Register knowledge in advanced learner language

C04 will investigate how learners of a foreign language acquire register competence by analyzing spoken and written corpus data produced by advanced learners of German as a foreign language and native speaker control groups. Two hypotheses will be tested: (i) Even advanced learners do not distinguish between registers in the same way that native speakers do, and (ii) even advanced learners do not distinguish between registers as much as native speakers do. Native speakers and learners will first be compared within the same register and then across registers. In the first phase, two different types of register will be studied: written argumentative essays on the one hand and spoken map task dialogues on the other.


Project leader


Cooperation Partner

Doctoral fellows

Student assistant


Publications & Presentations



  • Lüdeling, Anke; Lukassek, Julia; Akbari, Roodabeh  (2023) Guidelines for the Morphological Annotation of Nouns in the Falko Learner Corpus In:  REALIS: Register Aspects of Language in Situation [DOI] [ViVo]
    These guidelines describe the annotation of different types of nominal word forma-
    tion in German. We also report on the evaluation of these guidelines in the Falko
  • 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] [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] [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.
  • Schnelle, Gohar; Lüdeling, Anke; Odebrecht, Carolin  (2023) Historische Korpora in sprachhistorisch orientierter germanistischer Hochschullehre In:  Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur [DOI] [ViVo]
    Abstract This paper argues for incorporating corpus data into the teaching of historical linguistics. While deeply annotated historical corpora are becoming available and corpus data is already widely used to answer various research questions, corpora are as yet rarely used in teaching. We believe they are ideally suited to make the variation in historical data transparent and help students to explore contexts and parameters. In our first study, we show how the KaJuK corpus and its more elaborated version, the GiesKaNe corpus, can be exploited to study adverbial sentences. Using the RIDGES corpus, the second study deals with phrasal and lexical development. Both studies focus on explaining the method and its extension to other corpora and research questions.
  • 2022

  • Wan, Shujun  (2022) Kobalt_RST: Die Annotation von rhetorischen Strukturen im Kobalt-DaF-Korpus[DOI] [ViVo]

    Das Kobalt-DaF-Korpus ist ein systematisch erhobenes und tief annotiertes Deutschlernerkorpus, welches 80 deutschsprachige argumentative Texte von deutschen L1-Sprecher:innen und Deutschlerner:innen unterschiedlicher L1 enthält. Dieses Repositorium stellt eine zusätzliche Annotation des Kobalt-DaF-Korpus bzgl. rhetorischer Strukturen frei zur Verfügung. Folgende Informationen sind hier zu finden: (1) Die Darstellung des Annotationsprozesses (Annotationsframework, -richtlinie, und -verfahren). (2) Die annotierten rs3-Dateien.

    *Versionshinweise: Bislang sind ausschließlich die Texte der chinesischen Deutschlerner:innen und der deutschen L1-Sprecher:innen (insgesamt 40 Texte) verfügbar. Die Annotation der übrigen Texte folgt demnächst. 

    *Die Annotationsarbeit wurde gefördert durch das Chinese Scholarship Council und die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) – SFB 1412, 416591334.

  • Wan, Shujun  (2022) Zur Positionierung der eigenen Meinung und der Verwendung von Appellen in argumentativen Texten: Chinesische DaF-Lerner/-innen, L1-Sprecher/-innen des Deutschen und chinesische EFL-Lerner/-innen im Vergleich In:  Deutsch als Fremdsprache [DOI] [ViVo]
    Basierend auf 80 argumentativen Texten sowie der Studie von Liu / Furneaux (2015) zielt diese kontrastive Studie darauf ab, die Position der eigenen Meinung und die Verwendung von Appellen in argumentativen Essays von chinesischen DaF-Lernenden im Vergleich zu denen von L1-Sprecherinnen und Sprechern des Deutschen und von chinesischen EFL-Lernenden zu untersuchen. Dafür wird das Coffin-Modell als zugrundeliegendes Framework für die Annotation und die Analyse eingesetzt. Ausgehend von den Vergleichsergebnissen werden abschließend die Einflussfaktoren für die ermittelten Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede analysiert.

    Schlüsselwörter: Argumentativer Text; Position der eigenen Meinung; Appelle; Lernerkorpus; Chinesische DaF-Lerner/-innen

    Based on 80 argumentative texts and the study conducted by Liu / Furneaux (2015), this contrastive study aims to investigate the statement of the author’s opinion and the use of appeals in the argumentative texts of Chinese learners of German as a Foreign Language (GFL) in comparison with those of native German speakers and of Chinese EFL learners. The study uses the Coffin-model as the fundamental framework for annotation and analysis. Finally, the results of the comparisons lead to an analysis of the factors influencing the similarities and differences revealed.

    Keywords: Argumentative text; author’s opinion; appeals; Learner Corpus; Chinese GFL learners
  • Wisniewski, Katrin; Lüdeling, Anke; Czinglar, Christine  (2022) Zu Umgang mit Variation in der Lernersprachenanalyse. Perspektiven aus und für DaF/DaZ In:  Deutsch als Fremdsprache [DOI] [ViVo]
    In this article, we argue that learner language analysis in German as a Second / Foreign Language should give greater consideration to variation. Looking at three exemplary research topics (verb placement, complexity, and register in German as a Second / Foreign Language), we demonstrate where variation plays a role and how it can be integrated into acquisition models both theoretically and methodologically. The field of learner corpus linguistics provides excellent methods for analysing variability in learner data.
  • Wiese, Heike; Alexiadou, Artemis; Shanley, Allen; Bunk, Oliver; Gagarina, Natalia; Iefremenko, Kateryna; Martynova, Maria; Pashkova, Tatiana; Rizou, Vicky; Schroeder, Christoph; Shadrova, Anna; Szucsich, Luka; Tracy, Rosemarie; Wintai, Tsehaye; Zerbian, Sabine; Zuban, Yulia  (2022) Heritage Speakers as Part of the Native Language Continuum In:  Frontiers in Psychology [DOI] [ViVo]
    We argue for a perspective on bilingual heritage speakers as native speakers of both their languages and present results from a large-scale, cross-linguistic study that took such a perspective and approached bilinguals and monolinguals on equal grounds. We targeted comparable language use in bilingual and monolingual speakers, crucially covering broader repertoires than just formal language. A main database was the open-access RUEG corpus, which covers comparable informal vs. formal and spoken vs. written productions by adolescent and adult bilinguals with heritage-Greek, -Russian, and -Turkish in Germany and the United States and with heritage-German in the United States, and matching data from monolinguals in Germany, the United States, Greece, Russia, and Turkey. Our main results lie in three areas. (1) We found non-canonical patterns not only in bilingual, but also in monolingual speakers, including patterns that have so far been considered absent from native grammars, in domains of morphology, syntax, intonation, and pragmatics. (2) We found a degree of lexical and morphosyntactic inter-speaker variability in monolinguals that was sometimes higher than that of bilinguals, further challenging the model of the streamlined native speaker. (3) In majority language use, non-canonical patterns were dominant in spoken and/or informal registers, and this was true for monolinguals and bilinguals. In some cases, bilingual speakers were leading quantitatively. In heritage settings where the language was not part of formal schooling, we found tendencies of register leveling, presumably due to the fact that speakers had limited access to formal registers of the heritage language. Our findings thus indicate possible quantitative differences and different register distributions rather than distinct grammatical patterns in bilingual and monolingual speakers. This supports the integration of heritage speakers into the native-speaker continuum. Approaching heritage speakers from this perspective helps us to better understand the empirical data and can shed light on language variation and change in native grammars. Furthermore, our findings for monolinguals lead us to reconsider the state-of-the art on majority languages, given recurring evidence for non-canonical patterns that deviate from what has been assumed in the literature so far, and might have been attributed to bilingualism had we not included informal and spoken registers in monolinguals and bilinguals alike.
  • 2021

  • Lüdeling, Anke; Hirschmann , Hagen; Shadrova, Anna; Wan, Shujun  (2021) Tiefe Analyse von Lernerkorpora In:   Deutsch in Europa [DOI] [ViVo]
    Die Sprache von Lerner/-innen einer Fremdsprache unterscheidet sich auf allen linguistischen Ebenen von der Sprache von Muttersprachler/-innen. Seit einigen Jahrzehnten werden Lernerkorpora gebaut, um Lernersprache quantitativ und qualitativ zu analysieren. Hier argumentieren wir anhand von drei Fallbeispielen (zu Modifikation, Koselektion und rhetorischen Strukturen) für eine linguistisch informierte, tiefe Phänomenmodellierung und Annotation sowie für eine auf das jeweilige Phänomen passende formale und quantitative Modellierung. Dabei diskutieren wir die Abwägung von tiefer, mehrschichtiger Analyse einerseits und notwendigen Datenmengen für bestimmte quantitative Verfahren andererseits und zeigen, dass mittelgroße Korpora (wie die meisten Lernerkorpora) interessante Erkenntnisse ermöglichen, die große, flacher annotierte Korpora so nicht erlauben würden.
  • Shadrova, Anna; Lindscheid, Pia; Lukassek, Julia; Lüdeling, Anke; Schneider, Sarah  (2021) A Challenge for Contrastive L1/L2 Corpus Studies: Large Inter- and Intra-Individual Variation Across Morphological, but Not Global Syntactic Categories in Task-Based Corpus Data of a Homogeneous L1 German Group In:  Frontiers in Psychology [DOI] [ViVo]
    In this paper, we present corpus data that questions the concept of native speaker homogeneity as it is presumed in many studies using native speakers (L1) as a control group for learner data (L2), especially in corpus contexts. Usage-based research on second and foreign language acquisition often investigates quantitative differences between learners, and usually a group of native speakers serves as a control group, but often without elaborating on differences within this group to the same extent. We examine inter-personal differences using data from two well-controlled German native speaker corpora collected as control groups in the context of second and foreign language research. Our results suggest that certain linguistic aspects vary to an extent in the native speaker data that undermines general statements about quantitative expectations in L1. However, we also find differences between phenomena: while morphological and syntactic sub-classes of verbs and nouns show great variability in their distribution in native speaker writing, other, coarser categories, like parts of speech, or types of syntactic dependencies, behave more predictably and homogeneously. Our results highlight the necessity of accounting for inter-individual variance in native speakers where L1 is used as a target ideal for L2. They also raise theoretical questions concerning a) explanations for the divergence between phenomena, b) the role of frequency distributions of morphosyntactic phenomena in usage-based linguistic frameworks, and c) the notion of the individual adult native speaker as a general representative of the target language in language acquisition studies or language in general.
  • 2020

  • Alexiadou, Artemis; Lüdeling, Anke; Adli, Aria; Donhauser, Karin; Dreyer, Malte; Egg, Markus; Feulner, Anna Helene; Gagarina, Natalia; Hock, Wolfgang; Jannedy, Stefanie; Kammerzell, Frank; Knoeferle, Pia; Krause, Thomas; Krifka, Manfred; Kutscher, Silvia; Lütke, Beate; McFadden, Thomas; Meyer, Roland; Mooshammer, Christine; Müller, Stefan; Maquate, Katja; Norde, Muriel; Sauerland, Uli; Szucsich, Luka; Verhoeven, Elisabeth; Waltereit, Richard; Wolfsgruber, Anne; Zeige, Lars Erik  (2020) Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation In:  REALIS: Register Aspects of Language in Situation [DOI] [ViVo]
    The Collaborative Research Center 1412 “Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation” (CRC 1412) investigates the role of register in language, focusing in particular on what constitutes a language user’s register knowledge and which situational-functional factors determine a user’s choices. The following paper is an extract from the frame text of the proposal for the CRC 1412, which was submitted to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in 2019, followed by a successful onsite evaluation that took place in 2019. The CRC 1412 then started its work on January 1, 2020. The theoretical part of the frame text gives an extensive overview of the theoretical and empirical perspectives on register knowledge from the viewpoint of 2019. Due to the high collaborative effort of all PIs involved, the frame text is unique in its scope on register research, encompassing register-relevant aspects from variationist approaches, psycholinguistics, grammatical theory, acquisition theory, historical linguistics, phonology, phonetics, typology, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics, as well as qualitative and quantitative modeling. Although our positions and hypotheses since its submission have developed further, the frame text is still a vital resource as a compilation of state-of-the-art register research and a documentation of the start of the CRC 1412. The theoretical part without administrative components therefore presents an ideal starter publication to kick off the CRC’s publication series REALIS. For an overview of the projects and more information on the CRC, see https://sfb1412.hu-berlin.de/.
  • Presentations


  • Wan, Shujun  (2023) Einleitung, Hauptteil und Schluss: wie werden sie in L1- und L2-Texten rhetorisch aufgebaut? - Eine korpusbasierte kontrastive Studie In:  浙江大学 (Zhejiang Universität, China)  [ViVo]
  • Wan, Shujun  (2023) Schreibstrategien in argumentativen Texten chinesischer Deutschlerner:innen In:  Kolloquium Korpuslinguistik und Phonetik, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin [ViVo]
  • 2022

  • Schulte, Britta; Lukassek, Julia  (2022) Narration in Context: Between Linguistic Theory and Empirical Operationalization - Introduction In:  44. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachforschung (DGfS), Tübingen, zoom [ViVo]
  • Lüdeling, Anke  (2022) Zum Umgang mit Variation in der Lernersprachenanalyse. Perspektiven aus und für DaF/DaZ In:  LCR2022 6th Learner Corpus Research Conference, Padua, September [ViVo]
  • Lüdeling, Anke  (2022) Variability in Grammatical Categories and Structures: The Case of Word Formation, Ghent, Belgium In:  Grammar and Corpora (GaC) [ViVo]
  • Wan, Shujun  (2022) Kontrastive Rhetorik: Merkmale deutscher und chinesischer argumentativen Texte In:  Uni Potsdam [ViVo]
  • 2021

  • Lüdeling, Anke; Lukassek, Julia  (2021) Zum Erwerb von Registerwissen bei Lerner:innen des Deutschen als Fremdsprache. Registerstudien in Lernerkorpora In:  Colloquium Uni Gießen [ViVo]
  • Lüdeling, Anke; Lukassek, Julia  (2021) Registerwissen und morphologische Struktur. Eine Studie zu komplexen Wörtern bei Lerner:innen des Deutschen als Fremdsprache und Muttersprachler:innen In:  SPIGL [ViVo]


2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Zoom


12:00 am - 11:00 pm Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Workshop: Complexity and register (CAR21)

What is the exact theoretical relationship is between register and the individual facets of complexity? How do the situation’s communicative needs affect complexity measures?

1:45 pm DGfS 2022, online

Workshop on “Narration in Context”

What is the status of narration in not literary texts and in the context of register? What are the linguistically relevant features of it? how can we operationalize them?

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm zoom- LMU München, HU Berlin


Workshop on aspects of narration we could operationalize in order to gain parameters for an annotation of narration

Featured Bachelor & Master's Theses


  • Bianca David: Studiendesign für eine Untersuchung bildungssprachlicher Registerkompetenzen
    (Bachelor Deutsch; Antje Sauermann / Nicole Schumacher)
  • Fatou Bintou Toray: Rassismuskritischer Sprachgebrauch im deutschen Schulkontext
    (Master of Education Deutsch; Beate Lütke / Nicole Schumacher)
  • Jasmin Reddmann: “Nehmen „Micky Maus“ und „Peppa Wutz“ Einfluss auf den Spracherwerb? – Über den Effekt spezifischer Kindersendungen und die Rolle der Interaktion auf den natürlichen Spracherwerb von 3-4-Jährigen”
    (Bachelor Germanistische Linguistik; Antje Sauermann / Nicole Schumacher)


  • Desiree Drechsler Variation im Gegenwartsdeutschen: Der Gebrauch des Pronomens es und der Verbformen in der 1. Person Singular (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Christine Mooshammer) Juni 2022.
  • Catharina Fischer A systemic functional approach in second language acquisition research (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Julia Lukassek) Februar 2022.
  • Mikhail Lomakin Der Einfluss von Persönlichkeit auf die phonetische Explizitheit der formell vs. informell gesprochenen Sprache am Beispiel der Schwa-Produktion in Verbsuffixen des Deutschen durch bi- und monolinguale Sprechenden (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Christine Moodhammer und Anke Lüdeling) April 2022.
  • Anja Alwins: “How do you say it in your language?” – Förderung bildungssprachlicher Kompetenzen in der L2 Deutsch durch den Einsatz mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktischer Prinzipien und Methoden im Deutschunterricht einer 8. Klasse in Berlin
    (Master DaF; Nicole Schumacher / Beate Lütke)
  • Josephine Carnehl: Untersuchung zur Entwicklung des Verbgebrauchs im Kontext schriftlichen Erzählens im Zweitspracherwerb des Deutschen. Eine vergleichende Analyse auf A1- und A2-Niveau
    (Bachelor Deutsch; Beate Lütke / Nicole Schumacher)


  • Melina Plakidis A speech act analysis of offensive language in German tweets (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Georg Rehm und Anke Lüdeling) Dezember 2021
  • Henrike Prochno Ohne Punkt und Komma. Der Einfluss von Instant Messaging auf die Schriftsprachkompetenz von Kindern und Jugendlichen für das Englische und das Deutsche (Bachelorarbeit, Betruung Anke Lüdeling und Jana Brunner) Oktober 2021
  • Sophie Govani Geschlechtergerechte Sprache in der Politik. Wie und warum wird sie von “Bündnis 90/Die Grünen”, “Die Linke” und “Alternative für Deutschland” verwendet? (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Lars Zeige) Oktober 2021
  • Sophie Reule Lexical Bundles in den Entscheidungen des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Anna Shadrova) Juli 2021

  • Luisa Kalvelage Extraposition von Präpositionalphrasen als registerspezifisches Phänomen:

    Eine quantitative Analyse zur Verteilung und Verwendung (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Elisabeth Verhoeven und Anke Lüdeling) Juni 2021, veröffentlicht auf dem Edoc-Server unter https://doi.org/10.18452/25470

  • Marco Lehne Textstrukturelle Modellierung von Narration (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Julia Lukassek) Mai 2021

  • Marieke de Vries Anglizismen und ihre partiellen Synonyme im Spannungsfeld von sprachlicher Nähe und sprachlicher Distanz – eine korpusbasierte Untersuchung (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Lars Zeige) Mai 2021


  • Max Devantier Wie unterscheiden sich die Nominalisierungsmuster der Derivation und Komposition zwischen bilingual aufwachsenden Heritage-Sprechern und monolingual-aufwachsenden Muttersprachlern? (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Hagen Hirschmann) Dezember 2020
  • Pia Ricarda Linscheid Parsing von Diskursrelationen nach der Rhetorical Structure Theory: Evaluation eines RST-Parsers mittels eines RST-Korpus und Evaluationstools (Masterarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Georg Rehm (DFKI)) September 2020.
  • Rahel Gajaneh Hartz Syntaktische Innovation in Multiethnolekten: Genutztes Sprachwandelpotenzial der Majoritätssprache oder Einfluss einzelner Heritage Languages?
    (Bachelorarbeit, Betreuung Anke Lüdeling und Hagen Hirschmann) August 2020.