I have moved my website to www.wataruuegaki.com.

Who I am.


(Ⓒ Juriën van Eck)

I am an Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent) at Leiden University in Leiden University Centre for Linguistics.

Previously, I was a JSPS postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies at Keio University, during which I was also a visiting scholar at Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris.

In 2015, I completed my PhD study at MIT Linguistics, with the PhD dissertation Interpreting questions under attitudes (pdf on lingbuzzpdf on the local server). The dissertation addresses a family of puzzles for the compositional semantics of question-embedding sentences, posed by variability in forms and interpretations of clauses embedded under attitude predicates, such as know, predict, surprise and wonder.

I also have the following external appointments in academic journals and conferences:

My profiles can also be found on the following sites:

What I do.

I am a researcher of formal semantics and pragmatics. That is, I study the systematic patterns in which people draw various kinds of inferences from conversations in natural language, and try to understand systems governing such patterns by formalizing them using theoretical tools made available by linguistics, logic and cognitive science.

I also specialise in Japanese linguistics. I investigate various aspects of the grammatical structure of the languages/dialects in Japan, with an aim to uncover the nature of the similarity and differences that the Japanese languages have with other languages in the world. Click here to read a short biography about the relationship between me and the Japanese language.

Outside of research, teaching is an essential part of my academic life. See the Teaching page for my teaching philosophy and information on classes I have taught.

Specific research interests

  • Semantics and Pragmatics
    • Semantics and pragmatics of interrogatives and their responses
    • Semantics of attitude predicates and their selectional properties
    • Constraints on lexical denotations
  • Syntax-Semantics Interface
    • wh-indeterminates
    • disjunctive constructions
  • Morpho-phonology of Japanese dialects

News (recent publications, talks etc)

  • July 2018: Alexandre Cremers, Floris Roelofsen and I submitted a revision of the paper “Distributive Ignorance Inferences”. 
  • July 2018: I received the NWO grant “internationalisation in the humanities” for the collaborative project “Searching for semantic universals in the modal domain”. The project involves research teams from LUCL Leiden, ILLC Amsterdam, Konstanz, Potsdam, ZAS-Berlin, and UC Santa Cruz. I will serve as the project leader. More info soon.
  • May 2018: I gave the following two presentations at SALT 28 @ MIT : “The problem of presupposition projection in question-embedding” (talk; slides); “Do modals take propositions or questions? Evidence from Japanese” (with Floris Roelofsen; poster)
  • April 2018: Submitted a revision of the survey article “The semantics of question-embedding predicates”
  • March 2018: Submitted a joint manuscript with Yasutada Sudo “The *hope-wh puzzle” (This is a substantial extension of our AC2017 proceedings paper).
  • January 2018: My paper “A unified semantics for the Japanese Q-particle ka in indefinites, questions and disjunctions” appeared in Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. It’s available open access.