My research is located at the semantics-pragmatics interface including both theoretical modelling as well as empirical methods. I wrote my dissertation on German cleft sentences in discourse. Currently, I am working on discourse expectations in relation to different linguistic phenomena.
In my dissertation, I investigated cleft sentences, mainly in German, from different perspectives, such as their function as expressing contrast, exhaustivity, marking focus, and especially how clefts contribute to the discourse structure. I propose that clefts are used to address a rather unexpected question in the context. I analyzed corpus examples of clefts in a wider context instead of constructed examples with no or little context.
Currently, I am extending the discourse model which I introduced in my PhD thesis and which aims to incorporate discourse expectations into a QUD-based discourse model. I am interested in how different linguistic phenomena, such as discourse particles, non-canonical word order, cleft constructions, etc., affect the expectations of the addressee about the further development of the discourse.
Me and my colleagues conducted experiments on exhaustivity of cleft sentences comparing German, Hungarian, French, and English (more details here). We used a novel mouse-driven picture verification/falsification task. Furthermore, I conducted several rating studies comparing clefts and definite descriptions, and clefts and canonical sentences. In general, I am interested in new experimental designs that aim for making the experimental set-up as natural as possible.