My research investigates the way in which context is necessary in the interpretation of lexical items, and how this interaction is crucial not only to understand the meaning of words and sentences at a certain moment in time, but also to understand how word meaning changes over time. In particular, I am interested in investigating systematic patterns of change reflecting this interaction that can be observed in the Ibero-Romance languages but also in languages that are not genetically related to them.

Research in linguistics is highly collaborative: most of my work is co-authored and I work both with peers and students at all levels.

An additional area of interest in my research is language contact between closely-related languages; in a collaborative project I have studied morphosyntactic and semantic properties of Barranquenho, a contact language spoken in the southern border of Portugal and Spain.

In my research so far, I have investigated semantic notions like gradability and plurality that cut across different syntactic categories. More specifically, I am interested in the syntactic and semantic change undergone by scalar terms (e.g. words meaning almost, barely) as they shed light on current theoretical questions both regarding types of meaning and mechanisms of language change.


  • Language, Linguistics, Portugal, Spain


  • Syntax-semantics interface
  • Historical linguistics (syntactic and semantic change)
  • Lexical semantics
  • Romance linguistics
  • Experimental pragmatics

Research interests:

  • Natural language semantics, Formal pragmatics, Experimental pragmatics, Historical linguistics


Research Interests:

  • syntax-semantics interface; language change; romance linguistics; experimental pragmatics language contact
European Studies, Portuguese, Spanish, Cognitive Science, Linguistics
PhD, Ohio State University, Hispanic Linguistics, 2007
MA, University of Coimbra, Linguistics, 1999
BA, University of Coimbra, Classical Languages, 1996
formal semantics contact linguistics pragmatics experimental pragmatics historical linguistics
English, European Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish
Linguistics Society of America