This is a brief list of some of the research and publication projects we are currently working on


  • The Linguistics Vanguard (Journal, de Gruyter Mouton, edited with Jeff Good, Georgia Zellou, Rebecca Starr; editorial assistant is Marie-Christine Benen)

Linguistics Vanguard is a new channel for high quality articles and innovative approaches in all major fields of linguistics. This multimodal journal is published solely online and provides an accessible platform supporting both traditional and new kinds of publications. Linguistics Vanguard seeks to publish concise and up-to-date reports on the state of the art in linguistics as well as cutting-edge research papers. With its topical breadth of coverage and anticipated quick rate of production, it is one of the leading platforms for scientific exchange in linguistics. Its broad theoretical range, international scope, and diversity of article formats engage students and scholars alike. 

All topics within linguistics are welcome. The journal especially encourages submissions taking advantage of its new multimodal platform designed to integrate interactive content, including audio and video, images, maps, software code, raw data, and any other media that enhances the traditional written word. The novel platform and concise article format allows for rapid turnaround of submissions. Full peer review assures quality and enables authors to receive appropriate credit for their work.


  • Cognition and Poetics(book series, Oxford University Press until 2020, now Bloomsbury Academic edited with Margaret Freeman & Peter Schneck)

Cognition and Ppetics (CAP) fosters high quality interdisciplinary research at the intersection of cognitive science, literature, the arts, and linguistics. The series seeks to expand the development of theories and methodologies that integrate research in the relevant disciplines to further our understanding of the production and reception of the arts as one of the most central and complex operations of the human mind. CAP welcomes submissions of edited volumes and monographs in English that focus on literatures and cultures from around the world.

Please note that the book series was discontinued in 2020 and is no longer accepting proposals.


  • (STR) in American English (project team: Wiebke Ahlers, Alexander Bergs, Lars Hinrichs, Thomas Hoffmann, Rachel Walker)

The first comprehensive, empirical investigation of (s) palatalization in clusters such as (str), e.g. "shtreet" instead of "street". Based on comprehensive sociolinguistic data collected in Austin, TX and Chicago IL, we are working on the phonetics and phonology of this phenomenon as well as its sociolinguistic dimensions. In particular, we are interested in finding out which groups (if any) promote this change and how it is perceived and propagated by the linguistic community. We have presented some results at NWAVE, Workshop on Sound change (Edinburgh) and the Norddeutsches Linguistsiches Kolloquium. There is one paper by all of us forthcoming in the Linguistics Vanguard and one grant application for the German Research Foundation in the works. 


  • Fragments in syntax (project team: Meike Pentrel, Alexander Bergs)

This project investigates the notion of fragments in syntax, broadly construed. On of the central questions is whether the notion of the "complete sentence" is actually very helpful in our analysis of spoken language or whether we should rather work with some notion of "conversation grammar". Meike Pentrel and Nikolaos Lavidas are the hosts of workshop in Vigo, Spain, on the topic and there is a reply by Alexander Bergs to Elizabeth Traugott's paper in the forthcoming ELL special issue on Cognitive Approaches to the History of English.



  • The costs and benefits of language (project team: Nikola Kompa, Alexander Bergs)

This is one of the latest ideas we've been playing with. Using language is not always straightforward and easy. Speakers also belong to both homo ludens and homo oeconomicus, and whenever they "break rules" in the widest sense, they do something risky. This projects seeks to explore the notion of costs and benefits in language use from a very broad, interdisciplary perspective, including philosophy of language, linguistics, and cognitive science. 


  • Computational and cognitive aspects of narration (project team: Leonid Berov, Alexander Bergs) 

Can computers tell good stories? We bet they can. This project seeks to develop computational algorithms that can generate good (or at plausible...) stories. 


  • Language and creativity (project team: Thomas Hoffmann, Alexander Bergs)

You don't have to break every rule, as Tina Turner would say, but breaking rules every now and then is not only fun but is also an evolutionary advantage. However, modeling rule breakers in linguistics is still a big challenge, especially from a fomralist (computational) point of view. This project seeks to shed light on the problem of creative language use from a constructional perspective. A first paper on the subject by Alexander Bergs can be found in Burke & Troscianko (2016).



  • Construction Grammar and Language Change (Alexander Bergs)

Construction Grammar has come of age, no doubt. And yet, it still needs to connect plausibly with established theories and problems from language change. If I ever find the time, this will be the next research monograph. Some first ideas can be found in Bergs (2012) and Burridge & Bergs (2016).


  • Language Variation and Change in Ancient and Medieval Europe (project team: Nikolaos Lavidas, Alexander Bergs, Elly van Gelderen)

The coolest, best summer school on the planet. Ever. With the hottest team of teachers, really nice students and the dream-come-true of an island in Greece, Naxos! Now in its 5th yearEver wanted to know more about Old and/or Middle English? Be there or be square. (well you can't be there in 2020, obviously, but we'll be back!


  • Kognition: Mensch-Technik-Interaktion (Forschungsprofil der UOS, chair: Alexander Bergs, 20+ project partners)

Osnabrück University decided to develop a (limited) number of research profiles. We are very proud to be part of the "Human.Technology.Interaction" line, developed and currentlychaired by me. We are currently working on our research program for the next five years, and some of stuff above will definitely be part of it. We'll keep you posted. Update: we have just been approved by an external review board and the president's office to develop some major grant proposals. Working on it!

Where to find me

Universität Osnabrück

Neuer Graben 40

D-49069 Osnabrück




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