Dr. Constantin Freitag


As a linguist I'm interested in language, maybe needless to say. But what is language? I consider language to be a set of abstract rules and principles, the grammar, that is ultimately constrained by the human processing apparatus. I want to find out which principles of grammars are simply motivated, conditioned or independent of language processing.

Theoretical Linguistics

Theoretical Linguistics is the field of the grammarians. Contrary to grammar in school we do not try to establish prescritptive rules for language usage. We describe what people utter and try to explain why some utterances are odd or why you can't interpret utterances in a certain way.
I focus on the morphosyntax of natural language, that means the structure of words and sentences. May aim is not to widen the grammar to account for all phenomena that we find, but to narrow it down to fact that cannot be explained by more general principles of language processing.


With psychological, experimental methods, I investigate effects of sentence processing. These are mainly effects of learning, memory and interpretation.
Currently I mainly use self-paced reading tasks and acceptability studies.

Structural Sciences
I'm interested in the description of structures and systems beyond language or cognitive science. Especially concepts of self-organization, network theory and self-similarity that give rise to the emergence of complex structures, I consider as central issues.
I consider methods as a highly important issue in professional life, especially in science. Advanced method may save time, reduce workload, and helps avoid mistakes. In the methods section, I gathered some information.
Research Projects
(Click on the title to see a description)
Syntactic Extraction

This project investigates processing difficulties that relate to filler-gap dependencies that occurre most naturally in interrogative sentences, but also in other forms.

Linguistic Acceptability

Linguistic acceptability is an establisehd form of evidence in lingustic research. However so far we know very little about the nature of these intuitions. This project will isolate certain factors of influence and may provides tests to distinguish between grammatical and processing related effects of linguistic acceptability.