Research profile of the Institute for German Studies

The Institute of German Studies has a wide range of research activities that work from linguistic, literary, linguistic-historical, and didactic perspectives. The main topics include the process, impact, and analysis of digitisation; edition and edition theory of various subfields; corpora creation and corpus linguistics; didactics of teaching German and much more. The work falls under the profile focus 'Change in Contemporary Societies'. In recent years, research projects on multilingualism in public space ('Metropolzeichen'), projects on regional literary historiography, edition projects and empirical research on communicative acts have been completed. Newly added projects deal, for example, with Open Access, with the sociology of digitisation, with regional variety linguistics and with inclusive German teaching.


German Linguistics at the UDE focuses on sociolinguistics, lexicology, media, corpus, and computational linguistics as well as research into internet-based communication. It is involved in the profile focus 'Contemporary Societies' and in the 'Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research' (InZentIM) at the UDE as well as in the 'Ruhr Centre for Multilingualism (RZM)'. It is significantly involved in the development and expansion of digital research infrastructures and digital language resources. One project is researching the intercultural comparison of language varieties in the Rhine-Meuse region (Horizon 2020). With the participation in the 'Digilog' project (BMBF), the influence of digitalisation on social changes is being investigated. The 'Linguistik-Server Essen' (LINSE) as an information server with one of the world's largest collections of links on Germanic linguistics is continuously maintained.

Specific focal points of language didactic research are the acquisition and teaching of oral and written skills (discourse and text competence, inclusive German teaching), classroom communication, teacher professionalisation and the development and testing of media didactic concepts for German teaching. In the context of the topic 'Education in the Digital World', the project 'Open Access for German Didactics' (DFG) and the working group 'Digitisation in Teacher Training'. Research projects on professionalisation in teacher training deal with inclusion-related subject didactic concepts (BMBF) and interactive language education (RAG Foundation).

German Literature Studies at the UDE works on editions and digital indexing projects, with a focus on the literature and culture of the Enlightenment and the literature and culture of the 19th to 21st centuries. In the 20th/21st century, the study of regional literature is strongly represented; research on multilingual literature is another focus. Research in cultural studies focuses on discourses of emotion, productivity, and temporality in the context of the thresholds of modernity since 1800. The focus is on the literary business with projects on literary criticism and literary prizes.

German literature didactics at the UDE sees itself as a discipline with empirical research tasks; it deals with the teaching and reception of literary texts in different learning contexts. This includes focal points in picture and youth books as well as children's and youth films as well as media compound phenomena and literary and media learning, also in inclusive contexts. With the internet platform, the department maintains the largest internet portal for children's media and youth media research in the German-speaking world.

Medieval German Studies focuses on editions and edition techniques, cultural studies, and medieval reception (such as the internet portal Editorial projects include hybrid editions of 15th century poetry (DFG project) and the holdings of North German noble archives in the 'Arbeitsstelle für Edition und Editionstechnik' (AEET), which is to be expanded into an intermediary centre for research data management in close cooperation with German Linguistics.

The research in linguistics in Dutch studies follows on from existing teaching priorities with language variation and contrastive linguistics (comparison of Dutch and German). Together with historians and Germanists, Dutch Studies is also involved in the Institute for Lower Rhine Cultural History and Regional Development (InKuR), which is intensively involved in regional research and third mission.


For the future, digitisation in its linguistic, didactic, and social effects will remain an important research topic at the Institute of German Studies, as well as the commitment to the expansion of digital research infrastructures. Work on contrastive linguistics, corpus linguistics, research on didactics and editorial follow-up projects will be continued and strengthened. Cross-sectional work by various institutes, such as the working group on digitisation in teacher training, is to be pursued further.