I am an ICREA Research Professor in the Department of Translation and Language Sciences of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where I co-lead the Computational Linguistics and Linguistic Theory (COLT) research group. I previously held post-doctoral positions at the the Computer Science department of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), the department of Linguistics of The University of Texas at Austin (USA), and the CIMEC Center for Brain/Mind Sciences of the University of Trento (Italy). Before that, I graduated in Spanish Philology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and obtained my PhD at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (both in Spain). I was a a visiting researcher at the Computational Linguistics & Phonetics department of Saarland University and the Institute for Natural Language Processing (IMS) of the University of Stuttgart, both in Germany.
I want to understand how language works; in particular, how humans convey meaning through language. The focus of my research is how the linguistic system and its use in communication influence each other. For instance, a speaker of English can use different expressions (e.g. "the dog/chihuahua/small dog") when referring to a given chihuahua. The choice depends, a.o., on the words and grammar available in the language and the properties of the object. In turn, over time, specific speaker choices in communicative situations change the system itself. I study these dynamics in a range of semantic phenomena; which aspects are universal across languages; and what governs variation.
My team and I address these research questions with a cross-disciplinary approach that integrates methodologies from Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognitive Science. Our approach requires large amounts of data, and part of our work involves gathering linguistic data on a large scale.