Luisa Meroni is assistant professor at the Department of Modern Languages at Utrecht University. She studied Philosophy at the University of Milan where she graduated cum laude in Philosophy of Language in 1997. She went on to study Linguistics at the University of Maryland at College Park and received her Ph.D. in Linguistics with a dissertation on language acquisition entitled "Putting Children in Context' in 2005. After spending one year at MIT as visiting scholar and two years at McGill University as a Postdoc, she began to work at Utrecht University first as a researcher with a Marie Curie grant and then also as assistant professor. Her research focuses on three areas of Language:  child language acquisition, sentence processing and second language acquisition. In the field of child language development she has conducted many experiments investigating  young children's knowledge of constraints on the semantic properties of linguistic expressions, in particular, logical expressions such as disjunction and operators, such as 'every' and 'only.' In other research she has studied how children and adults resolve syntactic and semantic ambiguities that arise in language processing, a project for which  she received an European Science Foundation (ESF) grant for two years. Being a second language learner herself, she recently started to study the processes and factors underlying second language learning with special emphasis on those structures that are ambiguous in one language but not in the other. The overarching theme of her research is the use of linguistic theories and experimental tools to investigate language acquisition and processing. 

Strategic themes / Focus areas
Involved in the following study programme(s)
Scientific expertise
sentence processing
syntax/semantics/pragmatics and interface phenomena
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Curriculum vitae Download PDF
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All publications
  2015 - Articles
Meroni, Luisa, Foppolo, Francesca, Marelli, Marco & Gualmini, Andrea (2015). Hey Little Sister, Who's the Only One? Modulating Informativeness in the Resolution of Privative Ambiguity. Cognitive science (29 p.).
  2015 - Paper
van Spijk, Yoïn, Meroni, L. & Pinto, M. (26.06.2015). Un'analisi contrastiva dell'uso dei tempi verbali passati in italiano e olandese.
  2014 - Articles
Meroni, Luisa, Foppolo, Francesca, Marelli, Marco & Gualmini, Andrea (2014). The only one strategy in context. Lingua, 145, (pp. 266–275) (10 p.).
  2013 - Books
Meroni, L. (2013). Putting children in context. Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing.
  2013 - Book editorship
Baauw, S., Drijkoningen, F.A.C., Meroni, L. & Pinto, M. (2013). Selected Papers from Going Romance 2011. (269 p.). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  2013 - Articles
Meroni, L. & Gualmini, A. (2013). Question under discussion triggers implicature calculation in young children. Lingue e Linguaggio, XIL (1), (pp. 121-139) (19 p.).
  2013 - Articles in volumes / proceedings
Meroni, L., Smeets, L. & Unsworth, S. (2013). Crosslinguistic influence in scope ambiguity: Evidence for acceleration. Proceedings of the 37th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 265-279) (15 p.). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  2013 - Lectures
L. Meroni (28.05.2013). When DO children compute Scalar Implicatures: the contribution of the Question Under Discussion and Sentence Level Intonation. Euro- XPRAG London Master Class .
  2012 - Articles in volumes / proceedings
Meroni, L. & Gualmini, A. (2012). Implicature calculation in young children: The role of the Question Under Discussion. In Yukio Otsu (Eds.), The role of the Que Proceedings of the 12th Tokyo Conference on Psycholingustics Tokyo: Hituzi Publishing Company.
  2012 - Lectures
L. Meroni (28.03.2012). 'Do you know all SI? I know some: context dependence of children's computation of SI'. Berlin, GLOW.
L. Meroni (29.03.2012). Parsing Semantic Ambiguity: Strategies and Commitments. Berlin, GLOW.
L. Meroni (27.01.2012). Question under discussion for implicature computation. iworkshop - Implicature Workshop.
L. Meroni (20.11.2012). Specific indefinite objects in bilingual acquisition. When Italian helps Dutch. Comparative Syntax Meeting.
  2011 - Articles in volumes / proceedings
Meroni, L. & Crain, S. (2011). “How Children Avoid Kindergarten Paths”. In Edward Gibson and Neal Pearlmutter (Eds.), The processing and acquisition of reference Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  2011 - Lectures
L. Meroni (02.06.2011). "You are “the only one”…how far do we go in search for referents. Experimental Pragmatics Conference.
L. Meroni (03.09.2011). Being 'the only one' means everything. Paris, France, AmLap.
  2010 - Articles in volumes / proceedings
Meroni, L., Zondervan, A. & Gualmini, A. (2010). Experiments on the role of the Question under Discussion for Ambiguity Resolution and Implicature Computation in Adults. SALT 18
  2010 - Lectures
L. Meroni (24.06.2010). You are "the only one" far do we go in search for referents?. The XPrag Workshop..
  2008 - Lectures
L. Meroni (01.01.2008). "Two Cheers for the Question under Discussion: Ambiguity Resolution and Implicature Computation in Adults". Padova, Italy, 34 ncontro di Grammatica Generatva.
L. Meroni (21.03.2008). Experiments on the Role of the Question Under Discussion for Ambiguity Resolution and Implicature Computation in Adults. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 18.
L. Meroni (01.01.2008). nts on the role of focus triggered by different types of QUDs in the computation of scalar implicatures?. 14th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing.
  2007 - Book editorship
Meroni, L. & Belikova, A. (2007). Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative. (490 p.). Somerville, MA, USA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
  2007 - Articles in volumes / proceedings
Meroni, L. (2007). The Strength of the Universal Quantifier in Child Language. In A Belikova & L Meroni (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative (pp. 277-284) (8 p.).
  2007 - Lectures
L. Meroni (16.03.2007). The definiteness effect and the universal quantifier. Tokyo, Japan, TCP.
  0 - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups
L. Meroni (0). Organisator conferentie Going Romance.
  0 - Membership of peer review panel or committee
L. Meroni (0). Boston conference on language Development.
Luisa Meroni, Andrea Gualmini and Stephen Crain (2006) “Everybody knows,”. In Acquisition meets Semantics, (Ed.) V. van Geenhoven, 89-114, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Springer.
Silvia Gennari, Luisa Meroni and Stephen Crain. (2005), “Rapid Relief of Stress in Dealing with Ambiguity”. In Approaches to Studying World-Situated Language Use:Bridging the language-as-product and language-as-action traditions, pp. 245-259, (Eds.) J.C. Trueswell and M.K. Tanenhaus. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Gennaro Chierchia, Maria Teresa Guasti, Andrea Gualmini, Luisa Meroni and Stephen Crain. (2004) “Semantic and pragmatic competence in children and adults’ comprehension of ‘or’,” book chapter in Experimental Pragmatics, pp.283-300, (Eds.) I. A. Noveck and D. Sperber, Palgraves, London.
Luisa Meroni, Andrea Gualmini and Stephen Crain. (2004) “Definiteness in Child Language”, Proceedings of WCCFL 2003, 583-594. (Ed.) M. Bernstein, Cascadilla
Press, Somerville, MA.
Stephen Crain, Luisa Meroni and Utako Minai. (2004) “If everybody knows than every child knows”, Proceedings of Gala 2003 (Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition), Vol. 1 , (Eds.) J. van Kampen and S. Baauw , Igitur
Publishing, Utrecht, the Nederland.
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Completed projects

You are “the only one”…how far do we go in search for referents? 01.09.2009 to 01.09.2011
General project description

Project: A comparison study on the interpretation of ambiguous sentences
between Italian and Dutch.

Role Researcher Funding
EU grant: European Science Foundation - EuroXprag
Project members UU
External project members:
  • Francesca Foppolo University of Milan
Putting children and adults in context 01.06.2007 to 01.06.2009
General project description
Role Project Leader Funding
External funding
Project members UU


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Full name
dr. L. Meroni Contact details

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Room 0.60
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 8143
Phone number (department) +31 30 253 8132
Postal address
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3512 JK    UTRECHT
The Netherlands
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Last updated 24.03.2016