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 profiles can also be found on the University of Edinburgh website and Google scholar.
My pronouns are he/him. My first name Wataru is unaccented while my last name Uegaki has an accent on the second mora [e], but people typically pronounce them with a stress on the penultimate 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 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.)
- October 2023: Wataru’s invited talk at the Special Session on Clausal Complements at SPE/OASIS.
- August 2023: Deniz Özyıldız and Ciyang Qing (MECORE) will teach an advanced course “Semantic properties and combinatorial restrictions of attitude predicates” at ESSLLI 2023 @ Ljubljana.
- June 2023: Mucha, Engels, Whibley and Uegaki talk ‘Negative modality in Hausa, Thai and Kîîtharaka’ at TripleA.
- June 2023: Wataru’s invited talk at InqBnB4 @ IWCS 2023
- May 2023: Deniz Özyıldız and Wataru will present their talk ‘Two kinds of question-embedding strategies and veridicality alternations’ at SALT 33.
- May 2023: The MECORE team will present a talk ‘A Crosslinguistic Database for Combinatorial and Semantic Properties of Attitude Predicates’ at SIGTYP @ EACL.
- May 2023: The MECORE team will present a poster “How context and focus modulate form-meaning mismatches in speech reports” at WCCFL 41 @ UCSC.
- Feb 2023: New manuscript by Uegaki, Mucha, Imel & Steinert-Threlkeld: Deontic priority in the lexicalization of impossibility modals
- Jan 2023: Wataru’s book Question-orientedness and the semantics of clausal complementation has been published as part of Springer Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy.