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Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - Corpus Linguistics and Morphology

DGfS-2017-AG Register in Linguistic Theory


Register in Linguistic Theory: Modeling Functional Variation

Workshop as part of the 39. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (Annual Meeting of the German Linguistic Society)

in Saarbrücken, Germany, March 8-10, 2017


Summary, submitted to the DGfS (Mitteilungen) in April 2017


Aria Adli (Universität zu Köln) & Anke Lüdeling (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)


Accepted papers (program)


Felix Bildhauer & Roland Schäfer
Automatic register annotation for linguistic research?

Markus Egg
Register Dependency of Deliberate Metaphor

Jason Grafmiller
Register specificity in the English genitive alternation. Do variable cues reflect different grammars?

Thomas Haider
A functional stylistics for genre and register

Kerstin Kunz, Erich Steiner, Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski, José Martinez, Katrin  Menzel
Patterns of cohesion as dependent variables in a contrastive study of registers in English and German

Roland Meyer & Luka Szusich
Functional style categories vs. bottom-up corpus analysis: Empirical adequacy and usefulness of register ascriptions in contemporary Russian

Stella Neumann & Stefan Evert & Gert De Sutter
Register-specific interference in translation

Ines Rehbein
Register Variation in the Use of DRDs in Argumentative Texts

Tatjana Scheffler
Register variation across social media

Gohar Schnelle & Karin Donhauser
Register variation in OHG: evidence for register-based variation in the recordings of OHG

Johanna Stahnke
Prosodic variation in French: self-repairs in conceptual distance and proximity

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (invited speaker)
The register-specificity of variation grammars

Jürgen Trouvain & Friederike Kern
Prosodic aspects of style and register of live sports commentaries in radio and television

Elisabeth Verhoeven & Nico Lehmann
Recursive embedding and register variation

Richard Waltereit
Assessing the role of intra-speaker variation for language change



Call for Papers


This workshop deals with the variationist modelling of register variation. The term register is used here to describe a variety of a language that is associated with particular functional or situational features, thus describing intra-speaker variation. Beginning with Labov’s (1966) seminal study, a large body of work on social, geographic, or historical variation exists, but register remains an understudied dimension of variation. Yet, its study is necessary to complement the notion of the (invariant) linguistic competence of an idealized speaker/hearer, as speakers clearly vary their behavior qualitatively and quantitatively in different circumstances.

This workshop adopts a variationist approach (Labov 1966) to the study of register. Variation exists on each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, etc.). The essential idea of this method is that an abstract variable (V) can be expressed by different concrete variants (a, b, c, d, ….), e.g. one phoneme can be expressed by different allophones. Based on this methodology, registers can be identified statistically in a bottom-up manner: Their properties are reflected in the intercorrelation matrix with regard to a previously defined set of functionally relevant linguistic variables (Biber 1995).

We welcome contributions that build on qualitative and quantitative analysis of empirical data (corpora, elicitation, experiments, etc.) and that address at least one of the following questions: (a) How do individuals vary their linguistic behavior in different functional settings as speakers, and what kind of variation do they expect as hearers? (b) Which factors influence which aspects of this variation? (c) What do people know, implicitly and explicitly, about how to behave linguistically in a given situation? (d) How is register knowledge acquired? (e) How can register variation be modeled in linguistic theory? (f) How does register variation lead to language change? (g) Are there general principles underlying register variation across languages?


Invited speaker:

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi, Department of Linguistics, KU Leuven


Organizing Committee:

Anke Lüdeling, HU Berlin

Aria Adli, University of Cologne



Authors should submit 1 page abstracts (including references) in a 12 point font (e.g. Times New Roman) to register-dgfs2017@uni-koeln.de. References should be formatted according to the APA guidelines. Talks will be given 30 or 60 minute slots including discussion, depending on the program. Please specify your preferred length in your submission. The workshop language is English for both abstracts and talks. According to DGfS regulations, speakers can only present a paper in one workshop.


Important dates:

- Submission of abstracts: 31.08.2016

- Notification of acceptance:  10.09.2016

- Workshop: 07-10.03.2017