Linguist at Utrecht University, specialized in semantics (the study of meaning in language)

Research interests

Biblical metaphors: How does the Bible use imagery to shape its concepts? See Biblical metaphors for more information.

The formal semantics of collective categorization: as part of Yoad Winter's ERC Advanced Grant project ROCKY that studies "the linguistic ability to conceptualize collections".

Prepositions and the language of space: How do we use small words (like in) to talk about spatial (and other) relations?

Semantic maps and conceptual spaces: How are word meanings organized in semantic maps and conceptual spaces and how can such maps and spaces be visualized?

New writings and upcoming events

Formal semantics of spatial language, contribution for a handbook about spatial language, edited by Jürgen Bohnemeyer and Eric Pederson, in the de Gruyter series The Expression of Cognitive Categories.

Mining and mapping New Testament metaphors and the Louw-Nida lexicon, contribution for Textual, Image, and Network Analysis in Biblical and Religious Studies, edited by Garick Allen, Paul Dilley, Sara Schulthess, and Peter Philips in Brill's Digital Biblical Studies series.

The semantics of metaphor, Introductory course at ESSLLI 2021, August 2-13, 2021, Utrecht University.


Recent writings

Zwarts, J. (2020). 'Between' constructions in Biblical Hebrew. Ms. Utrecht University.

Zwarts, J. (2020). Contiguity and membership and the typology of collective nouns. In Michael Franke, Nikola Kompa, Mingya Liu, Jutta L. Mueller, and Juliane Schwab (Eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 24 (pp 539-554). Osnabrück/Berlin: Osnabrück University and Humboldt University of Berlin.

Zwarts, J. (2020). Prepositions and particles: Place and path in English, German, and Dutch. In M. Putnam & R. Page (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics (pp 615-638). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zwarts, J. (2019). On domain adjectives and the metaphors they modify. In Julian J. Schlöder, Dean McHugh & Floris Roelofsen (Eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium (pp 437-444). Amsterdam: ILLC.

Palmieri, G., M. Pinto, Y. Winter, & J. Zwarts (2019). Lexical reciprocity vs. grammatical reciprocity: The case of Italian. In M. Baird, D. Göksu, & J. Pesetsky (Eds.), Proceedings of NELS 49 Volume 3 (pp 15-28). Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications.

Matushansky, O. & J. Zwarts (2019). Tops and Bottoms: Axial Nominals as Weak Definites. In R. Stockwell, M. O'Leary, Z. Xu, & Z.L. Zhou (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (pp 270-280). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Zwarts, J. (2019). From “back” to “again” in Dutch: The structure of the “re” domain. Journal of Semantics, 36(2), 211-240.

Zwarts, J. (2018). Shifting animacy shifts. Theoretical Linguistics, 44(1–2), 107.