Language and speech research

Some information about my scholarly research on language and speech I conducted in the past years. For more details, see the publications page and download some of my papers.


Lexical modelling of foreign accents

A research project from 2000 to 2004. You can find an English summary of the general aims of this project here. Less technically written, there is also a newspaper article (in German) on the foreign accent research project, written by Mirko Hackmann for WAZ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung).

CrossTowns: European city names and their pronunciation by non-native speakers

How would you pronounce "Castelbentivoglio", "Enkhuizen" or "Brive-la-Gaillarde" if you do not speak Italian, Dutch or French? Try for yourself. This is a sub-project of the foreign accent studies dealing specifically with pronunciation variants and errors in foreign city names. Since it is usually not learned in foreign language lessons or from books, their pronunciation by non-native speakers is particularly interesting from a linguistic point of view (English summary).

Measuring phonetic distance of transcriptions

How similar are two phonetically transcribed words in terms of their pronunciation? For instance, do the words temper and timber sound more different from another than temper and member? Why? How can we measure and compute the phonetic similarity of a pair of words? In this project, a phonetic distance metric was applied to measure the similarity of phonetically transcribed words. It was part of the foreign accents project. No online abstract, please download pdf paper instead.

Was ist der "Sprachinstinkt"? (The Language Instinct Debate)

My contribution to the renewed debate about language as an inborn human faculty. Published as a book (in German) in 2003. You can find a German summary here.


Updated on  October 2nd, 2018