Research Questions

What is the content of

register knowledge?

Research Questions

How can alternatives

be ascertained and described?

Research Questions

What situational parameters

play a role?

Research Questions

How can register knowledge

be suitably modeled?

Collaborative Research Centre 1412


The CRC Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation investigates aspects of the register knowledge of the speakers of a language. Competent speakers can adapt their linguistic behavior on every level in response to the current situation: They know, for example, that the German word sauer ‘ticked off’ is appropriate in different situations than the word verärgert ‘angry’, that one uses less complex sentences when speaking with children than in an academic function, and that sometimes it matters whether one says around 8 o’clock or 7:49 am, and sometimes it doesn’t. We are thus concerned with intraindividual variation.

Some register knowledge is acquired early – even relatively young children adapt their linguistic behavior to different situations – but at the same time, register knowledge changes and expands over the entire lifespan (especially, but not only, in the case of formal registers). In order to be able to behave register-appropriately themselves and to understand register-appropriate behavior in others, speakers must, on the one hand, know which alternatives (sauer/verärgert, around 8 o’clock/7:49 am) are available and, on the other, understand which situational parameters (properties of the surroundings, properties of the addressee, purpose of the interaction etc.) favor which alternative. Both aspects can change over time, such that register must also be recognized as an essential factor in language change. For an adequate model of linguistic behavior, therefore, register knowledge must be considered together with grammatical knowledge.

The research questions of the CRC are accordingly:

What is the content of register knowledge? How can alternatives be ascertained and described? What situational parameters play a role?
How can register knowledge be suitably modeled?

The CRC investigates these questions on the basis of a range of phenomena on all linguistic levels in diverse languages and language stages. In the process, several different methods (multifactorial corpus analysis, experimental procedures) are employed, extended and combined.

Duration: January 2020 – December 2023


Frontiers in Psychology, 2023

Situating language register across the ages, languages, modalities, and cultural aspects: Evidence from complementary methods

read more


Building Your Profile & Writing a Great Application (MGK Dissertation & Career Series)


10/05/2023 |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm  | Mohrenstraße 40, room 415, Berlin-Mitte

Through a series of hands-on activities, participants will explore tools to help them clearly identify their skills and experience, build a personal profile, explore which career paths best fit their needs and strengths, and create effective application documents.

The workshop leader is Amanda Wichert (WITOS, Berlin)

Link to: Projects / Central projects



During the Berlin tomorrow, PLAPPER, a smartphone application for crowd-sourcing and self recording will be introduced to a wider community. For the study of register, two recording scenarios have been included that test the difference of interlocutor (police vs. friend) when justifying having run a red light. This experimental design thus distinguishes between a formal register (police) and an informal register (friend).

Lange N8 der Wissenschaften
Lange N8 der Wissenschaften


The General Linguistics Group (PI Verhoeven) will present their new language map of Berlin's linguistic diversity at Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2023, which is being created involving Berlin's language communities. Their mission is to create public awareness of urban linguistic diversity also focussing on language-internal variability including register variation.

Lange N8 der Wissenschaften
Lange N8 der Wissenschaften