Simone Sprenger

Department of English | Faculty of Arts | University of Groningen

I am currently working as a researcher at the University of Groningen (Faculty of Arts, Department of English Linguistics) where I am part of the "Bilingualism in Groningen" project (PI prof. Monika Schmid). In addition, I am a coordinator of the research master and the Graduate School of Behavioural and Social Sciences.

Research interests

Idiom Processing

Idiomatic expressions such as she has her head in the clouds have been intriguing linguistic researchers for decades. However, while sometimes defying the rules of syntax, and almost always defying the rules of literal compositionality, they seem to pose more problems for researchers than they do for speakers. Given sufficient context, native speakers have been shown to be faster at processing idioms than at processing normal, compositional phrases. Even if such effects might not generalize to idiom processing per se, they do indicate that somehow idiomatic expressions have left their mark on the mental lexicon. At the very least, speakers seem to be naturally equipped with a language processing system that smoothly integrates literal and non-literal language use. This assumption is reflected in most quantitative models of idiom processing.

In the model that I developed in collaboration with Gerard Kempen and Willem Levelt (Sprenger, Kempen & Levelt, 2006), word representations and idiom representations are tightly interwoven. In my research on idiom processing, I strive towards a model of idiom representation and processing that captures the idiosyncrasies of figurative language within the constraints of what we know about non-figurative language processing, memory representations, and general cognitive processes.

LOT summerschool 2013

University of Groningen

Radboud University, Nijmegen

Grants & Scholarships

Grant Opportunities for Students


PhD Thesis

MA Thesis

Conference Presentations

Invited Talks


simone.sprenger mac.com

postal address:
Department of English
Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
visiting address:
room 113
Rode Weeshuisstraat 12