contact people

Doreen Schneider, Kendra Peters

A6 2-201 and A6 2-202 (Campus Map)

head of the lab

Prof. Dr. Esther Ruigendijk


Speech and Music Laboratory
FK III Linguistic and Cultural Studies
Carl von Ossietzky University                       
Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118, 26111 Oldenburg
Room: A6 2-201 & A6 2-202 (Campus Map)

Current projects

Phoneme merger in spoken Standard German? Experimental phonetic studies on /eː/ and /εː/ in German (working title)

Marina Frank

One of the most controversial questions in German phonology deals with the merger of the phonemes /εː/ (as in BärenSäle) and /eː/ (as in BeerenSeele) in Standard German and especially in northern Germany.
However, it is unclear as to whether this postulated merger is indeed a complete merger or a near-merger. A near-merger is a perceptual merger while the speakers simultaneously retain a distinction in production.
This dissertation aims to empirically investigate the production as well as the auditory and neural perception of both phonemes. To this end, I will conduct three studies. Study I is an acoustic analysis of an existing corpus of spoken German that contains data from the whole German-speaking area. Thus, it is suited for variationist sociolinguistic analyses. In Study II, I will analyze the production and the auditory perception of both phonemes in one experiment. In Study III, I will conduct a neurophonetic experiment. Thus, the dissertation will offer a comprehensive study using a multi-methodological approach, taking into account various factors that influence the production and perception.

The linguistic origin of exhaustivity in single bare wh-questions in German

István Fekete

This habilitation project investigates the linguistic nature of exhaustivity in who-questions, that is, the requirement to give a complete answer to a bare wh- (who) question, such as 'Who is fishing in the garden?' by enumerating all the individuals for whom it is true that they undergo the action expressed by the predicate “fishing” in a specific context. Semantic accounts of exhaustivity assume that the exhaustivity requirement is encoded semantically in the meaning of the wh-question, while pragmatic theories analyze the exhaustivity inference as an implicature. The aim of this project is to resolve this dilemma by comparing the extent of exhaustivity violations, that is, incomplete responses, in different semantic and pragmatic sentence type conditions using felicity judgments and EEG methodology.


Movement asymmetries and intervention

Ankelien Schippers

My research is located on the intersection of syntax and processing. I investigate constructions that are difficult to process and/or are considered to be ungrammatical. The type of constructions that I typically focus on are those involving ‘movement’, in other words, non-canonical word orders in which certain constituents are displaced. Movement is constrained in several ways: some constituents are easier to move than others (asymmetries) and movement can be blocked in various ways (intervention). I aim to find out to what extent these phenomena are due to autonomous grammatical constraints or whether they can be attributed to processing factors such as working memory constraints or garden-path effects. I also take into account usage factors like frequency effects and diachronic changes. I take a comparative approach in investigating these issues, focusing on the languages Dutch, German and English.  


Papiamentu-Dutch code-switching: an EEG study

Katrin Watson

Since 2014 I am a PhD candidate at the Institute of Dutch Studies at the University of Oldenburg. In my research project I want to investigate the cognitive processing of Dutch loanwords in Papiamentu with EEG.

My research project also reflects my particular interests: Creole and contact languages, code-switching and psycholinguistics in general.


The effects of hearing impairment on grammatical processing and comprehension and its neurological underpinnings (Hearing4all)

Dr. Margreet Vogelzang

My research focusses on language processing and cognitive (neuro)linguistics. It is well known in cognitive-linguistic research that some sentences are more effortful to process for listeners than others. It is unknown, however, whether and to which extent cognitive capacities and cognitive control play a role in the processing of complex sentences. My research investigates the comprehension and processing of different grammatical structures. To this end, I am running psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic experiments using several different methods (fMRI, eye-tracking, self-paced reading, questionnaires), languages, and skills (reading, listening). My main experimental research at the moment examines language processing and its neurological underpinnings by normal hearing and hearing impaired elderly adults in German. This research is carried out within the cluster of excellence Hearing4all, in close cooperation with the labs of Biological Psychology and Applied Neurocognitive Psychology.

My research interests include, but are not limited to, psycholinguistics, language processing, semantics, pragmatics, cognitive science, (cognitive) neuroscience, cognitive modeling, language acquisition, aging, pronoun processing, cross-linguistic comparisons, and individual differences.


(Changed: 2020-12-16)