Research

I am interested in the grammar of (Modern) German. My theoretical framework has always been a relatively uncontroversial version of Generative Grammar, whereby I envisage linguistic phenomena which are of general interest – independent of the theoretic background. Having studied and speaking several languages, I have always had a typological glance at German, comparing its characteristics to those of other idioms. So, I have worked on word order in German and detecting the similarities of “scrambling” with word order, agreement pattern, case assignment, and intonation in more or less unrelated languages.

Other phenomena I have looked at are clefting, word order effects in the left sentence periphery and apokoinu constructions.

Currently I am working on subordination, especially on the licensing of root phenomena (main clause characteristics) in embedded structures, and accordingly on the triggers for obligatory subordination features in dependent clauses.

My other specialisation is language critique and the grammar and sociolinguistics of substandard German. I have written a book against the bestselling popular language book by Bastian Sick ‘Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod’ with the title ‘Sick of Sick?’. The authorship has made me appear in radio emissions, a tv talk show and at popular science conferences.

I am also a team leader (Germany) and member of the organizing committee of the International Linguistics Olympiad.