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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfänder

Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfänder

University of Freiburg
Interactional Linguistics and Multimodal Corpus Linguistics
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2017 - July 2018


In his doctoral and post-doctoral work, Stefan Pfänder has mainly been investigating the emergence of new languages (French based Creoles in the Caribbena and South America) or new varieties of European languages in contact (Andean Spanish in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador). Over the past years, Stefan Pfänder’s work has shifted its focus to the negotiation of linguistic forms and structures in bodily and web-based interaction (cf. PF 699/1-1 CIEL-F Corpus International und PF 699/4-1 Kontaktvarietäten/NCAT, both funded by the German Research Foundation). An interdisciplinary research project with social psychology on Retellings (funded by the F. Thyssen Foundation) was followed up a FRIAS senior fellowship and the successful co-acquisition of a Research Training Group funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG-GRK 1767 Faktuales & Fiktionales Erzählen). Third party funding was also vital for the establishment of a Retold Story Archive that comprises 400 narrations to date. 150 of those narrations have been realized in the form of video tapings of couples.

Selected Publications

  • Inheritance & Innovation in Language Creation. A usage-based account of French Guianese Creole, with W. Jennings, London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017
  • La descomunicación y sus remedios, with J. Wagner, Katatay Ediciones Buenos Aires, 2008.
  • Resonanz, Rhythmus & Synchronisierung: Interaktionen in Alltag, Therapie und Kunst, ed. with T. Breyer, M. Buchholz, A. Hamburger & E. Schumann, Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag 2017
  • Wiedererzählen – Formen und Funktionen einer kulturellen Praxis, ed. with E. Schumann, E. Gülich & G. Lucius,  Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag, 2015.
  • Zur interaktiven Konstitution von Empathie im Gesprächsverlauf. Ein Beitrag aus der Sicht der linguistischen Gesprächsforschung, with E. Gülich, in Breyer, T. (ed.): Grenzen der Empathie: Philosophische, psychologische und anthropologische Perspektiven, München, 2013, 433-457.
  • Fishing for affiliation. The French double causal construction ‘parce que comme’ from a dialogical perspective, in Günthner, S. Imo, W. & Bücker, J. (ed.), Grammar and dialogism: Sequential, syntactic and prosodic patterns between emergence and sedimentation, Berlin, 2014, 241-268.

FRIAS Project

Synchronization in Embodied Interaction

In embodied interaction, participants achieve resonance by drawing on a variety of embodied resources that include but are not limited to body sway, gestures, gaze, and speech. A large variety of resonance phenomena can be empirically identified and operationalized in terms of the synchronization of bodily movements that are temporally attuned both across interactants and across the different modes of expression of an individual. Our research questions are contextualized within the broader perspective of research in interaction, with a focus on pragmatic aspects of communication.

Drawing from the fields of linguistics, psychology, and cultural studies, we will conduct an interdisciplinary investigation into aspects of synchronization that enables us to produce a sustainable, competitive body of preliminary work for an interdisciplinary grant application. This will put Freiburg University on the map of the rapidly evolving research paradigm of embodied interaction.

For further information about the project and group members, please visit