Angelika Kratzer

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

I wasn't born to become a professor. The town I grew up in didn't have a high-school for girls. Girls went to a Middle School run by nuns, learned cooking and bookkeeping, and got married. The next town over did have a high school for girls, but it only had a Modern Language track. The boys' high school there had Modern Languages, too, but there also was a Science and a Classics branch. For reasons that nobody could remember any longer, the Classics track took in a few girls every year. I was one of them, and nine years of Latin and six years of Greek - six days a week - must have turned me into a linguist. I discovered modern linguistics when I tried to find a way to combine my love for the shape of languages and mathematics, and discovered the close-to-Utopian Linguistics Department in Konstanz after getting lost at the traditional University of Munich and taking a year off as an assistant teacher at the Lycée Jean Dautet in La Rochelle (France). I cobbled a graduate education together for myself via research assistantships and scholarships that took me to the University of Heidelberg and to Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). I was then a researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen and taught at the Technical University in Berlin before eventually coming to Amherst.

I have also taught classes in other places around the world, including Brazil; Spain; Holland; the Czech Republic; Germany; the LSA Summer Institutes at UC Santa Cruz, Cornell University, and MIT/Harvard; as well as the Fall School in Linguistics of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. I love being a teacher. I wish my students, both graduates and undergraduates, knew how much I learn from them. The graduate students push me to do the research I do. They force me to go further into a topic than I would possibly manage on my own. I wish they were paid as well as I am. My undergraduates teach me what linguistics and semantics is all about: They insist on clear answers to the big questions. One of the greatest joys of my career has been to work with others on how to teach semantics.