Project A6

3rd Phase - A constraint-based analysis of information structure in German, Spanish and French

The current project is a continuation of Project A6 / SFB632 (2009–2011), focusing on new aspects of information structure and covering Romance languages in addition to German. There are three main areas of investigation:

  • Theory and architecture of grammar: Modelling of interfaces between information structure and other components of grammar.)
  • Non-canonical mappings between information structure and grammatical functions: Investigation of thetic/presentational sentences
  • Interaction of frequency/collocational effects with information structure: Focuses on such effects in the context of ditransitive constructions.

Our investigations will be based on naturally occurring data, i.e. corpus studies conducted in parallel for German, Spanish and French. In addition, we are planning to run a self-paced reading experiment in order to test our findings from area #3.

The empirical results will be taken as the basis of modular, multilingual grammar fragments of German, French, and Spanish in the framework of HPSG in which the modelled languages share a common core.

Website of project A6 (3rd Phase)hosted by Humboldt University of Berlin.

2nd Phase - Theory and Implementation of an Analysis of Information-Structure in German with a particular Focus on the Left Periphery

The aim of this project is to develop an analysis of information-structuring in German. In particular, the following phenomena will be considered: Fronting of verb particles and parts of idioms and apparent multiple fronting.

The analysis is to be integrated into an existing Grammar fragment using the framework of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). A hypothesis which we will seek to verify is that no functional projections are required for the analysis of information-structure and that the properties of the affected phrases can be directly represented by feature-value bundles. The analysis will be computationally implemented.

Website of project A6 (2nd Phase) hosted by Humboldt University of Berlin.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller

Former Staff Members

  • Felix Bildhauer
  • Philippa Cook


March 2011 Talk Multiple Fronting vs. VP Fronting in German 4th Conference on Quantitative Investigations in Theoretical Linguistics, HU Berlin.
February 2011 Talk Annotating Information Structure: The Case of 'Topic'. 33. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, Göttingen.
September 2010 Talk Canonical Topics in Noncanonical Constructions. The Sixth International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG-6), Karlsuniversität, Prag.
July 2010 Talk German Multiple Fronting and Expected Topichood. The 17th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, Université Paris VII Diderot.
July 2010 Talk VP fronting vs. multiple fronting in German: Random alternation or information structural bias. International Conference of SFB 632, Universität Potsdam/Griebnitzsee.
July 2010 Talk Multiple XP fronting in Modern German and in Middle Low German . Poster Presentation at the International Conference of SFB 632 together with Svetlana Petrova (Project B4), Universität Potsdam/Griebnitzsee.
July 2010 Talk German Fronting Constructions in Context. Text Structure: Form, Meaning and Processing, Universität Göttingen.
May 2010 Talk Comparing German Fronting Constructions in Context. GGS 2010, Freie Universität Berlin.
February 2010 Talk Multiple Fronting Constructions in German. DGfS 2010, Workshop on Quirky Vorfeld Phenomena, Universität Berlin.
February 2010 Talk Organization of the Workshop "Quirky Vorfeld Phenomena: Empirically Driven approaches to theoretical challenges". DGfS 2010, Humboldt Universität Berlin.
February 2010 Talk Multiple Fronting Constructions in German.. Konstruktionsgrammatik: Neue Perspektiven zur Untersuchung des Deutschen und Englischen, Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel.
February 2010 Talk Canonical Topics and Non-Canonical Constructions. Invited talk, Universität Potsdam.
November 2009 Talk Canonical Topics and Non-Canonical Constructions. 11th internal workshop of SFB 632, Berlin Nikolassee.
October 2009 Talk Licensing German Multiple Fronting in Context. Texas Linguistic Society, Austin, TX.
October 2009 Talk Mehr zum mehrfachen Vorfeld. CoGETI network workshop, Universität Tübingen.
April 2009 Talk Motivating Multiple Frontings in German. Workshop on Grammar Theory and Grammar Implementation, Freie Universität Berlin.