Gerard Kempen's Website

Max Planck Institute

for Psycholinguistics

PO Box 310

6500 AH Nijmegen

The Netherlands

T +31 24 3521911

F +31 24 3521213

Cognitive Psychology Unit

Department of Psychology

Leiden University

PO Box 9555

2300 RB Leiden

The Netherlands

T +31 71 5273630

F +31 71 5273783

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Gerard A.M. Kempen (1943) is Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen since 1999, and Professor of Cognitive Psychology at Leiden University since 1992 (emeritus since 2008). From 1976 to 1992 he was Professor of Psycholinguistics at Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he had received his PhD in 1970.

     His psycholinguistic work mainly concerns the grammatical aspects of human sentence processing during language production and comprehension: human grammatical coding. He is studying this topic through a combination of experimental-psychological, linguistic, and computational methods.

     His contributions include:

—an early characterization of some basic aspects of the human sentence production process:


     —role played by grammatical constructions,

     —effects of repetitive speech (now called "structural priming" or "syntactic priming"), and

     —the division of labor and the interaction between conceptualization and formulation processes in

        sentence production

     (See publication in English 1977 and Dutch 1975)

—the distinction between lemmas and lexemes in the Mental Lexicon for language production (1983; with Pieter Huijbers)

—an early computational model of the grammatical aspects of human sentence production (1982, 1987; with Eduard Hoenkamp)

—the (neuro)cognitive model of parsing called Unification Space (19892009; with Theo Vosse)

—the (neuro)cognitively motivated Performance Grammar (PG) formalism (1987-1996 with Koenraad De Smedt; since 1997 with Karin Harbusch; see Harbusch’s special PG page here)

—a grammatical theory of clausal coordinate ellipsis based on similarities with speech error repairs (2009)

—experimental and theoretical arguments for major overlap between the grammatical processing mechanisms underlying sentence comprehension and those underlying sentence production (2000)

—design of a new neurocomputational architecture for human grammatical encoding and decoding (2014)

—an explanation of verb placement errors in German and Dutch subordinate causal/argumentative clauses (with Karin Harbusch) (2016).

For a categorized list of Kempen’s papers on human grammatical coding (1977-present), see this page.

Between 1980 and 2010, Kempen initiated and supervised various theoretical and applied research projects dealing with the computational treatment of Dutch—among other things, for visual-interactive teaching of grammatical structures (sentence analysis) in secondary education.

In the course of the latter project, he (re)discovered (in 1993 or thereabout):

An imaginative and unusual visualization of syntactic structure: Jac. van Ginneken's "living" grammar from De Roman van een Kleuter ('A Toddler's Novel') (1917). Here is the original Dutch text accompanying the visualizations in De Roman; the German translation by Berry Claus is here.

A complete list of publications is here, and here is a detailed Curriculum Vitae.

Last update:July 1, 2020