My present areas of research include a project on the “Analyticisation of the Indigenous Languages of Great Britain and Ireland.” This focuses on the typological shift of the following languages: English, Scots, Ulster Scots, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. The ultimate research question is why the speakers of these languages, which 1500 years ago were still fully inflected, gave up using inflections and thereby restructured their languages along analytical lines. This also relates to the question why English, of all the Germanic languages, lends itself so well as the language of global communication. At the moment, I focus on the comparative degrees of syntheticity and analycity of the abovementioned languages.
Support: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Sachbeihilfe, 01.10.2006 - 30.09.2010)
In the past, I directed two major longterm research projects. In Freiburg (1985-1996), I directed a research project on the ‘Oral and the Written in Early Irish Literature, with special reference to Táin Bó Cuailnge’ (Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit in der frühen irischen Literatur, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des ‘Rinderraubes von Cuailnge’) within the framework of the Government funded arts project on ‘Orality and Literacy in Tension and Transition’ (Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit: Spannungsfelder und Übergänge). In Potsdam, I directed a research project on the Celtic Englishes (1995-2006).
Support: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): Ausbildungsstipendium Irland (DIAS, Trinity College Dublin 1972/3), DFG Habilitationsstipendium (1978-1980), Sonderforschungsbereich 321 (1985-1996), the Minister of Science and Research of the Land Brandenburg, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, Fritz Thyssen Foundation.