Stephanie Rotter

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Department of English and American Studies

Stephanie Rotter studied Cognitive Science in her Bachelor at Osnabrück University. For her master in the study program “International Experimental and Clinical Linguistics” at the University of Potsdam, she focused on psycholinguistics as well as multi- and bilingualism. She is a PhD candidate in the CRC1412 project A07.


A07 Register effects in discourse expectations: Negation and modality in English


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dorotheenstraße 28, 10117 Berlin


Postal address

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

Publications & Presentations


  • 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.
  • Rotter, Stephanie; Liu, Mingya  (2023) Interlocutor relation predicts the formality of the conversation: An experiment in American and British English  In: REALIS: Register Aspects of Language in Situation [DOI] [ViVo]
    Formality is an important notion in register research. However, it is hard to give it a precise definition. Furthermore, it is challenging to identify the situational parameters required for levels of formality. Potential parameters include the social relation between interlocutors. We conducted two rating studies with American and British English speakers and tested the connection between formality and social relations, while exploring the influence of certain demographic factors on the rating. We hypothesised that public social relations are associated with more formal contexts than private social relations. The results strongly confirmed the hypothesis. We expect that our findings shed further light on the connection between formality and social relations and consequently, inform experimental set-ups investigating variation in language use. 
  • Liu, Mingya; Rotter, Stephanie  (2023) Modal concord in American and British English: A register-based experimental study  In: Proceedings of the 58th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS58), University of Chicago [ViVo]
  • Liu, Mingya; Rotter, Stephanie; Giannakidou , Anastasia  (2021) Bias and Modality in Conditionals: Experimental Evidence and Theoretical Implications  In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research [DOI] [ViVo]
    The concept of bias is familiar to linguists primarily from the literature on questions. Following the work of Giannakidou and Mari (Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought: Modality, Mood, and Propositional Attitudes, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2021), we assume “nonveridical equilibrium” (implying that p and ¬p as equal possibilities) to be the default for epistemic modals, questions and conditionals. The equilibrium of conditionals, as that of questions, can be manipulated to produce bias (i.e., reduced or higher speaker commitment). In this paper, we focus on three kinds of modal elements in German that create bias in conditionals and questions: the adverb wirklich ‘really’, the modal verb sollte ‘should’, and conditional connectives such as falls ‘if/in case’. We conducted two experiments collecting participants’ inference about speaker commitment in different manipulations, Experiment 1 on sollte/wirklich in ob-questions and wenn-conditionals, and Experiment 2 on sollte/wirklich in wenn/falls/V1-conditionals. Our findings are that both ob-questions and falls-conditionals express reduced speaker commitment about the modified (antecedent) proposition in comparison to wenn-conditionals, which did not differ from V1-conditionals. In addition, sollte/wirklich in the antecedent of conditionals both create negative bias about the antecedent proposition. Our studies are among the first that deal with bias in conditionals (in comparison to questions) and contribute to furthering our understanding of bias.
  • Presentations

  • Rotter, Stephanie; Liu, Mingya  (2023) Social meaning of negative concord in American English  In: Workshop on “Language in Social Interaction” at the University of Wuppertal [ViVo]
  • Rotter, Stephanie; Liu, Mingya  (2022) Register sensitivity of negative concord in American and British English  In: SLE Workshop on "A hundred years of negative concord", University of Bucharest [ViVo]
  • Rotter, Stephanie; Liu, Mingya  (2022) Register sensitivity of negation, polarity and modality in American and British English   In: CRC Colloquium – HU Berlin [ViVo]
  • Liu, Mingya; Rotter, Stephanie  (2022) An experimental study of multiple modals and register effects in American and British English  In: CLS, University of Chicago [ViVo]
  • Liu, Mingya; Rotter, Stephanie  (2022) An experimental study of multiple modals and register effects in American and British English  In: Workshop on "Variation, contact, and modal constructions in English", University of Paris [ViVo]
  • Rotter, Stephanie; Antal, Caitlyn; Bechberger, Lucas; Haase, Viviana; Hinrichs, Nicolás Araneda; Schneider, Stefan; Strößner, Corina; Vernillo, Paola; Agha, Asif; Knoeferle, Pia; de Almeida, Roberto G.; Eckardt, Regine; Lewis, Martha; Liu, Mingya  (2022) Concepts in Action: Representation, Learning, and Application (CARLA 2022)  In: CARLA 2022 [ViVo]
    The first workshop “Concepts in Action: Representation, Learning, and Application” took place at the Institute of Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University in 2018, followed by two virtual events as part of the Bolzano Summer of Knowledge (BOSK) in 2020 and 2021. Currently, we are organizing a fourth (potentially hybrid) workshop “Concepts in Action: Representation, Learning, and Application” (CARLA) in 2022. In addition to a general main session, CARLA 2022 will feature a special session on concepts and register, in relation to the Collaborative Research Center CRC1412 “Register” at the Humboldt University of Berlin. We invite the submission of abstracts via EasyChair until May 15, 2022. Acceptance notifications will be sent out by June 15, 2022. Venue: Dorotheenstr. 24, 10117 Berlin, Room 1.101/1.102/1.103 Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • Rotter, Stephanie; Wartenburger, Isabell; Liu, Mingya  (2021) A comparative experimental study on counterfactual conditionals: counterfactual thoughts, perspectives, and emotions  In: AMLaP 2021, Paris [ViVo]
  • Liu, Mingya; Rotter, Stephanie  (2021) Pragmatic Functions and Effects of Register Variation and Switch: a register approach to negation and polarity  In: CRC Retreat 2021 – HU Berlin [ViVo]