Short Description

About the SFB 632

Information structure: the linguistic means for structuring utterances, sentences and texts

The Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich / SFB 632) Information Structure: The Linguistic Means of Structuring Utterances, Sentences and Texts, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), brings together scientists from the University of Potsdam, the Humboldt-University of Berlin, and the Free University of Berlin who are engaged in the study of language.

Altogether 19 projects grouping 53 researchers are involved in this joint enterprise. Their common scientific goals are the formulation of integrative models of information structure, the in-depth study of information structure in the various disciplines of linguistics, the better understanding of the embedding of the principles of information structure in human cognition in the areas of language processing and acquisition, as well as practical applications for their findings.

We define information structure as the structuring of linguistic information, typically in order to optimize information transfer within discourse. The underlying idea is that the same information needs to be prepared or "packaged" in different ways depending on the background and the goal of the discourse. Three aspects are of particular theoretical interest: first, the interaction of the relevant formal levels (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, the choice of lexical means, and the composition of texts); second, the general cognitive processing of information structure; and third, a crosslinguistic typology of information structural devices.

The Collaborative Research Center 632 was founded on July 1, 2003 und ends on June 30, 2015.


Prof. Dr. Malte Zimmermann, Universität Potsdam  contact

Vice Director

Prof. Dr. Heike Wiese, Universität Potsdam  contact

Founding Director (July 2003 - October 2009)

Prof. Dr. Caroline Féry, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  world



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