Steven Gillis#

Short laudatio by Wolfgang U. Dressler#

Steven Gillis unites in a unique way psycholinguistic, computational-linguistic, corpus-linguistic, clinical-linguistic and cross-linguistic research, which gives especially his work on acquisition of phonology, morphology, phonetics and the lexicon unusual depth and breadth. His findings on the acquisition of, e.g., Dutch syllabification, bare infinitives and diminutives have been exemplary for their linguistic and psycholinguistic sophistication, self-critical circumspection, novel use of statistics and computer simulation, i.e. with truly transdisciplinary methodology. In systematically comparing adult adult-directed speech of electronic corpora, adult child-directed speech and child-speech of an impressive great number of child corpora he has also been able to find new generalisations for the Dutch language at large. Within clinical linguistics, his large-scale cross-linguistic work on children with cochlear implants is truly outstanding.

His multiple expertise has made him a major figure in international cross-linguistic studies of language acquisition, both on an organisational level, as the director of the European centre of the international CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) program, and in active involvement of comparing the acquisition of Dutch with the acquisition of Danish, French, German, Hebrew, Ukrainian, etc. His Antwerp Center for Dutch Language and Speech, which focuses its research on Dutch linguistics, (computational) psycholinguistics and language technology (sponsored by the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), the joint Flemish-Dutch FWO- NOW agency VNC and the European Union) coordinates computational linguistics in Flanders and is responsible for the cooperation with the Netherlands in computational and corpus linguistics.

Steven Gillis is the Coordinator of the Flemish Interuniversity Postgraduate Program in Linguistics and member of the Board of Directors of the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie (“Institute for Dutch Lexicology”) at Leiden. He has been invited to teach at European summer schools in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Leuven and at the universities of Cologne, Coventry, CUNY, Kiev, Tel Aviv and Vienna.

His scholarly impact is massive and increasing, also due to the high number of PhD students and postdocs that he engages in an astounding number of externally funded research projects he has been organising and directing (for more than 5 million €).

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