Nico Lehmann

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Institut für deutsche Sprache und Linguistik

Nico Lehmann is a PhD student in the SFB project “Disentangling cross-linguistic and language-specific aspects of register variation” (SFB Register A06) in the research group “General Linguistics” at the Department of German Studies and Linguistics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

His research is centered on typology at the interface of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, especially in the area of information structure. Topics include linguistic variation of syntactic constructions, reference, causality, and incorporation in Yucatec Maya, Cabécar, German, and English, among others. Methodologically, he is concerned with the construction, processing, and use of corpora, as well as experimental data acquisition. His current focus is on how registers can be studied across languages. He looks at the phenomena of right-peripheral sentence elements, e.g. dislocations, as well as the use of referential expressions in relation to speaker-internal variation in formal and informal contexts.


A06 Modeling register variation across languages


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dorotheenstraße 24, 10117 Berlin

(030) 2093-9718

Publications & Presentations


  • Adli, Aria; Verhoeven, Elisabeth; Lehmann, Nico; Mortezapour, Vahid; Vander Klok, Jozina  (2023) Lang*Reg: A multi-lingual corpus of intra-individual variation across situations [DOI] [ViVo]
    Language: German, Persian, Yucatec Maya, Kurdish, Javanese
    Size: 36 hours
    Description: same speakers varied by mode, acquaintance, professionalism, and expertise
    Features: transcription, syntactic segmentation, normalization, token, glossing or POS-tags, some syntax
    Access: transcription or annotation in progress; CC-BY-NC-ND
  • Pescuma, Valentina Nicole; Serova, Dina; Lukassek, Julia; Sauermann, Antje; Schäfer, Roland; Adli, Aria; Bildhauer, Felix; Egg, Markus; Hülk, Kristina; Ito, Aine; Jannedy, Stefanie; Kordoni, Valia; Kühnast, Milena; Kutscher, Silvia; Lange, Robert; Lehmann, Nico; Liu, Mingya; Lütke, Beate; Maquate, Katja; Mooshammer, Christine; Mortezapour, Vahid; Müller, Stefan; Norde, Muriel; Pankratz, Elizabeth; Patarroyo, Angela Giovanna; Plesca, Ana-Maria; Ronderos, Camilo R.; Rotter, Stephanie; Sauerland, Uli; Schulte, Britta; Schüppenhauer, Gediminas; Sell, Bianca Maria; Solt, Stephanie; Terada, Megumi; Tsiapou, Dimitra; Verhoeven, Elisabeth; Weirich, Melanie; Wiese, Heike; Zaruba, Kathy; Zeige, Lars Erik; Lüdeling, Anke; Knoeferle, Pia; Schnelle, Gohar  (2023) Situating language register across the ages, languages, modalities, and cultural aspects: Evidence from complementary methods  In: Frontiers in Psychology [DOI] [PDF] [ViVo]
    In the present review paper by members of the collaborative research center ‘Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of SituationalFunctional Variation’ (CRC 1412), we assess the pervasiveness of register phenomena across different time periods, languages, modalities, and cultures. We define ‘register’ as recurring variation in language use depending on the function of language and on the social situation. Informed by rich data, we aim to better understand and model the knowledge involved in situation- and function-based use of language register. In order to achieve this goal, we are using complementary methods and measures. In the review, we start by clarifying the concept of ‘register’, by reviewing the state of the art, and by setting out our methods and modeling goals. Against this background, we discuss three key challenges, two at the methodological level and one at the theoretical level: 1. To better uncover registers in text and spoken corpora, we propose changes to established analytical approaches. 2. To tease apart between-subject variability from the linguistic variability at issue (intra-individual situation based register variability), we use within-subject designs and the modeling of individuals’ social, language, and educational background. 3. We highlight a gap in cognitive modeling, viz. modeling the mental representations of register (processing), and present our first attempts at filling this gap. We argue that the targeted use of multiple complementary methods and measures supports investigating the pervasiveness of register phenomena and yields comprehensive insights into the cross-methodological robustness of register-related language variability. These comprehensive insights in turn provide a solid foundation for associated cognitive modeling.
  • Lehmann, Nico; Serova, Dina; Lukassek, Julia; Döring, Sophia; Goymann, Frank; Lüdeling, Anke; Akbari, Roodabeh  (2023) Guidelines for the annotation of parameters of narration.  In: REALIS: Register Aspects of Language in Situation [DOI] [PDF] [ViVo]
    The present guidelines describe the annotation of narrative phenomena on the clause level, using a combination of ideas and methods from linguistics and lit- erary studies. The main categories marking the discourse strategy “narration” in stretches of text have been narrowed down to mediacy, i. e. involving a narrator, and sequentiality of events. This document specifies how to define mediacy, and in turn determine whether a narrator is present, as well as how to identify events and their sequential ordering. Lastly, a functional layer annotation is proposed which allows researchers to compare different types of narrative instances. This offers a basis for investigating a potential narrative register which is said to be important for many kinds of register studies.
  • Lehmann, Nico; Verhoeven, Elisabeth  (2022) Discourse-Independent Variation in V-Initial Constituent Order: The Yucatec Mayan Preverbal Domain Revisited  In: ProcLingEvi2020, Universität Tübingen [DOI] [PDF] [ViVo]
    Contribution to Linguistic Evidence 2020
  • Verhoeven, Elisabeth; Lehmann, Nico  (2018) Self-embedding and complexity in oral registers  In: Glossa: a journal of general linguistics [DOI] [ViVo]
    This article reports the results of a study on the self-embedding depth of nominal, verbal and clausal projections in spoken corpora of German. We compared two spoken registers featuring public and non-public (i.e. private) conversation by measuring the depth of self-embedding in C, V, and N projections. The findings confirm the hypothesis that the familiarity of the speech situation (public vs. non-public speech) has a significant impact on complexity in terms of self-embedding: speakers use more self-embedding in public speech production in different syntactic projections. In addition, we examined previous assumptions about the differences between right, left, and center embedding in C projections. The results confirm a preference against center embedding in non-public texts, which reflects the complexity of center embedding. Finally, we find evidence that the depth of self-embedding in V and C projections is correlated. This finding suggests that self-embedding depth is part of a general strategy, i.e., speakers select more or less complex structures (of different types) depending on factors of the speech situation.
  • Presentations

  • Lehmann, Nico  (2022) Register and the function puzzle: Why register competence is not the whole story   In: Kolloquium SFB1412 (2022) [ViVo]