Projects


Sprachkompass suffizientes Handeln

 

Zwischen August 2018 bis voraussichtlich Juli 2021 wird in Wien und Bern ein anwendungsorientiertes diskurs- und ökolinguistisches Forschungsprojekt durchgeführt, das die Stiftung Mercator Schweiz finanziert. Die Diskurslinguistik hat in den letzten Jahren neue Erkenntnisse über den Zusammenhang von Sprache, Denken und Handeln zutage gefördert. Wie wir unsere Umwelt und andere Menschen wahrnehmen, ist wesentlich – und nicht selten unbewusst – durch die Art und Weise geprägt, wie wir sie sprachlich erfassen und darstellen. Das Projekt Sprachkompass suffizientes Handeln untersucht relevante öffentliche Diskurse zu den Themen Mobilität (Alltagsverkehr und touristisches Reisen) und Ernährung im Hinblick auf ihre erkenntnis- und handlungsleitende WirkungEs erforscht, in welcher Weise die verwendeten sprachlichen Darstellungsformen zu einem suffizienten Umgang mit den natürlichen Ressourcen anleiten oder diesen behindern. Die Ergebnisse werden über verschiedene Kommunikationsformate ausgewählten Zielgruppen und einem breiten Publikum zugänglich gemacht und erlangen so gesellschaftliche Wirkung.

Die Hauptträgerinstitution des Projekts ist das Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) der Universität Bern. In Wien ist das Projekt am Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Wien angesiedelt.

Projektleitung: Dr. Hugo Caviola (Bern, Projektleitung), Ass.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Martin Reisigl (Wien, stellvertretende Projektleitung)
Projektmitarbeiter:
Mag. Andrea Sabine Sedlaczek (Wien, Assistenz), Mike Weibel, MA (Bern, Kommunikationsberatung), Dr. Anne Zimmermann (Bern, Nachhaltigkeitsberatung), Dipl. Ing. Hans Weiss (Bern, Kulturingeneur, v.a. in den Bereichen Landschaftsschutz und Raumplanung), Dipl. Ing. Andreas Kläy (Bern, Nachhaltigkeitsexperte)
Laufzeit: August 2018 – laufend
Das Projekt ist ein Nachfolgeprojekt des Projekts Sprachkompass Landschaft (http://www.sprachkompass.ch).


The Characters that shaped the Silk Road

A Database and Digital Paleography of Tarim Brahmi

From the 2nd century CE on, Buddhist communities and monasteries developed along the trade routes of the ancient Silk Road in and around the Tarim Basin in today’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. These were centers of writing, copying, translating, and transmitting texts similar to the monasteries in medieval Europe.

The old Indo-European languages Sanskrit, Tocharian, and Saka were the major languages of the monasteries in the Tarim Basin. The most important writing system these languages were written in was a special Central Asian variety of the Indian Brahmi script. The earliest material written in this Tarim Brahmi is among the oldest attested Buddhist texts. Most of the material written in Tarim Brahmi is scattered over different editions and not digitally searchable.

It is the goal of the project to make all texts written in Tarim Brahmi available to paleographic investigation in an online database.

The project centers on the question of who wrote what, when, where, and how. These classical issues of paleography so far can only be applied to a small portion of the material or have only been addressed rudimentarily.

The project aims at answering these questions by means of a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The database will combine linguistic, philological, and paleographic data. It will directly link the texts with their digital images. This will make it possible to search for specific characters, ligatures, and words in the entire corpus. Additionally, the quantifiable features of all characters, ligatures, and words will be extracted and compared using software tools. This will, for the first time, make it possible to identify scribes, scribal schools, as well as regional and diachronic variants of Tarim Brahmi.

Almost all texts of the languages written in Tarim Brahmi are in a fragmentary state. Therefore, one of the most important results of the project will be that the countless smaller fragments will be able to be joined together based on objective paleographic criteria. The new texts, contexts, and word forms will lead to new linguistic and philological insights for Sanskrit, Tocharian, and Saka.

Since the paleography will also shed light on the dating and localization of texts it will provide new perspectives on regional, social, and diachronic layers of the languages and texts. This will in turn elucidate the relationship between languages and texts, which will provide insights into the origin and evolution of literacy along the Silk Road and have important consequences for the understanding of the transmission of Buddhism in Central Asia and, from there, to China.

Projektleitung: Hannes A. Fellner
Projektmitarbeiter: 
Bernhard Koller, Martin Braun
Kollaboration: Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ACDH), Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW)
Finanzierung: FWF, START Programm
Laufzeit: Februar 2018 – laufend


Unalternative Constraints Cross-Linguistically

 

The project "Unalternative Constraints Cross-Linguistically" uses methods from logical semantics and pragmatics to develop a cross-linguistically valid framework for the modelling of focussing, the linguistic signalling of emphasis through stress, melody, morphology or word order.

Even though our cross-linguistic knowledge of grammatical focussing devices has significantly expanded in recent decades, very little of this knowledge has informed the development of the formal apparatus. The project aims to fill this gap, by exploring a new technique of relating grammatical focussing to interpretation, so-called Unalternative Semantics (UAS).

The project applies this formalism to known puzzles in the theory of focus (among them overfocussing, discontinuous foci, the thetic-categorical distinction, contrast vs. anaphoric deaccenting), to previously unformalized focus related phenomena in the standard European languages (additional intermediate phrase boundaries, double focussing, focus/givenness movement a.o.), and, centrally, distinct focus realization strategies in non-European languages such as focus position, ‘un-focus positions’, morphological and syntactic focus markers and others. It aims to develop a formalism that is more adequate, more versatile and ultimately more predictive than existing versions of focus semantic, one which allows the incorporation of currently only informally (if at all) described cross-linguistic phenomena into a coherent formal framework.

Methodologically, the project combines the systematic collection and elicitation of primary linguistic data, written and recorded, with cutting edge formalizing and theorizing, using the familiar tools (and methods) of logical semantics and formal pragmatics.

Projektleitung: Daniel Büring
Projektteam: Muriel Assmann und Izabela Jordanoska
Finanzierung: FWF
Laufzeit: Dezember 2016 – Oktober 2019