“Interface” between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics

My main research revolves around the relationship between syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and the structure of the lexicon, which I approach from a contrastive perspective (English/German). The theoretical frameworks I work with are primarily Construction Grammar and Frame Semantics with a strong bias towards corpus-based research methods. …Continue Reading

Computational Lexicography / Design and structure of multilingual lexical databases

My secondary research focus is concerned with implementing FrameNet principles in the design of corpus-based lexical databases for languages other than English. This research interest grew out of my postdoctoral fellowship with FrameNet at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley (funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)) …Continue Reading

Language Variation / Language Contact and Language Death / Documentary Linguistics

In September 2001, I founded the Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP) in order to record, archive, and analyze the remnants of Texas German. This endangered dialect will become extinct within the next 25-30 years. To date, I have interviewed more than 350 speakers of Texas German. …Continue Reading

Multilingualism, language planning, and language policy

Through my work on Texas German I got interested in different aspects surrounding multilingualism, most notably language planning and language policy. My new research project, funded by a Humanities Research Award (College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin) and Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) explores the paradox of a state rich in language resources yet frequently characterized by monolingual thinking and rhetoric. …Continue Reading


In recent work I analyzed the phonological and morphological constraints governing wanna-contraction in English. The Construction Grammar analysis I provide illustrates how morpho-syntactic phenomena interact withphonological and semantic restrictions. …Continue Reading

Language and Law

Based on my training in law and frame semantics I am currently working on discovering the principles that underlie the lexical organization of words in the semantic domain of crime in English and German legal texts. A second project investigates how the legal concept of separation of church and state is expressed in the constitutions of the United States and Germany and how it is interpreted differently in the two countries. …Continue Reading

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