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German Linguistics

Research

The professorships and research groups of the Institute of German Linguistics (Institut für Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft, IGS) cover a wide range of the field. They specifically focus on the theory of language and on psycholinguistics, on language history, linguistic typology, text and pragmatics, German as a foreign language, clinical linguistics, neurolinguistics, phonetics and speech science. The IGS is excellently represented in key research areas that are intensively discussed internationally at present. The joint research programme “Theorie und Empirie der Sprachdynamik und Sprachkognition” (theory and empiricism of language dynamics and language cognition) reflects common research interests of the IGS and of the Research Center Deutscher Sprachatlas (Forschungszentrum Deutscher Sprachatlas, DSA).

The research focus of the IGS rests on three pillars, which in turn form a strong network both among themselves but also with other fields within and outside of the faculty. These focuses are:

  • Language variation/language dynamics
  • Communication and pragmatics
  • Language and cognition

 1)      Language variation/language dynamics investigates various aspects of linguistic variation. Regional languages studies analyses the dialects, substandard varieties and regional languages of German. The Language History research group investigates the historical development and diachronic change of the German language. The Linguistic Typology research group is interested in the diversity of the individual languages and their variations. Different languages are collected and compared with the help of computer-aided quantitative methods.

2)      Communication and pragmatics researches the mechanisms of oral and written communication. The research group Text and Pragmatics takes a functional perspective and analyses the purpose for which texts are drafted as well as the linguistic means employed in this process. The guiding theme of the Speech Science research group is the comprehensive approach to phenomena of orality and vocality. One focus here is on rhetorical questions and aesthetic/speech artistic questions, and on whether and how oral communication can be taught. In its research, the German as a Foreign Language research group also deals with questions from communication studies. It covers a broad range of topics from multilingualism, intercultural pragmatics, language teaching research/language didactics and alphabetisation.

3)       The objective of language and cognition is to base linguistic theories and models on solid cognitive scientific and neuroscientific research. Using modern experimental methods, the Neurolinguistics research group analyses the neuronal mechanisms when language is processed and produced. The findings of this research promise new insights into the nature of language and into how the human brain works. Research from cognitive scientific and neuroscientific phonetics complements the department’s neuroscientific orientation. The Clinical Linguistics research group deals with the various manifestations of language disorders. It focusses on describing in detail the symptoms and on the analysis of language processing in children and adults who display speech and language disorders. It is a major application-oriented aim to design, test and evaluate specific and effective diagnostic procedures and intervention methods. Research and clinical practice interlink in the outpatient clinic, KLing.

Work in these three major research areas of the IGS is characterised by the innovative and interdisciplinary application of empirical methods. These include electrophysiological examinations, perception linguistics experiments, language dynamic analyses and clinical studies. New research methods have been developed and tested in recent years. These novel windows of insight provide access to different details of the complex processing of human language and its effects. 

Teaching

In cooperation with the DSA, the IGS offers various degree programmes that cover a broad range of topics in linguistics. The undergraduate degree programmes “German (teacher training course)” (state examination), “BA German Language and Literature” and “BA Language and Communication” are offered in basic education. For many years the degree programmes have had a constantly high number of enrolments and graduates.

After graduating in one of the Bachelor’s degree programmes at Marburg University or in the linguistic Bachelor’s degree programme of another university, students may continue and specialise with a Master’s degree programme. Several research-oriented Master’s degree programmes are available, e.g. MA Linguistics: Cognition and Communication, or the interdisciplinary MSc Cognitive and Integrative System Neurosciences. The IGS also offers Master’s degree programmes that have a strong focus on both research and application and that offer distinct professional perspectives. In German as a Foreign Language, these are the Master’s degree programme German as a Foreign Language and the Master’s degree programme German as a Foreign Language – online, which is a continuing education programme. Another Master’s degree programme is Speech Science, which offers specialisation in both speech science and phonetics. In the Master’s degree programme Clinical Linguistics, students receive training as academic speech and language pathologists and may thus obtain health insurance accreditation as speech therapists.

List of degree programmes:

1)      Teacher training course: German (secondary schools)

2)      BA German Language and Literature

3)      BA Language and Communication

4)      MA Speech Science

5)      MA Cognition and Communication

6)      MA Clinical Linguistics

7)      Inter-faculty MSc Cognitive and Integrative System Neurosciences

8)      MA German as a Foreign Language

9)     Studies in preparation for the additional teacher’s examination: German as a Foreign Language

10)   MA continuing education: German as a Foreign Language – online

11)   Postgraduate training certificate course: Additional Qualification for Teaching Alphabetisation Courses within German as a Foreign Language

In addition, the IGS offers the graduate programme “Speech Training”. It is completed by passing the German Association for Speech Science’s (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprechwissenschaft) extra-mural examinations.

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