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The University of Basel is represented in the CLARIN-CH Consortium by RISE (Research and Infrastructure Support).


The community from the University of Basel provides CLARIN-CH language resources and expertise in language sciences, and it is actively involved in research projects involving language resources.

Language resources

1.The KompAS database contains 180 argumentative interactions with a total of 720 Swiss-German schoolchildren in grades 2 to 6. The data was collected, transcribed and annotated in the Competence levels of oral argumentation among schoolchildren research project. Access to a visualisation of the annotations here.

2. The It-Ist_CH corpus includes texts selected with the intention of representing, as broadly as possible, the diaphasic variability within the “Swiss institutional Italian” variety, balancing the sample on the basis of the criteria of quantitative consistency and communicative relevance of each textual genre and subgenre of this variety. The texts, collected manually and respecting, as far as possible, the original graphic characteristics (bold, italics, paragraphing, etc.), are cut to 1,500 words (with some justified exceptions: as in the case of the central texts of the legislative system, which have been collected in their entirety). The date of publication is limited to the last decade 2010-2020 (again with some exceptions: as in the case of some laws that, although adopted before 2010, were still in force at the time of the corpus' constitution). The corpus can be accessed here.

3. The C-ORAL-ROM is a multilingual reference corpus of spontaneous speech for the main Romance Languages (French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) recorded in free situations, roughly 300,000 words for each Language (Informal speech 50%, Formal speech 50%, including media and telephone conversations). The corpus design simultaneously ensures representation of spontaneous speech for each language and comparability throughout the four Romance corpora. Access here.

4. The MemTet Corpus (Corpus of texts published in the Orient between 1880 and 1930) was elaborated in the years 2003-2004 within the framework of the SNF project “Between tradition and modernity: Judeo-Spanish in the Oriente between 1880 and 1930”. This is a large representative textual corpus of modern written Judeo-Spanish. It includes more than half a million words and consists of works of different types (stories and novels; theatre; humorous texts, jokes and anecdotes; administrative texts, statutes and regulations; speeches and addresses; conferences; journalistic texts) published in different cities (Salonika, Istanbul, Izmir, Jerusalem, Cairo, Sofia, Ruse and Sarajevo). On the other hand, it has a diamestic and diaphasic limitation, as it is composed only of written texts (printed in Hebrew aljami) of non-religious subject matter, and it is also limited chronologically, as it covers half a century, from 1880 to 1930. If interested in this corpus, contact Dr. Ángel Berenguer Amador.

5. EXMARaLDA is a system for working with oral corpora on a computer. It consists of a transcription and annotation tool (Partitur-Editor), a tool for managing corpora (Corpus-Manager) and a query and analysis tool (EXAKT). EXMARaLDA was developed in the project “Computer assisted methods for the creation and analysis of multilingual data” at the Collaborative Research Center “Multilingualism” at the University of Hamburg. Afterwards, development was continued at the Archive for Spoken German at the Institute for the German Language in Mannheim in cooperation with the Hamburg Centre for Language Corpora until 2021. EXMARaLDA is used in numerous projects building smaller and larger oral corpoa. EXMARaLDA is hosted as an open source project on GitHub.


Faculties and Departments involved in CLARIN-CH

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

1. Seminar of Anglophone Linguistics and Literary Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Cognitive linguistics
  • Computer-mediated discourse
  • First language acquisition
  • Internet health communication (especially advice columns on health topics)
  • Interpersonal pragmatics and relational work
  • Language and politeness/impoliteness
  • Language and power
  • Language and disagreement
  • Language and advice
  • Language and emotions
  • Language typology
  • Language processing
  • Medical humanities
  • Narratives
  • Pragmatics of fiction and relational work (translation and subtitling)
  • Second language acquisition

2. Seminar of French Linguistics and Literary Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Corpus linguistics: oral, written, multimodal, media
  • Conversation Analysis
  • Ecology, context, situation
  • Embodiment
  • Emergence (development, learning, change, grammaticalization)
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Grammar in interaction
  • Identity and categorisations (social, professional, ethnic, generic belonging)
  • Interactional Linguistics
  • Materiality, body and language
  • Multilingual Interactions
  • Multilingual practices, code-switching, in lingua franca, oral translation
  • Multimodality (language, gestures, gaze, facial expression, posture, movements, manipulation of objects) and video analysis
  • Multimodality and multisensoriality
  • Organisation of social interaction
  • Research methodology: field, recording, transcription, corpus
  • Video recordings and multimodal transcripts
  • Workplace and institutional settings

3. Seminar of German Linguistics and Literary Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Cognitive linguistics
  • Corpus linguistic
  • Cultural analytical linguistics
  • First language acquisition
  • Interactional analysis
  • Language typology
  • Language processing
  • Language change
  • Lexicography
  • Language history
  • Linguistic theories (syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
  • Media linguistics
  • Multimodal text analysis (text-image relations)
  • Place names
  • Second language acquisition
  • Standardisation and norming of the German language
  • Stylistics
  • Swiss dialectology
  • Text Linguistics
  • Writing research

4. Seminar of Ibero-Romance Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Colloquial language
  • Contacts between varieties of Spanish
  • Discourse analysis in general, and in particular
  • Expression of humour in the Spanish language
  • Glotopolitics
  • History of the Spanish language
  • Judeo-Spanish
  • Language and migration
  • Linguistic ideologies
  • Pragmatics
  • Press language
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Spanish in Africa, especially in Equatorial Guinea
  • Spanish in contact with other languages
  • Syntax
  • Sephardic philology
  • Television discourse
  • Verbal manipulation

5. Seminar of Italian Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Functional grammar
  • Italian linguistics
  • Language typology
  • Legal-administrative language
  • Pragmatics: implicitness and anaphoric phenomena
  • Punctuation
  • Syntax
  • Swiss institutional Italian
  • Text linguistics
  • Written and spoken language

6. Seminar of Nordic Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Genre interferences
  • Historical and cultural narratology
  • Icelandic literature of the pre-modern period
  • Mediality and Materiality
  • Pre-modern textuality
  • Scripture and scriptural reflection

7. Seminar of Slavic Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Bilingualism and multilingualism
  • Intercultural communication
  • Polish linguistics
  • Theory and didactics of second language acquisition

Current research projects

1.The project Becoming novelistic. Scandinavian prose literature of the late pre-modern period (Prof. Lena Rohrbach Seminar of Nordistik, in collaboration with Prof. Klaus Müller-Wille from the University of Zurich) is funded by the SNSF. Th project takes a broad look at the transmission of narrative literature in the transition from pre-modern to modern times in the Scandinavian countries. The project is dedicated to a transitional phase of Scandinavian literary history that has received little attention in research to date and benefits from the combination of Scandinavian medievalist and New Scandinavian expertise of the two applicants. The object of investigation is the prose tradition of the long 18th century from Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, which will be examined for new narrative forms that can be read as novelistic development in the sense of Mikhail Bakhtin. The exemplary processing of the material, which has remained almost unnoticed in research, is to be used for the development of a series of theoretically pointed questions, which relate questions of historical narratology and historical mediology to each other in the direction of the formation of a mediologically oriented historical narratology.[2020-2023].

2. The project Competence levels of oral argumentation among schoolchildren (KompAS) (Prof. Martin Luginbühl, Seminar of Anglophone Linguistics and Literary Studies) investigates how children in grades 2, 4 and 6 argue orally - i.e. whether and how they initiate argumentation, whether and how they give reasons, what types of reasons they give, how they mark agreement and disagreement, or how they increasingly realise complex argumentation together. For this purpose, the project analyses a total of 180 filmed interactions of four children each from the same class who orally work on an experimental argumentation task. Based on the analysis of individual examples, central features of oral argumentation in all conversations are evaluated with statistical methods, so that insights are also possible which a qualitative analysis alone would not allow; the development of graphical procedures also makes it possible to make structures of conversation processes visible, thus supporting the analyses and revealing new aspects. In this way, typical competencies and strategies (but also their range) can be described that are to be expected in oral argumentation at different grade levels.

3. The project DIS-AGREE is under the direction of the University of Freiburg and is being implemented jointly with the Universities of Basel (Prof. Miriam Locher from the Seminar of Anglophone Linguistics and Literary Studies as well as all the linguists of the Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies), Haute-Alsace and Strasbourg. The aim is to bring together current research approaches at the four universities in three countries on the topic of “(dis)agreement & (dis)alignment” (i.e. conflict potentials in conversations) and to develop them further with innovative methods in multimodality and multimedia. A special focus will be placed on the question of how moments of conflict are negotiated in interaction by means of linguistic and physical resources. The project is supported by Eucor - The European Campus with “Seed Money” in the funding line “Research and Innovation”.

4. The project From multimodality to multisensoriality: Language, Body, and Sensoriality in Social Interaction (intSenses) (Prof. Lorenza Mondada, Seminar of French Linguistics and Literary Studies) is funded by the SNSF and it aims at exploring issues in language and the body beyond classical multimodal analysis, by tackling multisensoriality and how the five senses feature in social interaction. It focuses on the question of how sensory practices are organized in social interaction. The challenge is to expand current work on multimodality within the new field of multisensoriality, paving the way for new empirical and conceptual reflections about the intersubjectivity of sensations. More specifically the project investigates practices of tasting, touching and smelling in a diversity of settings. Empirical data document a variety of food activities, from the foraging, production, buying of food to its preparation, consumption and evaluation, considered as a perspicuous setting to observe how sensoriality features in social, ordinary, professional, and institutional practices [2018-2023].

5. The project Human Sociality in the Age of Covid-19 (Prof. Lorenza Mondada, Seminar of French Linguistics and Literary Studies) aims at understanding both the foundations of embodied social interaction as revealed by the pandemic and the specific embodied conducts the pandemics has generated. In this sense the project addresses both fundamental theoretical issues and contingent issues contributing to a better understanding of the current uncertain historical moment. In this context, we want to spotlight how social, interpersonal, as well as formal relationships between persons coming and acting together in everyday life and work are changing. The project was launched at the very beginning of the pandemics, in March 2020, by Lorenza Mondada together with Sofian Bouaouina, Guillaume Gauthier, Philipp Hänggi, Yeji Lee, Mizuki Koda, Julia Schneerson, Hanna Svensson, Burak Tekin [2020-2023].


6. The project Improving the visibility of Equatorial Guinea as a Spanish-speaking country (Prof. Sandra Schlumpf-Thurnherr, Seminar of Ibero-Romance Studies) is funded by the SNSF and aims at filling the existing research gap about Equatorial Guinea and at improving its visibility as part of the global Hispanophone world. Its main objective is to generate modern sociolinguistic and dialectological language descriptions of Equatoguinean Spanish through the collection and analysis of sociolinguistic guideline interviews and linguistic tests and questionnaires in different parts of Equatorial Guinea (Island of Bioko and mainland Río Muni). The interview transcripts will constitute the first modern and digital corpus of spoken Equatoguinean Spanish. Digital analyses of specific linguistic features combined with the results from the tests and questionnaires will allow to elaborate modern dialectological descriptions of the Equatoguinean variety of Spanish. Like this, the project will be able to propose an updated classification of the Equatoguinean Spanish (or the continuum of varieties) and to get a more accurate view on its role within the Hispanophone world. Further, the interview corpus will make sociolinguistic analyses on language perception, attitudes and ideologies possible and provide important insights into the self-positioning of Equatoguineans as Spanish-speakers.[ 2021-2025]


7.The project It-Ist_CH Swiss institutional Italian: analysis, evaluation, perspectives (Prof. Angela Ferrari from the Seminar of Italian Linguistics and Literary Studies) is funded by the SNSF. The project has the aim to describe the linguistic, textual, pragmatic and variational characteristics of Swiss institutional Italian, i.e. the variety of Italian written by the federal and cantonal authorities in Ticino and Graubünden [2020-2024].


8.The project Listing and lists in French and Spanish conversational interactions (Dr. Philip Dankel, Seminar of Anglophone Linguistics and Literary Studies) is financed by university funds. Lists are a recurrent phenomenon in everyday conversation and have common structural features. Listing can be considered a universal, language-independent practice for the structuring of ideas and show to be a resource for a variety of purposes in interaction. Considering their omnipresence, they have received relatively little attention in interactional research, especially in French and Spanish conversational interactions. The main purpose of this project therefore is to analyze lists in different conversational context as complex structures that are oriented to by speakers and recipients as holistic entities. It contributes to constructional, prosodic and narrative properties of listing. Its main focus lies on multimodal aspects of list constructions. [2016-2023]


9.The project Pragmatics of Fiction: Lay subtitling and online communal viewing (Prof. Miriam Locher, Seminar of Anglophone Linguistics and Literary Studies) offers a new pragmatic perspective onto processes and products of subtitling. Its central foci are the role of English in making televised Korean dramas accessible to a global audience; the changing paradigms of subtitle production and reception towards more participatory and collaborative practices; the dynamic participation structures of translated artefacts and their effects on cross-cultural communication. While the project draws on research in translation, it is grounded in English linguistics, the pragmatics of fiction and computer-mediated communication. Our aim is to bring linguistic questions about language in use to this research interface.


10. The project Punctuation uncovered. A dialogue with translators, teachers, students, writers, journalists, lawyers, web operators, publishers, politicians, . . . (AGORA) (Prof. Angela Ferrari from the Seminar of Italian Linguistics and Literary Studies) is based on the results of two completed SNSF research projects that focused on Italian punctuation in both synchronic and diachronic perspective. Their main findings are the following: (i) punctuation is not a secondary linguistic level, but a primary linguistic level that contributes to the construction of the meaning of the text; (ii) punctuation is not immutable, it is not the same in all languages; it changes in time and space. Italian punctuation has changed considerably over the last 50 years and is profoundly different from, for example, German punctuation. To demonstrate these results, the most relevant and clear phenomena have been selected to be submitted to an audience. For example, the fact that not more than 100 years ago, the comma was used in Italian on a strictly syntactic basis, whereas today its use is based on communicative-textual regularities. The aim of the AGORA project is to publicly discuss these findings and other related problems with an audience of professional writers and L1 students, by organising seminars, round tables and educational activities. This will be achieved by organising five events, taking place in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland (Ticino) over an 18-month period, i.e. approximately one every three months. The target audience belongs to the following categories: journalists from Italian-speaking Switzerland and Italy; literary authors from Italian-speaking Switzerland and Italy; administrators of social pages dedicated to the Italian language; Italian translators working in Italian-speaking Switzerland and elsewhere in Switzerland; teachers and secondary school students from Italian-speaking Switzerland and Italy [2022-2026].


11. The project Segmentations of the written and spoken text in contemporary Italian is a research cooperation between the University of Basel and the University of Florence, and it is directed by Angela Ferrari (University of Basel) and Massimo Moneglia (University of Florence). The aim of the project is to compare the model for analysing writing developed at the University of Basel with the model for analysing speech developed at the University of Florence, so as to be able to develop a “text grammar” that allows us to grasp the differences between contemporary written textuality and contemporary spoken textuality. Attention is paid, on the one hand, to the semantic-pragmatic structure of the text and, on the other, to the linguistic devices chosen by the Italian language to signal it. In this perspective, the analysis of the relationships between punctuation and prosody, such as the analysis of pragmatic connectives, is particularly important.


12.The project Solothurn Book of Local and Rural Names aims to collect and explain all place names and field names of the Canton of Solothurn and to publish the results in generally understandable, scientific name books. Current and historical, forgotten names will be equally considered and researched. Between 2008-2016, the project was affiliated to the University of Basel under the overall project Namenbuch der Nordwestschweiz, together with the Namenbuch der Gemeinden des Kantons Basel-Landschaft and the Orts- und Flurnamenbuch des Kantons Basel-Stadt. This umbrella organisation was headed by the German Seminar of the University of Basel under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Annelies Häcki Buhofer, in close cooperation with the heads of the individual cantonal projects. Each research unit plans its own publications, tailored to the needs of the local funders and the defined goals. The projects in the cantons of Basel-Land and Basel-Stadt were completed in 2016, while the Solothurn project continues to be affiliated with the German Seminar at the University of Basel under the direction of Prof. Hans Bickel. In the course of many years of research, an extensive collection of material has been created. The evaluation of about 2,500 sources at about 60 different locations in Switzerland has resulted in a database with over 280,000 records for place names, field names and, in some cases, personal names. These records are divided into about 37,000 individual names, almost 70,000 localisations and are subdivided into about 5,000 lemmas.


13.The project The five first words. Multilingual cities in Switzerland and Belgium and the grammar of language choice in public space (sponsored by the SNF, directed by Lorenza Mondada at the Seminar of French Linguistics and Literary Studies, and complemented by an equivalent sister project funded by FWO/Belgium directed by Elwys De Stefani at KU Leuven) deals with encounters between unacquainted persons occur spontaneously and ubiquitously in contemporary communities. It addresses how do individuals co-present in a shared space become participants in interaction, and how do they manage the practical problem of entering into interaction without knowing which language the other speaks. Based on a video-corpus collected in several European countries (Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy), this research project investigates embodied and multilingual practices in a variety of settings, thereby addressing three fields of investigation: openings of social encounters, multilingual talk “as it happens”, and gatherings in public space. It examines the diversity of resources individuals deploy to move into focused interaction with each other and by that means elucidates how embodied conduct and language choices are sensitive to how individuals socially categorise each other. This project takes a novel approach to examining how individuals engage in interaction in settings where multilingualism is at stake, e.g., because of history and given language policies, tourism, cosmopolitan work culture, etc. It provides a situated and detailed analysis of such encounters from an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective. [2019-2023]

resources/unibas.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/15 22:29 by Cristina Grisot