Prof. Dr. Britta Stolterfoht

German Department / Psycholinguistics (W3 Professor)

Contact Details

britta.stolterfohtspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Wilhelmstraße 50

72074 Tübingen

Tel.: +49 7071 297 4273


About Ambiguity

Britta Stolterfoht’s research is concerned with different dimensions of ambiguity in psycholinguistics. She works on the processing of specific syntactic ambiguities, namely subject-object ambiguities with case-ambiguous noun phrases (Stolterfoht & Bader, 2004; Stolterfoht, 2005), semantic and methodic aspects of the processing of scope ambiguities (Bott, Featherston, Radó, & Stolterfoht, 2011) as well as on the role of context for the processing of constructions which allow for different readings (Gese, Stolterfoht, Maienborn, 2009). At present, she investigates the processing of ambiguous adverbials dependent on their sentence position (Stolterfoht, 2012).



After studying Linguistics, Philosophy und Psychology at the Free University Berlin, Britta Stolterfoht was a PhD student at the Max-Planck-Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Leipzig and completed her dissertation at the University of Leipzig in 2004. The topic of her dissertation was the processing of word order variations and ellipses with a focus on syntactic and information-structural aspects of language understanding. After one year as a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Britta Stolterfoht was a researcher in two collaborative research centers (SFBs) from 2006 to 2010 as well as assistant professor at the German Department of the University Tübingen. From October 2010 until September 2016, she has been a junior professor of German Linguistics/Psycholinguistics at the German Department. Since October 2016 she holds a W3 professorship of German Linguistics/Psycholinguistics at the German Department.



One of Britta Stolterfoht‘s core research areas is the investigation of word order variations with arguments and adjuncts in German and English. As principal investigator in project B8 “Position und Interpretation: Syntactic, Semantic and Information-structural Constraints in Processing Adjuncts” of the Collaborative Research Center “The Constitution of Meaning” (SFB 833, http://www.sfb833.uni-tuebingen.de/), she investigates the interplay of position und interpretation during processing adverbials. A second core area is the semantics-pragmatics interface: Britta Stolterfoht is interested in the contextual and conceptual circumstances accompanied by grammatical category conversion as well as the semantically and pragmatically defined flexibility in the interpretation of nominal and verbal modifiers. In collaboration with Cornelia Ebert (University of Stuttgart) und Tania Ionin (University of Illinois), she works on a project, supported by the European Science Foundation, on scope characteristics of indefinites in German, English and Brasilian Portuguese (http://www.euro-xprag.org/activities/third-call-grants/).



Britta Stolterfoht‘s teaching covers a wide range of linguistics, with an emphasis on the foundation of language studies and psycholinguistics. In her teaching activities, she focuses on the insight that linguistic theory and empirical methods have a stimulating effect on both sides. You can find an overview of her current teaching here: http://www.germ.uni-tuebingen.de/abteilungen/linguistik/mitarbeitende/stolterfoht/lehre.html


Further Acitivities

Britta Stolterfoht reviews for foundations (Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation, National Science Foundation), journals (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Language and Cognitive Processes, Language, Language Learning, Lingua, Syntax) and conferences (CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing; AMLaP: Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing; Linguistic Evidence, Verb 2010: Interdisciplinary Workshop on Verbs, Wordplay and Metalinguistic Reflection 2013). She was a member of the programme committee for the German Linguistics Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, DGfS) in 2009 and 2010.


Publication on Ambiguity

  • De Kuthy, Kordula; Britta Stolterfoht (forthcoming). "Focus projection revisited: Pitch accent perception in German." Information Structure and Semantic Processing. Eds. Sam Featherston, Robin Hörnig, Sophie von Wietersheim and Susanne Winkler. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Maienborn, Claudia; Helga Gese; Britta Stolterfoht (2016). "Adverbial modifiers in adjectival passives." Journal of Semantics 33.2: 299-358.
  • Stolterfoht, Britta (2015). "Ambiguity and Sentence Position: An Experimental Case Study on Manner Adverbs". Ambiguity: Language and Communication. Ed. Susanne Winkler. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter. 171-184.
  • Bott, Oliver; Sam Featherston, Janina Radó, Britta Stolterfoht (2011). "Fundamental and Practical Constraints on Experiments in Semantics: An Illustrative Case Study on Quantifier Scope." Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Eds. Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger and Paul Portner. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter.
  • Bott, Oliver; Sam Featherston; Janina Radó; Britta Stolterfoht (2011). "The Application of Experimental Methods in Semantics." Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Vol. 1. Eds. Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger and Paul Portner. Berlin: De Gruyter. 305-321.
  • Stolterfoht, Britta; Helga Gese, Claudia Maienborn (2010). "Word Category Information Causes Processing Costs: Evidence from Adjectival Passives." Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 17.5: 651-656.
  • Gese, Helga; Britta Stolterfoht; Claudia Maienborn (2009). "Context Effects in the Formation of Adjectival Resultatives." The Fruits of Empirical Linguistics, Volume 2: Product. Eds. Susanne Winkler and Sam Featherston. Berlin: De Gruyter. 125-155.
  • Frazier, Lyn; Charles Clifton Jr.; Britta Stolterfoht (2008). "Scale Structure: Processing Minimum Standard and Maximum Standard Scalar Adjectives." Cognition 106: 299-324.
  • Stolterfoht, Britta; Angela D. Friederici, Kai Alter, Anita Steube (2007). "Processing Focus Structure and Implicit Prosody: Differential ERP effects." Cognition 104: 565-590.
  • Stolterfoht, Britta (2005). Processing Word Order Variations and Ellipses: The Interplay of Syntax and Information Structure during Sentence Comprehension. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.
  • Stolterfoht, Britta; Markus Bader (2004). "Focus Structure and the Processing of Word Order Variations in German." Information Structure: Theoretical and Empirical Aspects. Ed. Anita Steube. Berlin: De Gruyter. 259-276.


Further Publications

For a full list of publications, click here.