Winter
2013/14

Introduction to Linguistics (I): Morphosyntax
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW01)

This course introduces first-year students to the discipline of modern linguistics, and specifically sets out to discover some foundational principles that underlie the structural organization of human languages (or what is commonly called ‘grammar’). We will take a closer look at the ‘building blocks’ of language, at the internal structure of words and larger units (phrases, clauses, sentences) and at the ways in which grammatical forms serve specific communicative functions. At the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the role that grammar plays in language and will have acquired some methodological tools for describing and representing the structure of English words and sentences.


Summer
2013

Second Language Acquisition
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW08)

In this term, the module 'Language Acquisition' will be concerned with the processes of acquiring a language in addition to one’s native tongue. Those processes, while being extremely diverse, are collectively referred to as second language acquisition (SLA). The course aims to provide an overview of SLA research from the perspective of linguistics, i.e. it will deal with linguistic and psycholinguistic questions relating to second language acquisition. Even though SLA research tells us important lessons about how languages are learned and which sort of instruction is potentially conducive, it is not a didactic field itself. For future teachers, therefore, the course intends to provide the linguistic underpinning, or background, against which certain methodological and didactic decisions are to be made later on in their careers. For both B.A. and JM students, the course also offers an opportunity to become familiar with principles and methods of linguistic research, as we will be practising how to find, read and evaluate original research on the topic.


Winter
2012/13

The Linguistic Profile of Present-Day English
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW07)

As a linguist, language teacher, translator or any other person dealing with English on a professional basis, it is vital to have an idea of the central and peculiar characteristics of the English language, especially when compared against closely related languages like German or a wider cross-linguistic background. The seminar is devoted to precisely this issue, trying to develop a ‘bird’s-eye’ linguistic profile of Present-Day English in all major dimensions. On the basis of a classic reading on the topic (cf. below), we will directly elaborate on the core areas from your introductory classes (phonology and spelling, morphology and the lexicon, grammatical categories, etc.), but shift the focus to asking why Present-Day English has come to be the way it is. Therefore, our exploration will constantly need to make reference to important historical developments having affected the sounds, the word stock and the grammar of English over the last centuries.


Introduction to Linguistics (I): Morphosyntax
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW01)

This course introduces first-year students to the discipline of modern linguistics, and specifically sets out to discover some foundational principles that underlie the structural organization of human languages (or what is commonly called ‘grammar’). We will take a closer look at the ‘building blocks’ of language, at the internal structure of words and larger units (phrases, clauses, sentences) and at the ways in which grammatical forms serve specific communicative functions. At the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the role that grammar plays in language and will have acquired some methodological tools for describing and representing the structure of English words and sentences.


Winter
2011/12

Language Acquisition
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW08)

After having successfully completed their introductory classes in linguistics, students are now ready to become familiar with actual linguistic research, i.e. what a linguistic research question looks like, by which methods and procedures it is tackled, and how it is presented in a professional academic format. In this seminar, we will probe into these issues in the field of language acquisition research. Conceptually, we will focus on important developmental milestones and typical phenomena of first language acquisition, on key differences between first and second language learning, and on hotly debated questions surrounding the very nature of language learning (‘Are children better language learners than adults?’ ‘Is there a critical time window for the acquisition process?’ ‘Do children work out their native language by means of innate linguistic knowledge?’). Methodologically, these questions will require us to look into an array of different methods for studying learner language, from observational methods such as corpus-based analyses to experimental and behavioural techniques and their statistical evaluation. Accordingly, the central goals of the course are (i) to provide a first insight into processes of language acquisition; (ii) to enable students to read academic literature on language acquisition from a variety of publication types; and (iii) to develop the skills to write a (first) term paper in linguistics.


Introduction to Linguistics (I): Morphosyntax
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW01)

This course introduces first-year students to the discipline of modern linguistics, and specifically sets out to discover some foundational principles that underlie the structural organization of human languages (or what is commonly called ‘grammar’). We will take a closer look at the ‘building blocks’ of language, at the internal structure of words and larger units (phrases, clauses, sentences) and at the ways in which grammatical forms serve specific communicative functions. At the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the role that grammar plays in language and will have acquired some methodological tools for describing and representing the structure of English words and sentences.


Winter
2010/11

Introduction to Linguistics (I): Morphosyntax
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW01)

This course introduces first-year students to the discipline of modern linguistics, and specifically sets out to discover some foundational principles that underlie the structural organization of human languages (or what is commonly called ‘grammar’). We will take a closer look at the ‘building blocks’ of language, at the internal structure of words and larger units (phrases, clauses, sentences) and at the ways in which grammatical forms serve specific communicative functions. At the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the role that grammar plays in language and will have acquired some methodological tools for describing and representing the structure of English words and sentences.


Winter
2009/10

Second Language Acquisition
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW08)

This course will provide a systematic introduction to the scientific study of second language (= L2) acquisition. Proceeding from an outline of the major research interests and some fundamental principles of language acquisition, we will focus on selected factors determining the ‘route and rate’ of L2 learning. Thus we will discuss in detail the extent to which one’s native language fosters or interferes with the construction of L2 knowledge, the influence of individual factors such as age and motivation, and the question of what it is that makes L2 or ‘interlanguage’ output fluent and idiomatic. The course concludes by considering the implications of L2 acquisition research for our understanding of human language and for a linguistically-informed teaching of second languages in the classroom. However, at all stages of our investigation, linguistic (and NOT didactic!) questions will be our primary concern, and due attention will be paid to familiarising you with principles and practices of linguistic research. You will get some hands-on training in analysing learner language (both L1 and L2) and in writing up well-designed assignments and a short paper.


Summer
2008

Statistics for Linguists
(PhD seminar; Holger Diessel, Daniel Wiechmann, Stefan Fuhs, Karsten Schmidtke, Katja Hetterle)

This seminar is concerned with advanced statistical methods for analyzing linguistic data. The focus will be on multivariate statistical models for the analysis of categorical data (e.g. configurational frequency analysis, logistic regression, discriminant analysis), but will also consider some other statistical models (e.g. ANOVA).





Multidimensional scaling
(Schmidtke and Hetterle, July 4 and July 11, 2008)

Spring
2008

Converging Evidence: Linguistic Typology and Corpus Linguistics
(co-taught with Holger Diessel at the Leipzig Spring School on Linguistic Diversity 2008)

In recent years, the rigid theoretical divide between language competence and performance has met with considerable criticism, culminating in the ‘Performance-Grammar-Correspondence-Hypothesis’ (e.g. Hawkins 2004). On this view, the grammatical conventions of a language are recast as ‘frozen’ preferences and patterns in language use, and a systematic correspondence is drawn between performance data and cross-linguistic constraints on grammatical variation. In this course, we will outline the theoretical foundations of this usage-based approach to grammatical variation, and demonstrate how performance data drawn from electronic corpora and texts can be related to typological generalisations of grammatical structure. Among the phenomena to be looked at will be various types of complex sentence constructions as well as selected issues pertaining to transitivity (argument structure, voice, tense-aspect).


Winter
2007/08

Language Variation and Change
(Seminar, BA.AA.SW05, LA.AA.SW04)

This seminar is concerned with one of the most fundamental properties of human languages, their variability. In the course of the semester, we will aim at developing a systematic way of describing and explaining variation in the English language. We will consider variation within and across speech communities, as well as variation in time, i.e. the emergence and change of linguistic systems within both a linguistic community and a single speaker. Students will gain a basic understanding of how languages develop, how language variation, change and acquisition are related to one another, how 'irregular' or particularly intriguing grammatical phenomena of present-day English can be explained in historical terms, and how traditionally distinct branches of linguistics, Bruegelsuch as sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and typology, can mutually inform each other. The seminar will thus provide an opportunity to look into various fields of linguistic research, to become familiar with a wide range of linguistic phenomena and research methods, and, ultimately, to pick an interesting topic for your first term paper in linguistics.


Summer
2006

Tense and Aspect
(Proseminar, co-taught with Stefan Fuhs)

Tense and aspect are the most important grammatical categories for expressing time and temporal relations in English. At the same time, their intricate semantics make them one of the most involved and notoriously difficult areas of English grammar. Proceeding from these observations, the objectives of this seminar are two-fold: first, the course aims at developing a sound understanding of the phenomena of tense and aspect by systematically covering the relevant forms and their meanings (including discourse-pragmatic functions); secondly, it will introduce students to the methodological procedures of grammatical description and analysis, enabling them to write their own research paper at the end of the term.


Spring
2005

German 101
(Internship, German Department, University of California at Berkeley)


Spring
2003

English advanced courses
(Voluntary internship, Albert-Schweitzer-Gymnasium Ruhla)