Research Interests

Main Areas of Research

  • Synchronic and diachronic syntax
  • Syntactic theory
  • Comparative Syntax
  • Synchronic and diachronic morphology
  • Morphological theory
  • Language contact
  • Language change
  • Lexical Semantics
  • Corpus linguistics

... in English (and contrastively in other Germanic languages like German)


Current Research Projects

DFG project "Borrowing of verb argument structure from Old French into Middle English"
This project investigates grammatical change in the medieval language contact situation between English and French which arose after the Norman Conquest (1066 until ca 1500). The domain of research consists of structural borrowing phenomena and their connection with the lexicon: massive borrowing of lexical items with a predicate-argument structure is hypothesised to have favoured and produced grammatical changes. Therefore, the phenomenon in focus is the borrowing into medieval English of French verbs and the question of how their argument structure has influenced its grammar. By taking into account lexical-semantic theories, findings about language acquisition and the sociolinguistic background, the project will provide new insights into the process of structural borrowing, and into how to distinguish internal from contact-induced language change.
Duration: 3 years, start of project: 1,April,2015 

Cooperation partner (principal investigator): Achim Stein, Professor für romanische Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Stuttgart 

Mercator Fellow: Richard Ingham, City University Birmingham, UK
link to the project: https://sites.google.com/site/dfgbasics/home

Partially funded by the DFG and NSF "Phrasal compounds from a typological and theoretical perspective"
The project investigates phrasal compounds and concentrates on the following two aspects: 1) the description of phrasal compounds in typologically diverse languages; 2) the theoretical modelling of phrasal compounds. Since few authors have dealt with this phenomenon the co-operation with Jaklin Kornfilt (University of Syracuse) aims at providing new insights concerning these two aspects. In a number of workshops some existing studies of phrasal compounds in Germanic (German, English) and Romance (Italian, French) languages as well as in Turkish/Turkic and Japanese will be discussed and further work on typologically diverse languages (e.g. additional Turkic languages and other Altaic languages, such as Mongolian, a group of languages currently being investigated at the universities of Stuttgart and Munich) will be catalysed. Further, the theoretical discussion of various morphological and syntactic models which analyze the phenomenon of phrasal compounds in different ways will be fostered. Such a discussion will offer new insights into the explanatory adequacy of such diverse theoretical models. The long-term outcomes of this work have broad implications for a number of fields, including the preservation of endangered languages given the status as endangered of a number of Turkic languages in particular. 

Cooperation partner: Jaklin Kornfilt, Syracuse University, USA.
The first part of the project was financed by the DFG and NSF in 2013 (1-month stay of partner in Germany + workshop).

Programme of the workshop 2013: Phrasal compounds from a typological and theoretical perspective (Part I)

Programme of the workshop 2015: Phrasal compounds from a typological and theoretical perspective (Part II)



I have been working with synchronic and historical corpora of English and other languages. Researchers of the department and students attending my classes have access to a number of these corpora. Klick here to gain access. For further information on corpus linguistics and Digital Humanities go to Method

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