I am a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Lecturer (~ North American Assistant Professor) in Semantics at University of Edinburgh in the Department of Linguistics and English Language within the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.
I serve as the (co-)PI of the following two collaborative research projects:
- AHRC/DFG project: MECORE: A cross-linguistic investigation of meaning-driven combinatorial restrictions in clausal embedding (2021-2024)
- UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship: Logic in Semantic Universals (2022-2025)
I completed my PhD at MIT Linguistics in 2015, and was previously at Leiden University.
My pronouns are he/him. My first name is unaccented, but people typically pronounce it with a stress on the second syllable in English-speaking contexts (and that is fine).
What I do.
I am a researcher in formal semantics and pragmatics. That is, I study how humans draw various inferences from conversations in natural language, and I try to understand systems governing such human behaviors using theoretical tools made available by linguistics, logic, and cognitive science.
Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between word meanings and grammatical regularities. My AHRC/DFG project investigates how meanings of clause-embedding predicates (such as believe, know, surprise and wonder in English) are related to regularities about the types of complement clauses they can combine with, building on cross-linguistic data collection and experimentation.
In addition, I am interested in cross-linguistic generalisations in the lexical semantics of logical vocabularies. In my project funded by the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, my team and I will investigate how we can explain such generalisations in terms of what we know about grammar and cognition, by bringing together insights from formal linguistics and evolutionary linguistics.
Teaching and supervision are an essential part of my academic life. See the Teaching page for my teaching philosophy, information on classes I have taught, and students I have supervised.
News (recent and upcoming talks, papers etc.)
- Dec 2022: Ciyang Qing (a postdoc in the MECORE project) has been awarded the Moray Endowment Fund to investigate the individual variation in judgements about selectional restrictions of clause-embedding predicates.
- Dec 2022: New manuscript by the MECORE team: ‘Operationalizing focus-sensitivity in a cross-linguistic context’.
- Nov 2022: Wataru gave an invited colloquium talk at MIT Linguistics.
- Oct 2022: Wataru gave guest lectures and an invited seminar talk at University of Nantes Linguistics Laboratory.
- Oct 2022: Very warm welcome to three new members of the lab: Anne Mucha, Fred Whibley and James Engels! They will be working as part of the LiSU project.
- Sept 2022: Wataru’s book Question-orientedness and the semantics of clausal complementation is in press at Springer, to be published as part of their Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy series.
- Sept 2022: Two PhD students Takanobu Nakamura and Tom Stephen have successfully defended their theses. Congratulations Dr Nakamura and Dr Stephen!