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Prof. Dr. phil. Rainer Schulze

Telefon:+49 511 762 4749
Fax:+49 511 762 3229
Anschrift:Königsworther Platz 1, 30167 Hannover
Raum: 717 (1502)
Sprechzeiten:Office hours during term: Monday, 12 - 13 / Please sign up using the list of free slots on StudIP


  • Mitarbeiter/-innen des Englischen... - Professorinnen/Professoren - Leitung Sprachwissenschaft
  • Beauftragte und Ansprechpersonen für... - Fachstudienberatung - MA DEL (ehem. FAL)
  • Beauftragte und Ansprechpersonen für... - Fachstudienberatung - Magister Sprachwissenschaft
  • Englisches Seminar - Vorstand




A world without linguistics is

like an Indian curry without spices.


My current research focuses on

the re-interpretation of modalising expressions or modalisers in English (modal auxiliaries, secondary modals,  modal adjuncts,  intensional verbs, attitudinal verbs, subjunctive mood, imperative mood, and selected lexical expressions) in an attempt to incorporate their meaning and function in a usage-based or  constructional framework.


This topic interests me because

particular diagnostic tools currently available in linguistics enable  scholars to look and go beyond decontextualized analyses that have shaped the field so far.


If I wasn’t a linguist, I’d be

a vicar or a teacher. It's the only thing I'd be qualified to do. 


I became a linguist for

at least three reasons. First, I love languages and looking for  similarities and dissimilarities between them has always been fascinating in school. Second, by studying the structure of languages we are studying something about the structure of the human mind and experiences gained in early childhood and adolescence; thus, I have strongly been attracted by the joint interaction of verbalization and human experience Thirdly, I appreciate the ways and methodologies linguists have developed in order to unravel the implicit or unsaid in language.


The scope of linguistics, and in English linguistics in particular,

has been expanded at the  end of the 20th century. 20th century linguistics was predominantly concerned with the analysis of language structure, as shown in the domains of phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Although linguistic structuralism has never really been extinct, linguistics nowadays places greater attention on the relationship between language form and its psychological, cognitive and social context. In other words: former decontextualized linguistics has shifted to contextualized linguistics. New directions in linguistic research explore, for example, how language use is affected and constrained in its social and cognitive context. Usage-based models in linguistics focus their attention on joint actions of communicators, issues of social cognition, conceptualization of experience, memory and learning, cultural transmission and evolution, shared knowledge and practice in communities and demographic processes in human history. The study of language in its pragmatic, cognitive and social context, beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, is now converging on a new perspective on language in the 21st century, accompanied by new research methods, with a strong empirical focus, such as collecting ethnographic and sociolinguistic data, participant observation and social network analysis, designing and conducting interviews and questionnaires, using databases as corpora, analyzing phonetic and phonological variation, applying typological methods, applying multifactorial analysis, quantifying variation, identifying multi-dimensional patterns of variation across registers, etc.