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

Current projects

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

The Research Unit plans to investigate the linguistic systems and linguistic resources of bilingual speakers from families with an immigrant history, 'heritage speakers", in both of their languages across different language pairs, registers, and age groups. As a result of our collaborative research, we expect new insights into the special dynamics of language variation, language change and linguistic repertoires in contact situations and the modelling of noncanonical structures in the grammatical system, and new impulses for the investigation of heritage speakers and of speakers’ resources.

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.

Register perception in a multilingual context of German (SFB 1412, C07)

The research project investigates how formal and informal registers are perceived in the multilingual context of German spoken in Namibia. Through corpus-linguistic and experimental methods we investigate register differentiation (e.g., What new registers of German emerge in multilingual settings?), awareness (e.g., What features do language users pick up in their perception of register distinctions?), and attitudes towards different registers (e.g., What role do different types of features play for sociolinguistic evaluations and associations?).

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.