Rolf Harald Baayen - Biography

Full CV

Harald Baayen studied theology (Biblical studies) and general linguistics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

In July 1980 he was a Teaching Assistant at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in High Wycombe, U.K. After his Kandidaatsexamen (B.A.) in 1983 (Theology) and his Doctoraalexamen (M.A.) in 1985 (General Linguistics) he became a Teaching Fellow at the Vrije Universiteit (1985-1988), and after his PhD (1989, General Linguistics), he remained for one more year as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

In 1990 he was invited to become a member of the Scientific Staff at the Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik in Nijmegen (NL). In 1998 he received a PIONIER career advancement award from the Dutch research council NWO, and became associate professor of the Radboud University of Nijmegen. This PIONIER award enabled him to build up a research group (in the Max Planck Institute) focusing on language processing (1988-2003).

In 2006, the Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded him with a Muller chair, and he became Professor of Quantitative Linguistics in Nijmegen. From 2007-2011 he was Professor of Quantitative Linguistics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, where he headed the lab for comparative psycholinguistics. He is still affiliated with the University of Alberta.

In 2011 he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt professorship at the University of Tübingen, where he has been directing a large research group investigating the role of discrimination learning in language processing.

In 2017 he has obtained an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a radical new project in language analysis. The five-year project is called WIDE and aims to deepen our understanding of how we produce and understand words in everyday speech.

In 2022, he received a second Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for the project SUBLIMINAL investigating the way in which word senses modulate the realization of tones and segments in Mandarin Chinese, with the aim of utilizing the insights obtained for improving methods for second language acquisition of Mandarin.

In 2023 he was granted a honorary doctorate in linguistics by the University of Tartu for his contribution to the development and teaching of quantitative linguistics methodology and long-standing collaboration with the linguists of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Tartu.

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