Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - German in Multilingual Contexts

Current projects

Research Unit "Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations" (RUEG)

The Research Unit "Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations" (RUEG) is a cluster of projects that collaboratively investigate the linguistic systems and resources of bilingual speakers from families with migration history, "heritage speakers", in their two languages (heritage and majority language) across formal and informal, written and spoken communicative situations. We target different groups of heritage speakers in Germany and the USA, and monolingually raised speakers of the respective majority and heritage languages. An important collaborative output of the group is the multimodal, multi-level RUEG corpus, which provides the central empirical basis for analyses of linguistic patterns in speakers' repertoires. In addition to studies on grammar, pragmatics, and the lexicon, we investigate computational linguistic methods and provide materials and impulses for the educational domain.

Web portal Kiezdeutsch

Kiezdeutsch is a new urban dialect of german. Like other urban dialects (e.g., Berlinish), Kiezdeutsch is characterised by the great linguistic diversity that is typical of cities. Kiezdeutsch has emerged in neighbourhoods where different dialects, linguistic styles, and languages come together, and this diverse linguistic context has made Kiezdeutsch a particularly innovative dialect of German. This information portal on Kiezdeutsch is a project of the Chair of German in Multilingual Contexts (Prof. Dr. Heike Wiese) at the Humboldt University of Berlin, which was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The impact of language ideologies on register distinctions in multilingual contexts (SFB 1412, C07, phase II)

Building on the findings from the first phase, the project seeks to advance models of register knowledge by investigating the role of language-ideologies in different societal contexts. The research focuses on the dynamic interplay between the societal macro context (What monolingual and multilingual ideologies on registers are evident at the macro level of society?), the meso level of speech communities (How do macro-level differences affect multilingual speech communities?) and the micro level of linguistic practices (How do register distinctions pan out in language use?). The project employs discourse-analytic, corpus-linguistic and experimental methods to explore the relationship between language ideologies and register distinctions in Germany, Namibia, Australia and Singapore.

Cooperation with Yale University

The project supports the cooperation of our group with that of Maria M. Piñango, Chair of Psycho- and Neurolinguistics, Yale University, USA. We conduct cooperative studies on the interface of grammar and the conceptual system, contribute to conferences and co-author papers, and organise an exchange of advanced students through lab internships.