In 2005 I was awarded a personal VENI-grant project by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research for a project entitled "The contribution of contrast in context". You can read more here. PhD student Anna Lobanova is also working on topics closely related to this project. Currently we are looking at what evidence exists for making distinctions between contrast relations, and we recently presented a paper on this topic at IwCS 8. We are also working on automatic antonym extraction and antonym evaluation. The goal of this work is to use the automatically extracted antonyms to try to automatically identify (unmarked) contrastive relations, and to account for the contrastive interpretation.
My interest in contrast developed from my fascination with inference in discourse and dialogue. Most of my work is within the fields of computational semantics and pragmatics, and as a methodology I prefer to use corpus data to test formal theories. In addition to contrast I do work on presupposition theory (the topic of my dissertation), conversational implicatures, and ellipsis, in particular VP ellipsis.
Additionally I am very interested in optimality theory (OT) approaches to semantics and pragmatics. I organized the Stockholm workshop in "Variations in Optimality Theory". I am also very interested in first language acquisition, and have been working on explaining the delay of principle B effect in children's acquisition of pronouns, together with Petra Hendriks, Erik-Jan Smits, and more recently, Jacolien van Rij. Our explanation of the delay is embedded in Bi-directional OT.
My interest in Ellipsis is still strong, and together with Johan Bos I annotated the Wall Street Journal Corpus for VP-ellipsis. A paper detailing this work will appear in Language Resources and Evaluation and the stand-off annotations are available here. We are also planning a shared task on VP Ellipsis for the next SEMEVAL 2010.
Petra Hendriks I had earlier organized the ESSLLI Workshop on Cross-modular Approaches to Ellipsis.
I also organized two workshops in Stockholm, one on "Contrast, Information Structure and Intonation" which was held in Stockholm October 28-30, 2005, and one on "Variation within Optimality Theory", from which there is a very nice proceedings.