I am a linguist who primarily works in the areas phonetics, phonology, morphology, and psycholinguistics. Some of my current projects are:

 

Acoustic detail and its role in the language system

Homophonous, polysemous, and syncretic words or forms, i.e., words or forms with the same phonological structure (e.g., time and thyme), are typically assumed to be pronounced in exactly the same way. Research has shown, however, that specific variables such as frequency or morphological status can affect the acoustics of words and forms. For instance, words of high frequency (e.g., time) are systematically shorter in duration in comparison to words of low frequency that share the same phonological form (e.g., thyme). Together with colleagues (Holden Härtl, Greville G. Corbett, Philippe de Brabanter, Melina Heinrichs, and Marcel Linnenkohl) I have been conducting several experiments in order to expand this line of research.

 

Quotation (marks) from a psycholinguistic and crosslinguistic perspective

Quotation marks are a common tool to signal that a word or sentence is used in a special way. They can, for example, indicate that a word has to be interpreted ironically (as in What a "brilliant" day [When it is actually raining]) or when a rather uncommon word appears in an utterance (as in a so-called "mallet"). I have been investigating the phenomenon of quotation (marks) from a psycholinguistic and crosslinguistic perspective, asking whether there are acoustic equivalents of quotation marks in spoken language and how language users process quoted material, specifically in English and German. I have been collaborating in this domain with Holden Härtl, Philippe de Brabanter, and Nanna Fuhrhop. 

 

Language acquisition and processing with hearing impairment 

I have been associated with the cluster of excellence Hearing4all since 2020. Within the cluster, I am interested in exploring how children with a hearing impairment (such as children wearing a cochlea implant) acquire and process phonetic, phonological, and morphological aspects of language. I have been working in this field with Esther Ruigendijk, Bénédicte Grandon, and my doctoral student Stephanie Kaucke.  

 

Regional native language varieties and their role in foreign language processing

While there is a lot of research on the processing of a second language in general and against the background of particular native languages, less is known about the role certain varieties within a language might play in foreign language processing. Together with Jörg Peters I have been interested in whether speakers from Northwestern Germany with a particular regional background in their native language benefit from regional phonetic and phonological characteristics when processing English as a foreign language.