Research program

Research program - Summary

The Research Training Group puts its focus on the phonology, morphology, and syntax of natural languages. Detailed, large-scale investigations of these form-based components of grammar by cooperative research projects have arguably been neglected in recent years in Germany, but internationally the general area of research has gained substantial momentum as a consequence of new developments. These developments have accumulated an impressive body of knowledge about (i) the representations of linguistic expressions of varying complexity (from signal to sentence), and (ii) the grammatical building blocks (i.e., rules, operations, constraints, schemata, extralinguistic factors) that restrict the distributions of linguistic expressions. In addition, there are some plausible – and, as in the case of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 2004), sometimes widely adopted – hypotheses as to how the grammatical building blocks that have been postulated interact with one another. However, a comprehensive, systematic investigation of the possible interactions of grammatical building blocks from different theoretical perspectives, on the basis of a multitude of detailed empirical studies of phonological, morphological, and syntactic phenomena from typologically different languages, and by invoking all available research techniques (introspective, experimental, corpus-based) is so far outstanding. It is the primary goal of the Research Training Group to achieve this. The individual research projects of the IG Bau take as their starting point a taxonomy that distinguishes between excitatory interaction and inhibitory interaction on the one hand, and between simultaneous interaction and sequential interaction on the other hand. Cross-classification then yields four types of interaction:

  1. excitatory sequential interaction of building blocks: Feeding, Counter-Bleeding;
  2. inhibitory sequential interaction of building blocks: Bleeding (incl. improper movement, strict cyclicity), Counter-Feeding;
  3. inhibitory simultaneous interaction of building blocks: competition (disjunctive blocking, conflict); and
  4. excitatory simultaneous interaction of building blocks: cooperation.

All four kinds of interaction are covered by the expertise of several members of the Research Training Group; and they are all deeply grounded in the concept of the structured training programme.

last modified: 23.11.2017