Research Topics

Computational historical linguistics (Comphist)

We work on developing methods and tools for analyzing historical language data. More information on the resources and results from several research projects that deal with data from Middle High German (1050–1350 CE) and Early New High German (1350–1650 CE) is provided on our site on Computational Historical Linguistics.

I’m also part of the SFB 1102 in Saarbrücken. Together with Augustin Speyer, I’m PI of project C6: Information Management as a Factor for Syntactic Variation in the History of German. We investigate whether information-related factors have an impact on syntactic variation, and if so, how the impact can be modelled. Specifically, we examine extraposition of nominal and prepositional phrases and relative clauses. We adopt a diachronic perspective, and try to assess the relevance of information-related factors for the diachronic development of extraposition, and to shed light on the role of the discourse mode (oral vs. written) in this development. We create synchronic and diachronic corpora, and analyse them qualitatively and quantitatively.

Generating Corpora

In the context of different projects, we created several corpora, which are all freely available, see the respective websites.

  • Anselm corpus: a parallel corpus of text variants from Early New High German
  • ReM and ReF: Reference corpora of Middle and Early New High German
  • Litkey corpus: a longitudinal corpus of picture story descriptions produced by German primary school children
  • NoSta-D corpus: a (small) corpus of German non-standard varities

Funded Projects

Past Funded Projects

Further Projects

  • Annotation and analysis of abstract anaphora
    • Cooperation with Heike Zinsmeister and Varada Kolhatkar
    • In this project, we investigate the use of abstract anaphora in German (and English). Abstract anaphors (e.g. this, that) are used to refer to abstract objects such as events or facts: Each fall, penguins migrate to Fiji. That’s why I’m going there next month (example from Byron 2002). In this example, an event (the penguins’ migration) is the abstract antecedent.