Bettina Remmele

Proceedings opened: 21 September 2017

Dissertation colloquium: 20 April 2018


Biographical Information

  • 2007: Abitur at the Maria Ward Gymnasium in Augsburg
  • 2008 – 2012: “Bachelor of Arts“ at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen (Major: English and American Studies, Minor: Business Administration)
  • 2010 - 2011: Study Abroad at the University of Missouri, Columbia (USA)
  • 2012 – 2014: “Master of Arts” at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen (English Linguistics)
  • 2011 - 2014: Language Program Assistant and EducationUSA Ambassador at the German-American Institute in Tübingen
  • 2012 - 2014: Research Assistant at Project A7 “Focus Constructions and Freezing”, SFB 833
  • since October 2014: Research Assistant and PhD Student at the Research Training Group 1808: Ambiguity – Production and Perception at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen


Research Interest

  • prosody (explicit vs. implicit; ToBi)
  • prosodic disambiguation
  • syntax
  • elliptical structures/sluicing
  • information structure
  • production studies
  • data analysis



"Prosodic Structure and Ambiguity Resolution of Sluicing Constructions in English"(working title)

I am investigating the prosodic structure of sluicing constructions as illustrated in (1).

(1) He is writing something but you can’t imagine what.

(Ross 1969)

Sluicing is a subtype of ellipsis first introduced by Ross (1969). It describes a structure that contains a wh-expression (wh-remnant, underlined) in sentence final position which gets its meaning from a correlate (italics) in a previous phrase. Sluicing structures can be ambiguous if they contain several indefinite NPs which represent possible antecedents for the wh-remnant, as illustrated in (2). The sentence can either mean “but nobody knows who claimed that the president fired someone” or “but nobody knows who the president fired”.

(2) Somebody claimed that the president fired someone, but nobody knows who.

(Frazier & Clifton, 1998)

Romero (1998) introduced the parallelism constraint which requires that the remnant as well as the correlate of a sluice have to be focused for the sentence to be acceptable. These claims have been expanded to several other types of ellipsis (Winkler 2005, Konietzko & Winkler 2010) and have been tested in perception studies to some extent: Frazier & Clifton (1998) and Carlson et al. (2009) conducted auditory perception studies to investigate the effects of accents on antecedent selection in sluicing with embedded PP and that-clauses. They both found evidence that accented constituents are preferred as antecedents over deaccented constituents. Frazier & Clifton (2005) and Konietzko et al. (submitted) tested sluicing structures with relative clauses in written acceptability judgment studies. Both studies showed that (typographically or contextually) focused constituents are preferred as antecedents and that they improve the acceptability of island violations in such structures, thus supporting the parallelism hypothesis.

As to my knowledge, there have not been any production studies carried out to support the parallelism hypothesis. As a result, I am conducting a series of production studies with different types of sluicing structures to investigate the actual prosodic contours of uninformed participants in controlled experimental settings. If the claims of the parallelism constraint are right, participants should not only accent the wh-remnant but also the constituent that corresponds to the wh-remnant, e.g. someone in example (2) above if the sentence means “who the president fired”. Overall, I will focus on investigating the prosodic contours of sluicing structures in English, as well as the relevance of the resulting information structure on ambiguity resolution of such structures.



  • Summer term 2013
    • Tutorial for the seminar course "English Syntax"
  • Summer term 2014
    • Seminar course "Minimialist Syntax"
  • Winter term 2014/15
    • Seminar course I/II "Minimialist Syntax"



  • „To Strip or Not to Strip: A Production Experiment”, Paper together with Sophia Schopper and Susanne Winkler at the Workshop Fragments, 14.10.2016, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken
  • "Prosodische Disambiguierung von Sluicing“, Paper at the Berichtskolloquium of RTG 1808, 11.07.2017, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • "Prosodic Disambiguation of Linguistic Ambiguities: State of the Art“, Talk at “KonferenzLE”, 12.02.2014, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • "The role of prosody in the ambiguity resolution of complex sluicing”, Talk at “7. STaPs”, 2.-3.10.2015, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • "The Prosody of Sluicing Constructions in English: A Production Experiment”, Talk at „Linguistic Evidence 2016“, 18.-20.02.2016, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • "The Prosody of Sluicing", Poster at „Prosody and Information Structure“, 22.-23.03.2016, Universität Stuttgart



  • Remmele, B., Schopper, S., Winkler, S., & Hörnig, R. (forthcoming 2019). "(Non)Strategic Production Planning and Ambiguity: Experimental Evidence". In M. Bauer (ed.), Strategy and Ambiguity.
  • Remmele, B. (2019). The Prosody of Sluicing: Production Studies on Prosodic Disambiguation (Ph.D. Thesis). TOBIAS-lib, Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen (http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-31149)