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The University of Neuchâtel is represented in the CLARIN-CH Consortium by Prof. Martin Hilpert, from the Institute of English Studies.


The community from the University of Neuchâtel 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 ORFEUS 1527-1559 databasis consists of the Correspondence of Cardinal Jean Du Bellay, published under the supervision of Prof. Loris Petris (Institute of French Language and Civilization). The ORFEUS data basis provides the essential information (numbering of the letter, date, place, author, addressee, publication, archival source, incipit) of each letter received or sent by Jean Du Bellay and published in the volume by Bourrilly and Vaissière (1905), the two volumes published by R. Scheurer (1969; 1973) and the five volumes edited by L. Petris and R. Scheurer.


2. Le glossaire du patois de la Suisse Romande. As the other three national vocabularies of the Swiss Confederation, its mission is to document the dialects of its linguistic domain as completely as possible, to carry out a lexicological analysis of them and to make this analysis accessible to the public and to the scientific world in the form of a large-scale dialectal dictionary that can now be consulted online.

3. OFROM (the Oral corpus of French from French-speaking Switzerland). OFROM is a text-sound aligned corpus, orthographically transcribed in Praat. It consists of 64 hours of recordings, 342 speakers and more than 1’000’000 words. The corpus is freely available under Creative Commons licence CC BY NC SA 4.0.

Faculties and Institutes involved in CLARIN-CH

Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

1. Institute of English Studies

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Cognitive linguistics
  • Construction grammar
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Language change

2. Institute of French Language and Civilization

Areas of expertise:

  • Corpus linguistics
  • Didactics of French as a foreign language
  • European literature, rhetoric and cultural history in the Renaissance and the early modern period (14th-17th centuries)
  • Francophone literature and Western-Eastern relations
  • French translations of the Bible
  • French grammar-syntax and semantics
  • History of language
  • History and linguistic analysis of Protestant preaching (16th-18th century)
  • Language comparison
  • Law and literature, especially among magistrate-writers
  • Linguistic variation
  • Modern language didactics
  • Regional French
  • Spoken French
  • Syntax and discourse in the 16th century

3. Institute of Language Sciences

3.1. Glossary of the patois of French-speaking Switzerland (GPRS)

Areas of expertise:
Based in Neuchâtel, the GPRS is one of the four national vocabularies of the Swiss Confederation and it:

  • Describes the patois vocabulary as documented by the GPRS materials;
  • Includes the related Romansh terms;
  • Mentions some old attestations of these words, extracted from documents written before 1800, in patois, French or Latin;
  • Provides a large number of place names and family names from the French-speaking part of Switzerland which have their source in the linguistic diversity of the region.
3.2. Center of Dialectology and The Observatory of French in French-speaking Switzerland (OFRS))

Areas of expertise:

  • Franco-Provençal and Oïlic dialects
  • Gallo-Roman dialectology
  • Regional varieties of French in French-speaking Switzerland
3.3. Center of Applied Linguistics

Areas of expertise:

  • Grammar and interaction
  • Interactional linguistics (conversational analysis, anaphora, reference, topic and focus)
  • Institutional interactions (language classroom, research interview)
  • Second language acquisition (social interaction, acquisition and situated cognition)
3.4. Center of French Linguistics

Areas of expertise:

  • Argumentation
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Digital Humanities
  • Discourse connectives
  • Modality
  • Rhetoric
  • Romance languages
  • Statistical methods and tools
  • Stylistics
3.5. The SNSF team in Historical Linguistics

Areas of expertise:

  • Ancient Indo-European languages
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Computational methods and tools
  • Didactics of ancient languages
  • Digital Humanities
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Modality

4. Institute of German Language and Literature

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Cognitive grammar
  • Constructional grammar
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Language change and grammaticalization
  • Syntax and morphology of German

5. Institute of Spanish Language and Literature

Areas of expertise in the field of Linguistics:

  • Constitution and history of the linguistic norm
  • Hispano-American historical morphosyntax
  • History of the Spanish language in America
  • Historical phraseology of Spanish
  • Medieval history of Hispanic Romance languages
  • Orality and writing in ancient documents
  • Spanish-American lexicology and lexicography
  • Spanish-American enlightenment
  • Transcription and elaboration of documentary sources

6. Institute of Communication and Cognition Sciences

Areas of expertise:

  • Argumentation
  • Cognitive anthropology
  • Cognitive sociology
  • Childhood socialization
  • Developmental pragmatics
  • Developmental psychology
  • Discourse analysis
  • Experimental pragmatics
  • French linguistics
  • Mixed methods (ethnography, experimental psychology, ethology)
  • Pragmatics
  • Pragmatics and cognition
  • Politeness and face-management
  • Political, journalistic and scientific rhetoric
  • Semantics
  • Semantics-pragmatics interface (speaker commitment, presuppositions, indexicality, contextual enrichment, procedurality, expressivity)
  • Social cognition

7. Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences

Areas of expertise:

  • Discourse, referential adjustment and underlying cognitive skills (theory of mind, executive functions) in healthy and pathological aging
  • Flexional morphology, time reference and underlying cognitive skills (declarative and procedural memory, executive functions) in aphasia and neurodegenerative disorders
  • The interplay between language and cognition, both in healthy adults and in acquired language disorders of vascular and neurodegenerative origin
  • Development, validation and standardization of clinical tests to detect or diagnose language disorders associated with vascular or neurodegenerative origin
  • Language acquisition and disorders, especially in early childhood and in multilingual children
  • Phonological acquisition and processing in normal-hearing and deaf children

Faculty of Sciences

1. Institute of Statistics

Areas of expertise:

  • Estimation methods in finite populations
  • Foundations of inference in finite populations
  • Precision estimation in complex designs
  • Research on planning techniques with auxiliary information
  • Sample coordination
  • Treatment of measurement errors (non-response)
  • Unequal probability designs

2. Institute of Informatics

Areas of expertise:

  • Computational linguistics
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Corpus statistics
  • Cross-language information systems (European and Asian languages)
  • Machine learning
  • Web information retrieval systems and its applications

Current research projects


1. The projects Methods of annotation and exploitation of paraliterary corpora for analysis in diachronic linguistics (Prof. Carine Skupien, Institute of French Language and Civilization) project targets the analysis and semi-automatic exploitation of text corpora of pre-classical and classical French, in a diachronic linguistic approach, history of paraliterary genres and discourse analysis in diachrony. This project has resulted into several audio documents useful for teaching French as foreign language.

2.The project The argumentative patterns of modal forms. A corpus based study comparing French and Italian (Prof. Corinne Rossari, Institute of French linguistics, SNSF funded) aims at identifying and describing all possible argumentative patterns for modal forms in two Romance languages, French and Italian, in genres representing informative discourse and at different diachronic stages of the language: the 20th/21st, 19th and 18th centuries. By exploiting the resources of digital humanities, adopting a corpus-based approach and using statistical methods and calculations, we intend to provide a synchronic, diachronic and comparative cross-language representation of how the inherent features of modal forms and the argumentative patterns in which these forms preferentially appear influence each other in informational discourse.

3.The project A world of possibilities. Modal pathways over an extra-long period of time: the diachrony of modality in the Latin language - WoPoss (Prof. Francesca Dell’Oro, Institute of Language Sciences, the SNSF Team in Historical Linguistics) aims at reconstructing the evolution of modal meanings from the prehistory of the Latin language up to the 7th century CE. The WoPoss corpus consists of texts that are selected in terms of representativeness in order to track the variations in the uses of modal markers: the diversity of text types guarantees that any potential source of knowledge about (socio-)linguistic variation is covered.

4. The project Latin and French corpora: a factory for access to knowledge representation (Prof. Francesca Dell’Oro and Prof. Corinne Rossari, Institute of Language Sciences) is funded by the Empiris foundation (Jakob Wüest funding). The keystone of this project is the creation of comparable corpora in Latin and French from which it will be possible to study the way in which knowledge is represented in both languages. Modality will receive a close examination; thus, these corpora will contain analytical information concerning the grammatical and lexical features that codify the attitude of the speakers in relation to their utterances. The corpora will be published in a support that will enable systematic queries and statistical analyses.

5.The project Interplay of word formation and syntax: Nominalisation strategies in verbonominal constructions and secondary prepositions (Prof. Elena Smirnova, Institute of German Language and Literature) aims to investigate the nominalisations themselves and the complex constructions with these nominalisations in order to uncover important and systematic connections between these phenomena.

6.The project Temporality and Verbal Inflectional Morphology in French: How Does Inflectional Marking Reflect Abilities in Time Reference? (Prof. Marion Fossard, Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences) aims to investigate the processes that make it possible to transform extralinguistic, conceptual information (related to temporality) into grammatical information related to the conjugation of verbs, i.e. the fact of associating the appropriate verb ending with the verb. The target populations studied are Alzheimer and aphasic patients. The project is carried out in collaboration with McGill University, CHUV and the University of Geneva.

7.The project The role of theory of mind in generating feedback in dialogue (Prof. Marion Fossard, Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences) aims to identify factors that may enhance or inhibit the production of feedback during the interaction, such as the theory of mind. The working hypothesis will be that an individual with a good theory of mind capacity is able to identify the moments and situations where his/her dialogue partner needs to receive feedback - directly contributing to the success of the interaction. Conversely, an individual with poorer theory of mind skills is less able to identify the times and situations when their dialogue partner needs to receive feedback - potentially leading to the failure of the interaction. The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Lille, the University of Laval and the University of Poitiers.

8. The project Validation and normalization of the Italian and German version of the DTLA (Detection Test for Language Impairments (Prof. Marion Fossard, Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences) aims to develop DTLA - a screening tool available for French, which allows to identify the presence of a language disorder more rapidly and also more precisely in adults with neurodegenerative disorders. The project aims to validate and standardize the DTLA in two of the official Swiss languages: German and Italian. The project is carried out in collaboration with FORS, Luzerner Kantonspital, Spitalzemtrum Biel, University of Laval.

9. The project Crocodile (Prof. Katrin Skoruppa, Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences) aims to investigate the language acquisition strategies, the communication skills, and the socio-emotional and cognitive development of monolingual and multilingual children, as well as the links between these different domains. The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Basel, the University of Bern and the University of Würzburg.

10. The project Predicting language outcomes in monolingual and bilingual children from processing measures in infancy: Towards a new tool for evaluating risk of language disorders in late-talking children (Prof. Katrin Skoruppa, Institute of Speech Therapy Sciences) aims to examine the relationship between these early skills and later language development in monolingual and multilingual children. It follow children from families speaking one or more languages from the age of 10 months to 3 years. The children’ ability to understand and produce sounds, words and sentences, and to learn new language structures is periodically measured through eye-tracker tasks, parental questionnaire data, and picture naming activities. The children’s early communication skills (e.g. language precursors such as gestures and joint attention) in a parent-infant exchange are also examined. The project is carried out in collaboration with the HE-Arc Neuchâtel.

11.The project Pragmatics meets epistemic vigilance: Explaining the development of irony comprehension (Prof. Diana Mazzarella, Institute of Communication and Cognition. SNSF Eccellenza Grant 2020-2025) aims to investigate the social cognition of language with a specific focus on verbal irony and attitude expression. First, it examines the developmental trajectory of the human ability to track others’ vigilance in the process of acquiring and propagating reliable information. Second, it investigates the role of this ability in scaffolding sophisticated communicative interactions, such as those involving verbal irony. The project is carried out in collaboration with University College London.

resources/unine.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/20 23:02 by Cristina Grisot