Ilse Depraetere

Professeure des universités - Linguistique de l’anglais, pragmatique, linguistique de corpus, grammaire
B1.625 (STL), Campus Pont de Bois

Ilse Depraetere

Professeure des universités - Linguistique de l’anglais, pragmatique, linguistique de corpus, grammaire



Grammar, Licence 2

Forensic linguistics, Licence 2

Pragmatics, Licence 3 (module coordinator)

Language and usage, Licence 3

Meaning in context: the semantics-pragmatics interface, Master 1

Categorisation and gradience in English, Master 2

Politeness theory, Master 2

Former teaching


English grammar, Licence 1 (LEA, LCE), Licence 2 (LEA), Licence 3 (LEA)

Phonetics, Licence 1 (LEA), Licence 2 (LEA)

Methodology, Licence 1 (LLCE)

Syntax, Licence 2 (LLCE)

World Englishes, Licence 2 (LLCE)

Semantics and Pragmatics, Licence 2 (LLCE)

Semantics, Licence 2 (LLCE)

Search strategies, Master 1 (LEA)

Computer-assisted translation, Master 1 (LEA)

Introduction to translation theory, Master 1 (LEA)

Aspect and tense, Master 1 (LLCE)

Mood and modality, Master 2 (LLCE)

Contrastive grammar, Master 2 (LEA)

Language and identity, English as a global language (Master 2 LEA)

Machine translation, Master 2 (LEA)

Encadrement de la recherche (Master, Doctorat)

MA dissertation topics


Twentieth century linguistics has produced an abundance of new theories but it has tended to wrap old descriptions up inside them; what are needed now are new descriptions.  (Halliday 2004)


Most of my research deals with the verb phrase, and pertains in particular to tense, aspect and modality (TAM) in English. A further field of expertise relates to the semantics-pragmatics interface and theories of meaning. I am particularly interested in supervising theoretical work on the status of contextual information and corpus-based studies that investigate TAM and politeness strategies. I also take a lively interest in English grammar and varieties of English and am willing to supervise MA dissertations on New Englishes.

In my research, I update existing descriptions of the English language, and try to explain the usage patterns that have been observed. The detailed description is based on the examination of corpus data. In some cases, a sample is examined in order to get a clearer view of how widespread the phenomenon studied is (a quantitative analysis is carried out), but the emphasis is on the qualitative analysis of the data. The corpora used are, for the main part, the International Corpus of English, the British National corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English. An empirical linguist does not merely describe, but like any other linguist working within a particular theoretical framework, she complements the description with an explanation. The explanation does not have to be couched in terms of one chosen theoretical framework: rather than calling upon the theoretical premises and concepts of one particular theory, an eclectic approach is taken, by carefully selecting the principles and concepts required to achieve an explanatorily adequate model.      

The aim is to disentangle the different components of meaning, focusing on the separate and combined contributions made by syntax, semantics and pragmatics. As a consequence, the principles and constructs that are the descriptive linguist’s tools are themselves usually a combination of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic concepts.

If the methodology and the topics appeal to you, I’ll be happy to discuss a research project with you. You can contact me via email. I have a list of a selection of topics at the students’ disposal, but students can suggest other topics if they like.

Doctoral students

2009-2012. An Verhulst, (Lille 3 and KULeuven) Analyse de corpus de ‘should’, ‘ought to’ et ‘be supposed to’ en anglais britannique contemporain (A corpus-based analysis of ‘should’, ‘ought to’ and ‘be supposed to’ in contemporary British English) , cotutelle (Liesbet Heyvaert, KULeuven, Campus Kortrijk)

2015 - Benoît Leclercq. De la sémantique à la pragmatique, croisée théorique entre Grammar de Construction et Théorie de la Pertinence.

2017 - Cyril Grandin. A multifactorial analysis of the meaning of English modal verbs. (co-directeur: Bert Cappelle)

Member of the Board of Examinors of the following PhD dissertations

- Myriam Boulin. 2015. Now, then, et leurs équivalents en chinois mandarin: étude contrastive. Paris 7, CLILLAC-ARP, EA 3967.  Directrice de recherche: Agnès Celle. (en co-direction avec Marie-Claude Paris). Référente et rapporteur.

-  Tinne Van Rompaey. 2013. The development of P + NP + of/to + V(-ing) progressive aspect markers. University of Leuven. Supervisors: Prof. dr. K. Davidse, Co-supervisors: Prof. dr. L. Brems (Université de Liège), Prof. dr. L. Vandelanotte (Université de Namur).

- Ana Guerberof. 2012. Productivity and quality in the post-editing of outputs from translation memories and machine translation. Universitat Rovira I Virgili.

-  Jelena Timotijevic. 2009. The semantic domain of possibility in English and German. University of Brighton. Supervisor: Prof. dr. R. Salkie.

-  Kathleen O’Connor. 2008. Aspects de la syntaxe et de l'interprétation de l'apposition à antecédent nominal. Université de Lille 3. Supervisor: Prof. dr L. Haegeman.

-  Bert Cappelle. 2005. Particle patterns in English. A comprehensive coverage. K.U. Leuven. Supervisor: Renaat Declerck.

-  Jim E. Bruyndonx. 2001. The expanded form in British English. Meanings and constraints. A corpus-illustrated description. K.U. Leuven. Supervisor: Renaat Declerck.