Former Research Projects

B5: The syntax and semantics of reorganized language and its neuronal architecture (2009-2013)

Language is generally lateralized to the left hemisphere, however, children with early damage in the left hemisphere are able to reorganize language in the right hemisphere. Little work has been done on the characterization of this 'reorganized language' (RS) at any level of linguistic description. This project aims to investigate and describe reorganized language, making reference to linguistic hypotheses and methods, and thus to contribute towards the study of adaptivity in language. Imaging procedures will be used to localize language function in the brain.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Karen Lidzba, Prof. Dr. Susanne Winkler (Website), Prof. Dr. med. Ingeborg Krägeloh-Mann

Staff: Andreas Konietzko, Nancy Nickisch, Dr. Eleonore Schwilling

C3: Variation and Dynamics of Nominal Determination (2009-2014)

This project is to study the dynamics and range of variation in nominal determiner systems in Romance languages from both syntactic and semantic perspectives. The aim is to describe these systems, taking into account their synchronic variation, especially in the contrast of written and spoken data, but also addressing their historical emergence and development.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Johannes Kabatek

Staff: Albert Wall, Álvaro Sebastián Octavio de Toledo y Huerta

C4: Phenomena of Ambiguity in the Diachrony of Romance Languages: Verbs and Participants /  Phenomena of Ambiguity in Diachrony and in Typological Comparison: Existence and Location (2009-2017)

First phase: This diachronic Romance project addresses ambiguity effects in the relationship between the verb and its subject and object arguments (personal/local deixis, number agreement, argument function). Relevant change processes identified from diachronic corpus data will be subjected to semantic-cognitive and pragmatic analysis. The project will focus on the question how ambiguities come about (speaker-side indirectness, listener-side reanalysis) and what relations exist between the contents C1 and C2 in ambiguous expressions (contiguity, taxonomic subordination, identity).

Second phase: The main aim of our project is to investigate mechanisms of interpretation from a dynamic perspective, focusing on language change and variation. We consider ambiguity at the semantics-pragmatics interface to be a fundamental engine of language variation and change. We will study both micro- and macro-variation, focusing on the domain of existential and locational constructions. The investigation of these constructions in a world-wide representative sample of 30 languages will provide us with reliable data on the limits and possibilities of macro-variation in this domain. Psycholinguistic tests and corpus studies within the Romance language family will inform us about both synchronic and diachronic micro-variation, giving us precise information about the decisive factors that have an impact on fine-grained structures. Based on the results of research in these empirical fields, we will develop a dynamic formal semantics for existential and locational constructions that is both typologically and psycho-linguistically informed.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Peter Koch (2009-2014) - in memoriam, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Jäger (2013-2017), Prof. Dr. Esme Winter-Froemel (2013-2016), Prof. Dr. Sarah Dessì Schmid (2015-2017)

Staff: Markus Ising, Charlotte Coy, Monica Lau, Reinhild Steinberg, Birgit Umbreit, Pritty Patel-Grosz, Natasha Korotkova