Mariann Proos


Hi! I am Mariann Proos, Research Fellow in Semantics at the University of Tartu. I am interested in how language works, how it's connected to our minds and our surroundings. I work in semantics focussing on polysemy and meaning variation across languages. I have experience with both experimental and corpus-based methods of language research and I strongly believe in methodological pluralism.

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Future plans

After defending my thesis in March 2021, I have been floating around different positions and projects, applying for funding, getting frustrated, climbing back on the wheel and trying again :). I am looking to build upon my existing knowledge but also broaden my horizons. Going forward, I still want to focus my research on semantics, but during the last years of my PhD, I grew increasingly interested in the processing side of things. I now want to learn some new methods and explore new topics. Some topics that are currently floating around in the back of my head include: processing of polysemy (and meaning in general), different dimensions of concepts, polysemy and syntactic variation, polysemy and the coding of arguments, …

In the meanwhile

While I’m looking for funding to realize these new ambitions, I’m invloved in the following projects:

Semantic ratings for Estonian words

Along with finishing up my PhD and preparing for the defence, we launched a new project together with my colleague Mari Aigro in spring 2021. We aim to collect concreteness ratings for 40 000 Estonian words. Our ambitious goal is to gather data from 2000 native Estonian speakers - we’re doing well so far. Have a look at our website (in Estonian). In March 2022 we secured funding from the Kadri, Nikolai and Gerda Rõuk Fund at our institute to finish collecting the ratings, but to also collect modality and affectiveness ratings for 500 Estonian nouns. The result of this mini project will be a searchable database with all the ratings. We shall call her SEMTEEK.

Vague quantifiers in Estonian

Together with my colleague Maria Reile, we are looking at two vague quantifiers in Estonian: paar ‘a couple / a pair’ and mõned ‘some / a few’. We will run a picture matching task to see how these quantifiers map onto the numeric system.

Polysemy of seisma ‘to stand’

With colleagues Piia Taremaa and Ann Veismann, we will take another look at this polysemous verb. We will try to figure out, which embodied features describe the senses of the verb, and what they say about the concept of standing.