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Discourse Studies

Discourse studies at IfL explores pragmatic, cognitive, and semiotic aspects of large linguistic units. “Discourse” is taken as the domain of language use (in Du Bois’ terms) and as a process rather than a product (in Widdowson’s terms). Research and teaching interests encompass the interface between syntax and pragmatics; discourse structure above the sentence level; the conceptual mapping, blending, and compression behind figurative language; the relation between texts and socio-cultural contexts in contemporary as well as in historical texts (communication strategies, text production and text performance); and the theoretical underpinnings of multi- and cross-modal features in oral genres. Past and current synchronic and diachronic approaches apply contemporary frameworks to linguistic phenomena in ancient Greek corpora; further corpora are being progressively added. The starting team looks forward to increasing collaborations with the other sections of IfL, as well as with other Institutes, within and beyond the University of Cologne.


New! Check out the new MA profile module “Discourse Studies” here! 



  • New publication: di Bartolo, G. (2024), "Discourse Analysis", in Reference Module in Social Sciences, Elsevier.
  • Are you interested in the transcription of conversations? Here we have a brief tutorial by a PhD student of our Department of Linguistics about the 2022-launched software DOTE!


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  • PhD position: Transcription practices

    We invite applications for a PhD position within the DFG (German Research Foundation) project ‘Taking spoken language seriously’. The project investigates the extent to which the characteristics of spoken language, as opposed to those of written language, are relevant in typological and theoretical research. The deadline for applications is 31.07.2024; see here for details.

  • Lunch & Linguistics in summer term 2024

    On April 16, 2024, the CCLS Lunch & Linguistics lecture series will start, where young researchers (from advanced Master and PhD students to post-docs) can present and discuss their research projects and network with researchers from different fields of linguistics. You are very welcome to participate! Click here for further information.

  • CCLS Lecture Series in summer term 2024

    The lecture series of the Cologne Center of Language Sciences (CCLS) starts on April 15, 2024. This semester there will again be many interesting lectures on different research fields of linguistics. Here you can find the program of the CCLS Lecture Series in the summer term 2024 as well as further information.

  • Research team from Cologne University deciphers curious enigmatic writing from antiquity

    Much of what is known today about the Kushana empire and its inhabitants comes from Chinese, Greek or Roman sources. Until now, no one has been able to read some of the written records of this Central Asian culture, as the writing system in which they were written had not been deciphered. The Cologne linguists Svenja Bonmann, Jakob Halfmann and Natalie Korobzow have now achieved a breakthrough: the mystery of the unknown Kushana script has been solved.  
    The Cologne University Magazine also reports on this. 

  • The Acquisition Sketch Project

    The Acquisition Sketch Project is an initiative aimed at expanding knowledge about the acquisition of little-studied languages. Combining findings from child language acquisition and language documentation, the project provides a detailed description of how to collect data and write an "acquisition sketch" of a language based on just 5 hours of naturalistic data.