Projects   Assistants   Grants   Supervised Doctoral Theses

 (see also 'Publications')
1. CELEB (completed in January 2009)
This project is intended to provide a blended learning platform for future and practising language teachers and to supplement my ‘Introduction to English Language Teaching and Learning’.
2. Writing in English: A Guide for Advanced Learners (completed in October 2008)
(Working Title; in cooperation with Lachlan Mackenzie, Mike Hannay and John D. Gallagher)
This project is intended to create a textbook of English writing that takes account of cross-linguistic research into interlingual divergences between English and Germanic languages as well as of typical learner difficulties and errors. The book is divided into four modules: text organisation, sentence building, lexico-grammar and style. It has been published with Narr (Tübingen) in the well-known UTB (Uni-Taschenbücher) series.
3. The Bilexicon Project (completion projected for 2012)
Project 6, which has been almost completed, lays the theoretical groundwork for this project, whose aim is to produce an unabridged English-German learner’s dictionary. Work on the implementation of the dictionary is now well advanced. A first version comprising around 1000 pages will be published online or in book form in the not too distant future.
4. Dictionary of Academia and University Management (Wörterbuch für Wissenschaft und Hochschulmanagement) (completion projected for late 2011)
This is a specialist dictionary which will provide comprehensive coverage of the terminology of university administration.
5. Multi-word discourse markers (open-ended project)


I have published a number of articles and a book-length study on multi-word discourse markers (Discourse Markers across Languages, Routledge 2005). My interest in these vital linking devices continues.  

Click here to read an executive summary of the original full-length thesis I submitted to Wuppertal University in 2003.  


Click here for an overview of the coverage of marker words in current dictionaries (this is the appendix of the original full-length thesis).
6. Monograph on learner lexicography (almost completed; publication at a later date)
The chief aim of this project is to provide a sound theoretical basis for the production of unabridged electronic bilingual onomasiological learners’ dictionaries for German, English, French and, possibly, Spanish. The project draws on two main strands of empirical research: firstly, theoretical and corpus-based investigations designed to identify the most common collocations in the languages under survey. These investigations go beyond earlier research into vocabulary control, which focussed on individual words (West, Palmer, Thorndike). The second strand of research, which involves experiments with sixth-form and university students, is concerned with creating an optimal learning environment; it will try to answer questions such as the following:
  1. What kind of content should the dictionary have to meet the needs of various types of users?
  2. How can this content be categorized by topic or semantic field?
  3. For maximum retention, should collocations be presented as two- or three-word combinations (deny [s.th.] strenuously), in sentence fragments (that is something he would strenuously deny) or in complete sentences?
  4. Should a bilingual onomasiological dictionary contain both definitions and translations? If so, what form should the definitions take to maximize learning?
  5. To what extent can the dictionary be linked with texts from corpora or the Internet to support content-oriented language learning?
  6. How can video, audio and illustrations be incorporated into the dictionary?
7. German learners' and teachers' lexical and listening comprehension skills (in cooperation with Christoph Bürgel)

A pilot study which has been inspired by the DESI study, and which is designed to ascertain the real linguistic competence of French teachers at German grammar schools and tenth grade learners of French. The pilot study will initially be restricted to receptive lexical competence and listening comprehension competence, but the main study will also take account of productive lexical competence as well as writing and speaking skills. We have provisionally restricted the scope of our study because listening comprehension competence, which is closely linked to receptive lexical competence, is an essential prerequisite for self-learners who wish to gain access to the target language culture.

The vocabulary test is based on Hausmann’s chrestolexicographical studies and on test-theoretical considerations inspired by these publications (Hausmann 2002, 2005; Siepmann/Holterhof 2007). The problem is that there are only a few core curricula which still provide precise information about the minimum number of lexical units that have to be learned. According to the core curriculum for Lower Saxony, grade ten learners are supposed to have mastered a vocabulary which is sufficiently sophisticated to enable them to communicate effectively in general and individual situations. In accordance with the Bavarian curriculum we assume that students will have acquired a receptive vocabulary of 2,400 words by the time they have completed the tenth grade (i.e. after learning the target language for five or six years), but we have our doubts about the sophistication of the vocabulary items mastered by the learners. When various kinds of authentic texts are presented in auditory form, students are supposed to be able to understand them as a whole or in detail.

According to the master’s examination regulations of various German universities, graduate language teachers are generally expected to have attained level C1 or C2 of the CEFR. Since learners who have attained Level B2 are supposed to know over 15,000 individual words and expressions (Beacco et al. 2004), and since those who have attained level C1 are supposedly capable of understanding the details of oral texts dealing with abstract or complex subjects outside their area of specialization, we have no misgivings about equating the C1 level vocabulary with the 20,000 items included in Hausmann’s extended vocabulary. It is this vocabulary which constitutes the basis for the test we have devised for French teachers.
8. The lexis of emotion in five European languages (Le lexique des émotions dans cinq langues européennes) (DFG-ANR project, 2010-2012)

The aim of the project is threefold: 

  • The first aim is to deepen and conjoin the “representationist” and “contextualist” approaches to meaning (i.e. “meaning≈concept” versus “meaning≈usage”).
  • The second aim is to harness the relevant theories to practical implementation. In order to achieve this it will be necessary to carry out a contrastive analysis of the semantic values, combinatory (lexematic and syntactic) behaviour and discourse roles of lexemes relating to emotions. It will also be necessary to examine synonymic relationships between the words that are studied, and special attention will have to be given to syntagmata which can be substituted for terms that designate emotions with direct precision. The languages dealt with will be German, French, English, Russian and Spanish. The research findings will provide a better overview of the lexical field of emotions, thereby making it possible to move beyond existing lexicological and lexicographical studies.
  • Finally, the new facts brought to light during the project will be exploited with a view to improving foreign language teaching and the training of professional translators.

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