our bodies.

My research on language centres on communication in interaction. What are the structures that people choose to communicate, and what effect do these structures have on the intended message? I look at this from the perspective of structures in speech – like grammatical choices in verb marking, lexical choices, fixed expressions, and also look at how people use their bodies – gestures, head movements, shrugs, etc. I’m especially interested in how these streams together express abstract conceptual notions – like event structure, stance, and negation. I work with multimodal corpus data, text corpora, 3D motion capture data, and experimental methods.


I was honoured to be selected one of 12 Killam Laureate graduate students at the University of Alberta in 2018.


Dr. Sally Rice | Department of Linguistics | U. of Alberta

Prof. Dr. Irene Mittelberg | Natural Media Lab | RWTH Aachen University

Red Hen Lab | Drs. Mark Turner & Francis Steen | UCLA