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  • CRC1646: Linguistic Creativity in Communication

    Campus der Universität Bielefeld
    © Universität Bielefeld

Area A: Linguistic creativity and the sign: productivity, variability, originality

A01: Creativity in (morpho)syntactic variation: The role of analogy

PIs: Dr. András Bárány/ Prof. Dr. Jutta M. Hartmann

A01 investigates the role of analogy in the formation of novel, creative morphological forms and syntactic structures both within and across languages. In particular, the project hypothesises that the existence of a grammatical structure can lead to novel, structurally similar expressions which are well-formed in a specific context, even though they are not accepted as grammatical by the speech community. We investigate this hypothesis experimentally for long-distance agreement in Hungarian, as well as embedded clauses in German and other languages.

Open Positions:

  • Profile PhD position 1 (65%): The ideal candidate has a master in linguistics or a related field with a focus on (morpho-)syntax, ideally with a background in Hungarian.
  • Profile PhD position 2 (65%): The ideal candidate has a master in linguistics or a related field with a focus on (morpho-)syntax, ideally with a background in Germanic languages.

Details project A01 including open positions (.pdf)

 


A02: Creating novel phonetic representations across varying communication settings

PIs: Prof. Dr. Joana Cholin/ Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner/ Prof. Dr. Sina Zarrieß

In speech, deviations from canonical realisations of phonemes, syllables or larger units are very common. A02 aims to understand the creative flexibility of the processes involved in such productions via experimental production studies and psycholinguistic and computational modelling. We will investigate whether and how creatively constructed phonetic forms can be selectively elicited and modelled in different interactive and linguistic contexts, testing hypotheses of the dual-route account of phonetic encoding. The project also rests on the hypothesis that the planning of smooth speech output can only be achieved through close interaction between abstract linguistic and concrete motor planning.

Open Positions:

  • PhD position 1 (65%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a master in linguistics or a related field, with a background in experimental psycholinguistics and interest in computational modeling.
  • PostDoc position 2 (100%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a PhD in linguistics with a focus on phonetics or speech processing. The ideal candidate has experience in running phonetic experiments as well as a background in statistical/computational/psycholinguistic modeling.

Details project A02 including open positions (.pdf)

 


A03: The creative listener: Interpretation at the interface of prosody, syntax and information structure

PIs: Prof. Dr. Jutta Hartmann/ Dr. Farhat Jabeen/ Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner

A03 is concerned with the creative interpretation of utterances where the information structure and/or prosody of an utterance do not match a given context. The main question is how and under what circumstances such mismatches are taken to be meaningful, such that they give rise to creative enrichment of meaning by the listeners based on formal markings of focus (prosodic or syntactic). A03 concentrates on creative meaning adjustments and inferences based on implicit focus alternatives. We investigate four languages (German, English, Hungarian, Urdu), which differ in their formal markings of focus providing a cross-linguistic perspective on creative meaning enrichment.

Open Positions:

  • 2 PhD position (65%) Profile: The ideal candidates have a master in linguistics (or a related field) with a focus on phonetics/phonology, syntax or information structure.  Linguistic knowledge of Urdu or Hungarian is highly desirable.

Details project A03 including open positions (.pdf)

 


A04: Empirical profiles of grammatical creativity

PIs: Dr. Jana Häussler/ Prof. Dr. Ralf Vogel

A04 examines grammatical creativity, where speakers exploit their linguistic competence to create a new or modified grammatical unit that (i) fills a grammatical gap, (ii) resolves a grammatical conflict, (iii) expands the domain of use of a conventionalised construction or (iv) serves a specific communicative purpose. We will collect measures such as frequency, acceptability and reading times to investigate whether these classes of grammatical creativity have their own empirical characteristics, distinguishing them from each other and as a group from marked constructions. We will explore properties and the extent of the range of creative options in the domain of morphosyntax.

Open Positions:

  • PhD position 1 (65%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a master in linguistics or a related field, an interest in (German) morphosyntax, and some experience with experimental linguistics or corpus linguistics, demonstrated for instance by an empirical master thesis or prior work as research assistant.
  • PhD position 2 (65%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a master in linguistics or a related field and an interest in (German) morphosyntax. Ideally, they have some experience with experimental linguistics or corpus linguistics, demonstrated for instance by an empirical master thesis or prior work as research assistant.

Details project A04 including open positions (.pdf)

 


A05: Contextualised metrics of linguistic creativity in literary and non-literary text

PIs: Prof. Dr. Berenike Herrmann/ Prof. Dr. Sina Zarrieß

In this interdisciplinary project falling between linguistics and literary studies, we will investigate the extent to which linguistic creativity can be measured across literary and non-literary genres with quantitative, corpus-based methods. We ask how the originality and success of linguistic signs vary depending on textual cues and are mediated by a spectrum of popular and artistic genre contexts such as travel blogs, popular fiction and literary novels. Focusing on the ubiquitous thematic domain of descriptions of spatial entities across all genres, we aim to develop data-driven metrics and models that automatically identify creative signs at sentence, paragraph and text level.

Open Positions:

  • PhD position 1 (65%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a master in German philology, literary studies, digital humanities or a related field, with some experience in either stylistics, rhetoric, and structuralist approaches to reading or in computational text analysis, stylometry and corpus-based literary studies. A (near) native speaker command of German is a pre-requisite as well as a strong interest in formal and computational approaches to literary language and discourse.
  • PhD position 2 (100%) Profile: The ideal candidate has a master in Computational Linguistics or a related field, some practical experience in working with language models and machine learning in NLP and a strong interest in linguistically motivated approaches to computational language modeling.

Details project A05 including open positions (.pdf)

 


A06: Rise and restriction of creative language use. Unsuccessful creativity in German and Romance

PIs: Prof. Dr. Tanja Ackermann/ Prof. Dr. Barbara Job/ Dr. Said Sahel

A06 takes a cross-linguistic perspective to study the success and failure of creative language use on the collective level, focusing on Romance and German periphrastic verbal constructions propagated within a limited period and restricted to certain discursive and/or social contexts. We aim to thoroughly analyse the forms, the direct co-text (co-occurrence) and the wider context (genres and socio-pragmatic conditions) of these constructions to identify the mechanisms that underlie linguistic invention and the failure of creative language use in language change. Our methodology combines quantitative and qualitative corpus analyses using existing historical corpora of German and Romance.


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