My research focuses on language practices at (multilingual) workplaces, language attitudes and ideologies, language contact and morphosyntactic variation. Further research interests include linguistic cultural heritage related to processes of indexicalization in the Ruhr region, thereby combining methodological approaches from interactional linguistics and variational linguistics.

Research Projects

The multilingual hospital. The Production of Migration through Language as Communicative and Social Infrastructure (PI Ch. Dimroth, starting 05/2024, University of Münster)

This project is led by Prof. Christine Dimroth and forms part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1604 „Production of Migration“ at Osnabrück University. The project investigates how German as a lingua franca variety is shaped through daily professional interaction by a multilingual community of practice. Analyses of language structure and change will be coupled with studies targeting the social interpretation of linguistic diversity. The aim is to understand the contribution of language to the production of migration-related meaning in an exemplary section of a migration society. Data will be collected from the multilingual nursing staff at a hospital ward in which long-established staff members collaborate with recently recruited staff members from abroad. A high degree of linguistic diversity and dynamism is to be expected, as the lingua franca of the team is the first language (L1) or part of an established multilingual repertoire (L2/1) for some, and a developing foreign or second language (L2) for others.

Groundbreaking language: the linguistic practices of mining communities as cultural heritage (with E. Ziegler, funded from 05/2022 – 10/2023, PSP Changes in Contemporary Societies, University of Duisburg-Essen)

The Ruhr Area can look back on a long and rich mining history, from which a mining culture, mining communities and a mining language (as one of the oldest in Germany) have emerged. Despite its importance as a symbol of collective identity, the language of miners and their communities has not yet received the recognition it enjoys in other countries such as England. Apart from the compilation of mining glossaries and a few exemplary studies, research has paid little attention to linguistic practices in mining communities, especially in the Ruhr Area, neither as intangible cultural heritage nor as a source of innovation for the surrounding regional varieties. In this context, we will examine whether and to what extent the current use of mining-specific expressions and constructions has changed from an indexical of social affiliation to a specific occupational group to an indexical of regional affiliation to the Ruhr Area, i.e., inhowfar has it lost its original connotation and marks a new sociolinguistic order. The dynamics of these linguistic practices and sociolinguistic processes will be documented, archived and analyzed with the participation of the relevant museums.

Contemporary and Historical Approaches to Multilingualism in the Industrial Sphere (with D. Hovens, P. Heikkinen, L. Kolehmainen, I. Luxenburger, M. Surakka & A. Wurm, Funded: 03/2024 – 02/2026 Research Council of Finland/German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD))

The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to generate new research-based knowledge about multilingualism in the industrial sector. By studying a variety of economic sectors, such as manufacturing (wood, metal) and mining (coal, ore) in different locations in Europe (e.g., Finland, the greater SaarLorLux region, and the Dutch-German border region), the project sheds light on the complex interplay of the linguistic and social effects of industry. From a linguistic point of view, industrial workplaces are particularly interesting because they are often a main driver of large-scale mobility and migration, and because industries tend to operate across national and linguistic borders. By combining theoretical and methodological approaches from translation studies, cultural studies/border studies, sociolinguistics and linguistic ethnography, the project brings together different perspectives that critically examine the ways in which multilingual resources are used, managed and negotiated in interaction in industrial settings in present and past.

Dissertation (Pecht 2021, Maastricht University, Netherlands, PhD-research funded by NWO/Talent Grant)

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.