Mégane Lesuisse is an Associate Professor in English linguistics at the University Paris 8 Vincennes St Denis. Her research interests lie in cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, and include the verbalisation and the conceptualisation of spatial events in French, English and Dutch, with a focus on the role of interaction and event canonicity for the influence of language on thought Her current projects involve eye-tracking, corpus linguistics and interactive experimental designs. She is also interested in the cognitive impact of those cross-linguistic differences and their consequences for second language learning and teaching. Another research project of hers concerns the cognitive impact of gender stereotypes in the English language.


Research interests :

Cognitive linguistics, Usage-based Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, Construction Grammar, Spatial expressions, Cardinal position verbs, Diachrony of English, Corpus linguistics, English, French, Dutch, Eye-tracking, Language learning & teaching, Gender stereotypes

Linguistic relativity for spatial expressions

Have you ever wondered whether people who speak a different language from yours think differently ? This is the question that my doctoral thesis investigates. This project focuses more specifically on the static location of objects in space (e.g. a bottle on a table). In Dutch, the orientation of the bottle must be expressed via a cardinal posture verb : zitten ’to be seated’, liggen ’to be lying down’, staan ’to be standing up’. In Dutch, for example, we would say "The bottle is standing on the table". For a French speaker, this is unnatural, if not impossible, and one prefers to say that the bottle is on the table, as in English ; therefore prefering the neuter copula être/be. The Dutch language therefore seems to encourage its speakers to pay attention to the orientation of objects in space, whereas a French or English speaker is not linguistically obliged to do so. This raises the question of linguistic relativity : are these linguistic differences reflected in non-verbal thinking ? Will a Dutch speaker always pay as much visual and cognitive attention to the orientation of the object if they are not in the process of verbalisation ? Using eye-tracking data, i.e. analysis of eye movements, reaction times in the context of memorisation and recognition, and descriptions of images with or without interaction, I analyse intra- and inter-linguistic differences as well as the cognitive processes involved in verbal and non-verbal tasks. Through two verbal experiments and one non-verbal experiment carried out on French, English and Dutch participants (N=187), these issues are examined and our hypotheses tested.

Diachronic corpus linguistics : the study of the grammaticalisation of positional verbs in English.

This research project, which I carried out during my MA in English linguistics, focuses on the evolution of the use of the positional verbs SIT, STAND and LIE in English. A summary article has been published here. This article, based on my dissertation work, offers a diachronic corpus analysis that adopts a constructional approach over the period 1510-1920 for positional verbs in English. Unlike their equivalents in other Germanic languages, English positional verbs have not evolved into locative markers, as is the case in Dutch in particular (De fles staat op de tafel, lit. the bottle is standing on the table), or into markers of progressive and/or habitual aspect, or even into copulas. We argue that positional verbs in English have not undergone full grammaticalisation. Instead, they have failed or missed their grammaticalisation. In fact, a study of their use in earlier phases of English reveals that these verbs were indeed used as they are today in Dutch. Our study tested Newman’s (2009) hypothesis according to which the grammaticalisation of positional verbs in English was interrupted because the same verbs sit, stand and lie began to be used to refer to both the static meaning (sit, lie, stand) and the dynamic meaning (stand up, sit down, lie down) whereas in Dutch, for example, there are two separate verbs for these two distinct meanings. Usually, the particle up or down is added to the verb (sit down, stand up, lie down). However, our study shows that this use of the particle is not systematic and that there are occurrences with a static meaning in the presence of a particle or, conversely, a dynamic meaning in the absence of the particle. The hypothesis, as you will read in the article, can only be partially confirmed. However, the article offers many other perspectives on this oddity of English. Among other things, we also show the extent to which this failed grammaticalisation was in fact at an advanced stage when one considers copula-like constructions, some of which remain in idiomatic constructions. We refer to these as ’grammaticalized islands’.

Gender stereotypes in language : construction or reflection ?

Various sociological studies have confirmed the existence of significant disparities in gender representation in (higher) education, with women often remaining under-represented in STEM subjects but over-represented in the humanities. Leslie et al (2015) show, however, that this is only true for certain areas of STEM disciplines or the humanities. They suggest that this is due to the "’field-specific ability belief’ that women do not have the innate talent for some of the disciplines under consideration". At the same time, studies show that women tend to have higher academic grades than men (Voyer and Voyer 2014), which may be explained by the fact that they demonstrate a greater sense of self-discipline and are more studious. The present corpus-based study aims to assess the linguistic reflections of these stereotypes (in British English) via the systematic analysis of adjectives referring to either intelligence or studiousness in corpora from two different time periods in order to detect possible (linguistic) evolutions. Our results show that, on the whole, men are perceived as possessing both innate talent and studiousness.

Other areas of interest and research :

  • Language learning & teaching
  • Modal auxiliaries (Participation in the REM project)


Professional experience

  • Sept. 2021-Sept. 2023 : Teaching and Research Assistant (ATER), University of Lille, France.
  • Sept. 2018-Sept. 2021 PhD student under contract with teaching load, University of Lille, France.
  • Jan. - Dec. 2017 : French language assistant, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Sept. 2016 - Dec. 2018 : Temporary teaching assistant, University of Lille and Secondary School English teacher
  • May 2016 : Secondary school English teacher.

Academic background

  • 2022 : PhD, English Linguistics, EDSHS, University of Lille, France.
  • 2016 : MA (research), English Linguistics & Didactics, University of Lille, France.
  • 2014 : BA, English studies, University of Lille, France.


In international peer-reviewed journals

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. Exploring the conceptualisation of locative events in French, English and Dutch : Insights from eye-tracking on two recognition tasks. 2022 YEARBOOK of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association/Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft fu ?r Kognitive Linguistik. Vol. 10. 121-158.

Cappelle, Bert, Ilse Depraetere and Mégane Lesuisse. 2019. The necessity modals have to, must, need to and should : using n-grams to help identify common and distinct semantic and pragmatic aspects. Pragmatics and Constructions : Constructions & Frames 11-2 : 220-243. hal-02369306

Lesuisse, Mégane and Maarten Lemmens. Submitted. Looking differently at locative events : the cognitive impact of linguistic preferences. In : E. Soroli & J. Hohenstein (eds.) Events in language and mind : Theoretical and empirical advances in the event integration theory. Language and Cognition.

Lesuisse, Mégane and Maarten Lemmens. Submitted. Men are (said to be) brilliant, women are not : gender-bias in language use. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.

Lesuisse, Mégane. Submitted. Seeing and Speaking : the modulation of attention on locative events. Cognitextes.

Book chapters
Lesuisse, Mégane and Maarten Lemmens, 2018. Constructions and halfly-missed grammaticalization : A diachronic study of English posture verbs. In : E. Coussé, P. Andersson, J. Olofsson (eds.) Grammaticalization meets Construction Grammar. Constructional Approaches to Language 21 : 43-74.. John Benjamins. ISBN 9789027264169.

Mégane Lesuisse, Benoît Leclercq, Bert Cappelle, Ilse Depraetere and Cyril Grandin. 2023. Coding Guidelines, REM Project. Re-thinking English Modal constructions : from feature-based paradigms to usage-based probabilistic representations. Vers une nouvelle conception des constructions modales en anglais : des paradigmes basés sur les traits distinctifs à la représentation probabiliste basée sur l’usage. ANR 16-CE93-0009


International conferences with peer review

Lesuisse, Mégane & Maarten Lemmes. 2023. The French look and remember differently : the cognitive impact of manner(less) expressions in the description of locative events. Colloque International AFLS 2023 Le français et ses frontières. Université de Lille, France, 7-9 septembre.

Lesuisse, Mégane & Maarten Lemmens. 2023. The vase stands on the table : from language-specific encoding preferences to different conceptualisation patterns in verbal and non-verbal memorisation. 16th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference. HHU Düsseldorf, Allemagne, 7-11 août.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2023. De l’inférence à la verbalisation : l’importance du contexte pour l’encodage de la disposition des objets dans l’espace. 62ème congrès annuel de la Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur (SAES). Rennes, France, 1-3 juin.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. Exploring the conceptualization of locative events in French, English and Dutch : Insights from eye-tracking on two memorization tasks. 9th International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Erfurt, Allemagne, 3-5 mars.

Lesuisse, Mégane & Maarten Lemmens. 2022. Keeping track of manner focus in static locative event descriptions by Dutch speakers. IACS4, Aix-La-Chappelle, Allemagne. 15-18 juin.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. Mind the manner : exploring Dutch, French and English non-verbal conceptualization of static locative events. IV International Conference LANGUAGE, CULTURE and MIND (LCM), Almeria, Espagne, 4-7 juillet 2022. 

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2021. On the use of Cardinal Posture Verbs as locative markers in English : from diachronic motives to conversational needs. The 9th Brno Conference on Linguistics Studies in English : Patterns and variation in English language discourse, 9th BCLSE, 16-17 septembre. Masaryk University, Faculty of Education, Brno, République Tchèque.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2021. POSTER : Conversational needs and the costly expression of manner of location : A case study of static locative events. 41st TABU Dag International Linguistics Conference, Groningen (PB), 10-11 juin.

Lemmens, Maarten, Mégane Lesuisse, and Océane Foubert. 2019. Gender stereotypes, neologisms, and concept-formation. Paper at the Fifteenth International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-15), Kwansei University, Nishinomya, Japon, 6-11 August.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2019. Tracking the cognitive impact of cross-linguistic differences : the case of static locative events in French, English and Dutch. AFLiCo 8. Université de Haute Alsace, Mulhouse, France, 4-6 juin.

Lesuisse, Mégane & Maarten Lemmens. 2015. Constructions and halfly missed-grammaticalization : a diachronic study of English posture verbs. Séminaire Grammaticalisation meets Construction Grammar. Université de Göteborg, Suède, 8-9 octobre.

Conference on invitation
Lemmens, Maarten & Lesuisse Mégane. 2021. A corpus-based study of gender stereotypes in English. Colloque international – Les sciences du langage face à la crise du débat public contemporain. Université de Lille, 17 décembre.

Study days

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. Seeing and Speaking : the modulation of attention on locative events. Journée d’étude Of Time and Space, Université de Lille, Maarten Lemmens. 7 septembre.

Lesuisse, Mégane & Maarten Lemmens. 2021. Stéréotypes et préjugés genrés dans la langue quotidienne. Journée d’étude Stéréotypes et Clichés. Eleonore Le Jalle et Sarah Troche. 18 juin.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2020. Exprimer l’orientation des objets dans l’espace : tâche de description et de correspondance en français, anglais et néerlandais. DoctiLing 7, Laboratoire STL, Université de Lille, 11 septembre.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2018. Représentations Cognitives du Langage Spatial : regards croisés entre L1 et L2. Journée de la diversité dans la recherche. Novembre 2018. Maison de la recherche, Université de Lille.

Lemmens, Maarten & Mégane Lesuisse. 2018. Genre : le parti pris des mots. Penser le genre - Séminaire de recherche, M.Reid et G.Leduc, Université de Lille, 28 Septembre.

Lemmens, Maarten & Mégane Lesuisse. 2017. Men are born brilliant, women are studious : a corpus-based study of gender stereotypes. AFLiCo7, Discours, Cognition et constructions : Implications et Applications. Université de Liège (Belgique) 31 mai - 3 juin, présentée par Maarten Lemmens.

Lemmens, Maarten & Mégane Lesuisse. 2017. La langue : construction ou réflet du genre ? Questions théoriques et études de cas. Penser le genre - Séminaire de recherche, M.Reid et G.Leduc. Université de Lille, 5 mai.


Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. The conceptualisation of locative events in French, English, and Dutch in verbal and non-verbal tasks : From the research questions to the experimental paradigm. Séminaire M2 Linguistique de l’anglais, invitée par Maarten Lemmens. Université de Lille, 8 novembre.

Anasatasio, Simona & Lesuisse Mégane. 2022. Evénements de mouvement en français, italien, anglais et néerlandais : perspectives translinguistiques / intra-typologiques. Séminaire des Linguistes STL, organisé par Bert Cappelle & Giuditta Caliendo. 29 avril.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2022. The cognitive impact of inter- and intra-linguistic preferences for the encoding of static locative events in French, English, and Dutch. Dynamique du Langage, Lyon. Sur invitation de Dr. Maia Ponsonnet et Pr. Anetta Kopecka. 7 juin.

Lemmens, Maarten & Lesuisse, Mégane. 2021. Genderobalans i engelskan och svenskan. NORKOG Sommerseminar Tromsø Universitet, Norge. 11 juin.

Lesuisse, Mégane 2020. Orientation expression for Static Motion Event : towards proven linguistic relativity ? Séminaire M2 Linguistique de l’anglais, invitée par Maarten Lemmens. Université de Lille, 10 décembre.

Lesuisse, Mégane 2020. Linguistic relativity for Static Motion Events : How to explore spatial thinking ? Séminaire M2 Linguistique de l’anglais, invitée par Maarten Lemmens. Université de Lille, 8 mars.

Depraetere, Ilse, Bert, Cappelle, Cyril, Grandin, Mégane, Lesuisse, Benoît Leclercq. 2019. Présentation du projet Re-thinking English Modal constructions (REM) : Défis d’annotation de données de corpus et d’analyse multifactorielle. Séminaire « tendances en linguistiques » du Laboratoire Savoirs, Textes, Langage. 11 octobre.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2019. Linguistic Relativity & Spatial Thinking. Séminaire M2 Linguistique de l’anglais, invitée par Maarten Lemmens. Université de Lille, 1er avril.

Research Promotion

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2021. Positiewerkwoorden in het Nederlands : waar staan wij ? Séminaire de Néerlandais, Marta Bigus, Université de Lille, France, 18 mars.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2019. Session de débriefing : expériences psycholinguistiques, projet ReCoLanS. Université de Lille, 20 novembre.

Lesuisse, Mégane. 2019. Présentation du projet de recherche ReCoLanS : parler une langue différente, est-ce penser différemment ? Association Chéreng Jumelage, 16 mars 2019.

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Address :


Département d’Études des Pays Anglophones, Bâtiment B

UFR Langues et Cultures Etrangères (LLCE-LEA)

2, rue de la Liberté

93526 Saint-Denis Cedex, France