ZAS is dedicated to the description and explanation of the structure of natural language and the breadth of its variation. Within our projects, research is conducted by experts from all major areas of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, as well as creole studies and child language acquisition. Worthy of special mention is the phonetics laboratory in which diverse studies investigating the physiology of language production are conducted in collaboration with Berlin's leading medical institute, the Charité.
Such a concentration of active research in all sub-disciplines of linguistics within one single research centre is unique in Germany, and permits lively exchange on current research findings and methods. Over and above this, ZAS regularly invites researchers from abroad for collaboration with the local researchers; moreover, ZAS hosts many workshops and international conferences.
In addition to experimental studies in the area of physiology and cognitive science, we also carry out fieldwork for the collection of new linguistic data, predominantly in the South African and Pacific regions. Advancements in the theoretical understanding of natural language is also a significant feature of our work. On the basis of specialised studies into selected aspects of the Grammar, taking exemplification from a considerable range of individual natural languages, we can thereby contribute to a deeper and fine-grained understanding of the nature of grammatical structures, their articulation and perception, the linguistic encoding of content, principles conditioning optimal communication, and the ways in which all these may interact within a language system.