Research - Dr. Nantke Pecht

Research interests

  • Language Variation and Change

  • Multilingualism and linguistic repertoires

  • Language and Dialect Contact 

  • Language Attitudes

  • Corpus Linguistics

  • Mining languages 

  • Ruhr German 

  • Morphosyntax 

  • Interactional Linguistics

Current Research Projects

A corpus-based study of the am-progressive in present-day varieties of German: Combining grammatical, sociolinguistic and discourse-analytical perspectives

This project analyzes the am-progressive in and across different present-day varieties of German by combining grammatical, sociolinguistic and discourse-analytical perspectives. While for a long time regarded as a regional construction confined to speakers from particular areas, recent studies have demonstrated that the am-progressive is nowadays used across the entire German-speaking area (e.g. Anthonissen et al. 2016; Fischer 2016; Elspaß & Möller 2004; 2013). Furthermore, there is evidence that it is especially frequent in multilingual settings, where it displays little syntactic and semantic restrictions (Louden 1994; Tomas 2018; Pecht 2021). Little research, however, has been carried out on the actual use of this construction along the dialect-standard axis, and it is unknown how the am-progressive is produced in informal discourse contexts and by members of different social groups. Using a set of corpora consisting of audio recordings of colloquial standard German, dialectal varieties of German and German contact settings, this project maps out how the am-progressive is produced by different (groups of) speakers and in various contexts. 


I submitted my dissertation at Maastricht University (supervised by Prof. Leonie Cornips & Prof. Peter Auer) in August 2020 and defended in January 2021 (with distinction, the Dutch cum laude). In Language Contact in a Mining Community: A Study of Variation in Personal Pronouns and Progressive Aspect in Cité Duits, I studied the linguistic and social practices of former miners in Belgian-Limburg. Cité Duits (lit. ‘mining district German’) emerged as a Belgian Dutch-Maaslands-German contact variety among the sons of immigrant miners in the coalmining district of Eisden in the 1930s. Today this language variety is on the verge of disappearing, with fewer than a dozen speakers left. Following a sociolinguistic and grammatical framework, I examined the linguistic character of Cité Duits with a focus on personal pronouns and progressive aspect.