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Ewelina Wnuk

Contact

Erasmusplein 1
6525 HT Nijmegen
Room: E 4.01
Email

Ewelina Wnuk’s research centers on studying meaning, with a focus on the lexicon and grammar. The broad questions she is interested in are: “How is the information that makes up our experiences of the world packaged into words?” and “What factors are responsible for the regularities and variation in semantic categories and their linguistic expression?” This encompasses a diverse range of subtopics such as categorization, semantic typology, word classes, iconicity, and the relationship between language and culture. Recently, she has been exploring these questions in the domain of perception, focusing primarily on verbs. In her current work, she concentrates on olfactory language and its relation to perception and cognition.

Since 2009, she has been doing fieldwork among speakers of Maniq [ma’niʔ] – a Northern Aslian language from the Austroasiatic family. The Maniq are a 300-speaker population of Semang nomadic hunter-gatherers living in the Banthad mountain range of southern Thailand. She has a strong interest in language documentation and language description (see her description of the Maniq sound system and a grammar sketch), ethnobiology, Austroasiatic and Southeast Asian linguistics, as well as general language typology.

in press Speed, L. J., Wnuk, E., & Majid, A. (in press). Studying psycholinguistics out of the lab. In A. De Groot, & P. Hagoort (Eds.), Research Methods in Psycholinguistics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
2016 De Valk, J. M., Wnuk, E., Huisman, J. L., & Majid, A. (2016). Odor–color associations differ with verbal descriptors for odors: A comparison of three linguistically diverse groups. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1-9. Link to source | Full text (pdf)
2016 Wnuk, Ewelina. Semantic specificity of perception verbs in Maniq (PhD dissertation). Radboud University, Nijmegen. Full text (pdf)
2016 Wnuk, Ewelina. Specificity at the basic level in event taxonomies: The case of Maniq verbs of ingestion. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society [CogSci 2016] (pp. 2687-2692). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Full text (pdf)
2015 Kruspe, Nicole, Niclas Burenhult, & Ewelina Wnuk. Northern Aslian. In P. Sidwell, & M. Jenny (Eds.), Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages (pp. 419-474). Leiden: Brill.
2014 Wnuk, Ewelina & Niclas Burenhult. Contact and isolation in hunter-gatherer language dynamics: Evidence from Maniq phonology (Aslian, Malay Peninsula). Studies in Language, 38(4), 956-981. doi:10.1075/sl.38.4.06wnu. Link to source | Full text (pdf)
2014 Wnuk, Ewelina & Asifa Majid. Revisiting the limits of language: The odor lexicon of Maniq. Cognition, 131(1), 125–138. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.12.008. Full text (pdf) | Link to source [One of the 25 most downloaded articles in Cognition in early 2014]
2012

 

 

Wnuk, Ewelina & Asifa Majid. Olfaction in a hunter-gatherer society: Insights from language and culture. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Full text (pdf)

 Invited Talks

 

2016 The language of scents. Film & Science Festival organized by the French Embassy in the Netherlands. Groninger Forum, 15 April, Groningen, the Netherlands
2014 Lexical elaboration of perception in Maniq. Taalcafé – a meeting organized by the Student Association Helios, University of Amsterdam, November 6, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2014 Life forms and the senses: The perceptual lexicon of Maniq in the context of ethnobiology. Centre for languages and literature, Lund University, April 3, Lund, Sweden
2013 Verbs of perception in the context of ethnobiology in Maniq. KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Science) Conference Diversity and Universals in Language, Culture, and Cognition, October 25, Leiden, the Netherlands
2012 Perceptual terminology and the ethnobiological domain in Maniq. Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, September 12, Bangkok, Thailand
2012 Olfaction in a hunter-gatherer society: Insights from language and culture. The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, July 30, Kyoto, Japan

Talks

2017 Capturing the meaning of smell terms: A case study of Thai. Cogling7 – the biennial conference of the Belgium Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2016 Specificity at the basic level in event taxonomies: The case of Maniq verbs of ingestion. 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, USA
2016 Semantic specificity of verbs in Maniq (Austroasiatic, Thailand). 26th Annual Conference of Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, May 26-28, Manila, the Philippines.
2016 The linguistic encoding of perceptual properties in Maniq (Aslian, Thailand). Chulalongkorn University, February 5, Bangkok, Thailand
2015 Smell terminology and cross-modal smell associations among three culturally and linguistically diverse groups. 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, 20-25 July, Newcastle, England.
2014 What makes Orang Asli languages interesting?: Maniq as a case study of the richness of Aslian verbal lexicons. Orang Asli Symposium, 10-13 June, Keene (NH), USA
2013 Language of perception and its relation to ethnobiological knowledge among the Maniq of Thailand. 10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies, 25-28 June, Liverpool, England
2013 Documenting the sense-scapes of the rainforest wildlife among the Maniq (Aslian, Austroasiatic). International Conference Language Documentation: Past –
Present – Future
organized by DoBeS (“Dokumentation bedrohter Sprachen/Documentation of Endangered Languages”), 5-7 June, Hannover, Germany
2012 Olfaction in a hunter-gatherer society: Insights from language and culture. 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1-4 August, Sapporo, Japan
2012 Perceptual terminology and the ethnobiological domain in Maniq. 22nd Annual Conference of Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 30 May-2 June, Agay, France
2010 Maniq – the Semang of southern Thailand. Hunter-gatherers and semantic categories: an interdisciplinary workshop on theory, method and documentation, 30 May-4 June, Neuwied, Germany

Education

2010 – 2016 PhD in Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences Semantic specificity of perception verbs in Maniq
Promotors: Asifa Majid, Stephen C. Levinson; Co-promotor: Niclas Burenhult
2008 – 2010 Research Master in Linguistics (Cum laude), University of Amsterdam
2004 – 2008 Bachelor in Italian Studies (major: Linguistics), University of Warsaw
2003 – 2008 Bachelor & Master in English Studies (major: Linguistics) (Diploma honorificum), University of Warsaw

Professional experience

2015 – present Researcher at the Meaning, Culture and Cognition Group (PI Asifa Majid), Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen
2008 – 2010 Research assistant, DoBeS language documentation project Tongues of the Semang, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Honours and grants

2015 DRONGO Science Live AWARD for the best scientific communication on the subject of language won with the Meaning, Culture and Cognition team at the Drongo Festival (the largest language festival in the Netherlands)
2014 Revisiting the limits of language: The odor lexicon of Maniq by Wnuk and Majid becomes one of the 25 most downloaded articles in Cognition in early 2014
2014 Grant from Radboud Internationalisation Fund to cover expenses of a field trip to Thailand, Jan-Mar 2014
2012 Best student abstract at the 22nd Annual conference of Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 30 May-2 June, Agay, France
2012 Glushko Travel Prize for the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 1-4 August, Sapporo, Japan
2011 Travel and accommodation grant from Radboud Internationalisation Fund to cover expenses during the LSA 2011 Linguistic Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
2007 – 2008 Socrates-Erasmus at University of Castilla La Mancha, Spain

Fieldwork and field methods training

2009 – 2017 Maniq, Thailand (Trang, Satun and Phatthalung provinces). Seven field trips to Thailand with overall duration of 10 months. Comprehensive survey of Maniq groups in the Banthad mountain range, establishment of a long-term field site in Satun. Documentation corpus archived at http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser/
2011 Field methods course at LSA Linguistic Institute 2011 (Linguistic Society of America) on the Idi language (Papuan). Taught by Nicholas Evans and Wasang Baiio, University of Colorado at Boulder
2009 3 L International Summer School on Language Documentation and Description, SOAS, London
2007 DoBeS Training Course, MPI Nijmegen

Teaching experience

2017 Research MA course Language and the Senses , Radboud University Nijmegen, April-June, Instructor
2015 Research MA course Foundations of Language & Communication, Radboud University Nijmegen, 18 September, Guest lecture
2015 Linguistics field methods class at the Radboud Summer School Language Science: Current methods and interdisciplinary perspectives, 6 August, Guest assistance
2007 – 2008 Sympozjum language school in Warsaw, Poland, English language teacher

Meetings organized

2017 Co-organizer of the conference Human Olfaction at the Intersection of Language, Culture and Biology; Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, 22-23 June.
2012 Co-organizer of the Workshop Relations in Relativity: New Perspectives on Language and Thought, International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, 9-11 May.

Ad-hoc Reviewing

Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP), Journal of Cognitive Science, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Language, Memory and Cognition

Public engagement

2015 Lab demo and science communication for visitors of the Drongo Festival – the largest language festival in the Netherlands (25-27 September)
2016 Bringing science to the classroom, assistance in science outreach activities within the project Wetenschaps Knooppunt Radboud Universiteit carried out in elementary schools in Boxmeer and Arnhem (February-March)
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