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The Psychometrics Centre

Cambridge Judge Business School


Napoleon Katsos is Reader in Experimental Pragmatics in the Department for Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (DTAL) at the University of Cambridge.

Multilingualism presents key challenges to psychometric assessment, particularly in the development of scales for the assessment of Speech and Language difficulties. Napoleon's research focuses on semantics and pragmatics, especially the meaning of quantifiers, number words, logical connectives, and definite expressions. Together with colleagues at the Centre for General Linguistics in Berlin and COST (The European Cooperation in Science and Technology), he is participating in a programme that addresses multilingualism in the emerging European Community, with a particular concern for the diagnostic needs of young second language learners. These children often produce language patterns that resemble those of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). This presents a challenge to the diagnosis of SLI in bilingual children, particularly immigrants from other European countries and internationally.

With colleagues in more than 10 European countries, he is currently working on a novel dataset from 22  languages in order to identify universal patterns in the process of language acquisition. These may further be used to develop cross-linguistically applicable psychometric tests of language impairment, work that is  particularly relevant to the needs of Speech and Language Therapists as the population of the European Community becomes increasingly multilingual.

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Key publications: 

Geurts, B., Katsos, N., Cummins, C., Moons, J. & Noordman, L. (2010). Scalar quantifiers: logic, acquisition, and processing.Language and Cognitive Processes, 25(1): 130-48.

Katsos, N. (2009). Evaluating under-informative utterances with context-dependent and context-independent scales: experimental and theoretical implications. In Sauerland, U. & Yatsushiro, K.,Experimental Semantics and Pragmatics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language & Cognition. 51-73.

Katsos, N. (2008). The semantics/pragmatics interface from an experimental perspective: the case of scalar implicature. Synthese, 165: 385-401.

Breheny, R., Katsos, N. & Williams, J. (2006). Are generalised scalar implicatures generated by default? Cognition, 100(3): 434-463.

Katsos, N., Breheny, R. & Williams, J. (2005). The interaction of structural and contextual constraints during the on-line generation of scalar inferences. In Bara, B., Barsalou, L. & Bucciarelli (eds.),Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1108-13. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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