English linguistics

Generally, English Linguistics is concerned with the description of the linguistic organization of the English language – its lexis, grammar and semantics, but also the range of variation according to region (dialect), social group (sociolect) and situation (register).

At a media-oriented school of languages, such as the Institute of Linguistics and Literary Studies at Darmstadt University of Technology, one of the central questions linguistics is concerned with is:

How to engage with the medium of text?

If we want to answer questions such as

  • How are texts organized according to particular situational contexts (registers, languages-for-special-purposes)?
  • How do texts function in particular environments (e.g., print vs. electronic, interaction of text with other media)?
  • What makes a text a good text?
  • What is the information content of a text?
  • How does a text in a language l1 compare to a text in a language l2 or to a translation into a language l2?

in contexts of application such as

  • automatic text/speech generation in information systems,
  • automatic summarization,
  • information extraction,
  • information retrieval or 
  • machine translation,


we have to make sure we know enough about text in the first place, simply because the more we know about text, the better information we can generate. From a linguistic point of view, it is crucial to understand how texts work at all levels of linguistic organization, including phonetics/phonology (for spoken mode), lexis, grammar, semantics, discourse, and context. The prerequisite for any linguistic research endeavor geared towards understanding how text works in these terms is a sound data base. Such a data base can only be provided by linguistically-interpreted text corpora in which the linguistically-relevant kinds of information are explicitly encoded.´


The baseline of research at the Department of English Linguistics is centered around the design, construction and application of multi-layer annotated corpora (speech and text, multiple languages, multiple media). The research is based on existing work in the areas of corpus annotation, corpus representation and linguistic corpus analysis using computational-linguistic tools. In terms of linguistic research questions, investigations of multilingual texts, focusing on English and German, are highest on the agenda. In terms of applications, projects in the areas of content syndication (e.g., information extraction, ontology) and information presentation (e.g., text /speech generation) are of highest interest.



Institut für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft


Landwehrstraße 50A
Gebäude S4|23
64293 Darmstadt


Dolivostraße 15 
64293 Darmstadt

The Initiative for a Repository of Systemic Functional Linguistics Resources is part of a collaborative initiative to build text archives, corpora, annotations, tools and tutorials to support and share research efforts within the linguistics community, esp. the SFL community.


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