Research training group GRK DFG 1624/1 "Frequency effects in language"


Frequency as a determinant in usage-based models of language change, language processing and language acquisition

The research training group (RTG, 'DFG-Graduiertenkolleg') aims to carry out empirically rich and methodologically co-ordinated research on frequency effects in language, with an empirical focus on standard and non-standard varieties of European languages. Frequency is defined in terms of number of occurrences of a given linguistic structure in a particular linguistic system or sub-system (as approximated by a suitable corpus). Frequency is assumed to be a possible determinant in usage-based models of language change, language acquisition and language processing. While the default assumption is that there is a non-trivial relation between frequency of occurrence thus defined and mental and structural representation, the frequency factor will be investigated with a view both to its explanatory potential and to its limitations. In its integration of descriptive-linguistic and cognitivist approaches and its broad empirical corpus base, the envisaged research is without parallel, both on the national and international levels, and opens up a new, constructively critical approach to usage-based modelling in linguistics. The two-pronged approach – extending the breadth of empirical coverage, while at the same time increasing the sophistication of the theoretical models – is a timely one that has great innovative potential.

UPCOMING EVENTS: June 23-24, workshop “Grammar and grammaticalization in interaction: Concessive constructions in Spanish and other (Romance) languages”; July 1, training seminar “Writing and publishing academic papers” with Martin Hilpert (Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland).

NEWS: Stephanie Horch has defended her dissertation; Katja Roller has successfully passed her doctoral exam; Annette Fahrner has submitted their doctoral dissertations to the faculty for evaluation.

NEWS ALUMNI: Malte Rosemayer has a received three-year grant from the FWO (Research Foundation – Flanders) for a postdoctoral project on the development of interrogatives in Spanish and Portuguese. Anne Krause has started a position at the Department of English Studies at the University of Leipzig. RTG-alumnus Florent Pérek will start a position as Lecturer in Cognitive Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. Evghenia Goltsev has started a position as researcher at the Mercator Institute at the University of Cologne.