Hadas Kotek

MIT Department of Linguistics
77 Massachusetts Ave, #32-D808
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA


About me

I am a fifth-year graduate student at the department of linguistics and philosophy at MIT. My dissertation proposes a new syntax/semantics for wh-questions, focusing mostly on English and German questions, and presenting evidence from offline judgments as well as online sentence processing.

Starting in August 2014, I will be a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University.

Research interests

Broad interests: The syntax/semantics interface; Experimental approaches to syntax and semantics.

Narrow interests: The effects of covert movement on semantics: wh-questions and focus, quantification, focus intervention effects, and degree semantics. Derivational syntax: Probe- and goal-driven movement, cross-derivational economy.

For an updated list of my presentations and publications, please consult my CV.

Papers and handouts



Upcoming and recent conferences

Manuscripts and current work

(contact me for a copy of the papers)

Ongoing projects


If you’re wondering how to pronounce my name: in IPA, my first name is [hə.'das] and my last name is ['ko.tɛk]. Hadas is a Israeli/Jewish name referring to one of the Four species, and it is also related to the biblical name Hadassah. Kotek is a Czech name meaning "kitten," and it has cognates in pretty much every Slavic language I know of. Most English-speakers will pronounce my last name with a dipthong, and that is fine with me - I often pronounce it like that myself these days. As for my first name, the only important thing to remember is the stress. You can get rid of the first syllable altogether and I'll still recognize what you say as my name, but if you stress the first syllable there's a good chance that won't even realize that you're talking to me.

Here is a research paper I wrote about my grandfather's journey during World War II: from Czechoslovakia to Denmark to Sweden to England back to mainland Europe, and after the war: from Slovakia to Austria to France to Israel (in Hebrew; contains original interviews with 10 individuals who were also members of my grandfather's Youth Aliyah group, who had similar stories).