Patterns of repetition in language use


International Workshop of the Research projects “What’s up, Switzerland?” and “What’s up, Germany?”
15./16. January 2018,
at the University of Leipzig,
Vortragssaal der Bibliotheca Albertina, Beethovenstr. 6


Workshop Convenors
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (University of Leipzig)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (University of Zurich)

Invited speakers:
Martin Salzmann, University of Leipzig: "What doubling can tell us about grammar"
Jannis Androutsopoulos (Hamburg): "Repetition and contrast in digital interaction: evidence from multilingual social networking" 
Isabelle Buchstaller, University of Leipzig: "Individual patterns in language use across the life span"

Program and abstracts as download:


Topic and research questions

Repetition in language is a riddle: On the one hand, it increases redundancy and thus helps the message to come across, on the other hand, it is costly for the speaker and contradicts the overall goal of an efficient encoding process. From a structuralist point of view, it is incompatible with a conception of language as a consistent system with all (meaningful) elements standing in functional opposition to each other. Doubling phenomena are, however frequent in the languages of the world, at least at the level of observation (e.g. Spanish: Le doy un libro a María, her.DAT-give1.SG. a book to Mary-DAT, ‘I give a book to Mary’), and repetition may serve various functions in interactionists accounts of language use. In interaction, we often refer back to central aspects of the message of our interlocutors to confirm understanding. Repetition is one possibile way of doing so, and we may either use our own linguistic form or take over (features of) the form used by our interlocutor. In this second case, repetition of foreign forms is part of an accommodation process that can change the individual's repertoire, his/her personal language use and, when it spreads within the community, it may even result in language change.

Keeping this in mind, the workshop intends to have a closer look at repetition phenomena in language use, with a (however not exclusive) focus on mobile written communication such as WhatsApp messages, in order to identify various functions of patterns of repetition.

Guiding questions of the discussion are:
What is doubled or repeated (features, forms, chunks, sentences)? How can linguistic theory account for repetition, and what does it tell us about language structure? Which aspects of repetition are central in interaction? Are there triggers for a repetition of foreign forms? How does repetition influence changes to an individual’s language use?




Monday, January 15th 2018

12.30   Welcome
13.00 – 14.00   Keynote: Jannis Androutsopoulos (Hamburg):
Repetition and contrast in digital interaction: evidence from multilingual social networking
14.00 – 14.15   SHORT BREAK
14.15 – 15.00   Gerrit Kentner (Frankfurt am Main):
From the phrase level down to the segmental tier: reduplication and repetition is pervasive in German
15.00 – 15.45   Samuel Felder (Leipzig):
Recurring language patterns in Swiss German WhatsApp chats. An analysis of individual and group-specific preferences
 15.45 – 17.15   BREAK
 17.15 – 18.00   Malte Rosemeyer (Leuven), Scott Schwenter (Ohio):
Echoic affirmative responses in Brazilian Portuguese
18.00 – 18.15   SHORT BREAK
18.15 – 19.15   Keynote: Isabelle Buchstaller (Duisburg-Essen):
Individual patterns in language use across the life span
19.30   Conference Dinner

Tuesday, January 16th 2018

09.00 – 10.00   Keynote: Martin Salzmann (Leipzig):
What doubling can tell us about grammar
10.00 – 10.30   SHORT BREAK
10.30 – 11.15   María Victoria Pavón Lucero (Madrid), Avellina Suñer Gratacós (Girona): Verb repetition strategies in temporal subordination
11.15 – 12.00   Franziska Stuntebeck (Zürich):
Repetition patterns in argument drop
12.00 – 13.30   LUNCH BREAK
 13.30 – 14.15   Tanmoy Bhattacharya (University of Delhi), Gourashyam Singh Hidam (University of Delhi):
Looks can be deceptive: Doubling and repetition in Meeteilon
14.15 – 15.00   Silvia Natale (Bern):
Left dislocations in Italian
15.00 – 15.30   COFFEE and FAREWELL

Conference dinner

If you want to participate at the conference dinner and have not yet heard from us, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



The call for papers is closed. Guests are very welcome. No registration and no fees required.

Organizing team

Samuel Felder (Leipzig)
Silvia Natale (Bern) 
Rossella Maraffino (Bern) 
Beat Siebenhaar (Leipzig) 
Elisabeth Stark (Zürich) 
Franziska Stuntebeck (Zürich) 
Simone Ueberwasser (Zürich)