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About Angelika Kratzer

My area of specialization is semantics, an interdisciplinary field located at the intersection of linguistics, cognitive psychology, logic, and philosophy. As a semanticist, I am interested in how natural languages construct complex meanings from small and simple pieces. This process involves intricate interactions between several cognitive components that semanticists are probing into using theoretical modeling to generate predictions and cross-linguistic investigations to establish parameters of variation. To tease apart linguistic and non-linguistic components in the construction of meanings, collaborations with cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have become increasingly important and fruitful. We might have reached a state where we actually understand each other.

For many years now, I have been investigating how natural languages organize talk about mere possibilities: what might have been, could be, or should be. Conceptualizations of what is possible, inevitable, likely, or desirable are highly systematic across diverse disciplines and cultures, and this is why this area of research has attracted the attention of mathematicians, logicians, psychologists, legal scholars, and philosophers for more than 2,000 years.

I received my PhD from the University of Konstanz (Germany). I have been a guest professor at universities around the world and am a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). With Irene Heim of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I am co-author of Semantics in Generative Grammar and cofounder of the journal Natural Language Semantics, which we edited together for almost 30 years. I am often called on to serve on advisory boards and panels for research institutes and initiatives, departments, grants, journals and conferences. In this way I can help develop directions for interdisciplinary research in semantics for the 21st century. I also developed innovative courses and teaching materials for both graduate and undergraduate classes.

Old website (no longer updated):

Orcid ID: 0000-0001-5861-1152


Present Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Curriculum Vitae


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Honors and Awards

  • Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Contact Information

Department of Linguistics
Integrative Learning Center
650 North Pleasant Street
University of Massachusetts
Amherst,MA 01003
Tel: 413-545-6829


John Locke Lectures 2022 (1)

Angelika Fest 2018 (2)

Google Scholar Profile & Curriculum Vitae (2)

Blog and Journal Editorship (2)

Videos (4)

History of Formal Semantics (3)

Collected articles on Modals, Conditionals, Situation Semantics, Knowledge Ascriptions (3)

Situation Semantics (4)

Attitude and Speech Reports (4)