PhD Student

Yinchun Bai Freiburg

Towards discourse markers
A cross-linguistic study of grammatical constructionalization

ErstbetreuerProf. Dr. Bernd Kortmann
ZweitbetreuerProf. Johan Van der Auwera
Beginn Promotion10/2011
Statusin Bearbeitung

Discourse markers have been investigated from different perspectives, quite intensively in synchronic studies of their functions and morpho-syntactic features in the light of discourse analysis (Schiffrin, 1987; Fraser, 1990, 1999, 2009; Blakemore, 2004; Aijmer, 2013), and to a lesser extent in diachronic studies of their developmental paths (Brinton, 2008; Heine, 2013). The present research project combines perspectives of the grammaticalization theory (Hopper and Traugott, 2003) with Construction Grammar (Goldberg, 1995, 2003, 2006) and addresses the following two major questions: (1) What processes of change does a linguistic element / construction go through and what possible motivations are working to lead them towards a discourse marker? (2) Are there cross-linguistic generalizations to be made about the development of discourse markers in terms of both their syntactic sources and their semantic-pragmatic paths? In order to approach these questions, the present project uses the English just me construction to examine which features / behaviors it exhibits on its way of becoming a discourse marker and raises a hypothesis that a similar model can be found in other (emergent) discourse markers. Further, the present project develops a comparative approach to the study of (emergent) discourse markers. This is done through corpus-based analyses of expressions in different languages, respectively English and Chinese, in a common pragmatic domain: the topic-introduction functional domain. This project, therefore, helps to make the complex issues of actuation of a change and motivation for change of discourse markers become more transparent.

SprachenEnglisch, Deutsch, Chinesisch
ForschungsrichtungenConstruction Grammar, Grammaticalization, Pragmatics
SchlüsselwörterDiscourse marker, Construction Grammar, Grammaticalization, Pragmatics, corpus-based

Raum1. OG
AdresseWertmann Str. 16

Curriculum Vitae


Seit Okt. 2011
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
PhD in Englische Philologie (Betreuer: Bernd Kortmann)

Seit Mär. 2014
Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgien
Doppel-PhD in Lingusitics (Betreuer: Johan van der Auwera)

Apr. 2009 - Aug. 2011
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Master of Arts in European Linguistics (Note: 1,5)

Sept. 2004 - Jun. 2008
Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China
Bachelor of Arts (Fach: Englisch und International Business)


01. Sept. - 31. Okt. 2010
Center for Grammar, Cognition and Typology
University of Antwerp
Wissenschaftlerin in sprachwissenschaftlichem Bereich

13. - 26. Aug. 2006
Sino-German Joint Software Institute
Peking University of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Übersetzerin von wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten


Nov. 2011 - Sept. 2013
GeKo, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft

Nov. 2011 - Jul. 2012
FRIAS, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft

Seit Feb. 2010
Die Vokabel, Emmendingen, Deutschland
Freiberufliche Dozentin für den Kurs "Chinesisch für Anfänger"

Sept. 2007 - Mär. 2009
Global IELTS School, Tianjin, China
Freiberufliche private Dozentin mit dem Fokus auf der Aussprache in Englisch

01. - 06. Mai 2006
Canon, Gome, Tianjin, China
Unterstützende Aufgaben in der Instandhaltung und Logistik


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PhD Scholarships Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2018

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PhD Scholarships Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2017

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PhD Scholarship Promotionskolleg Empirische Linguistik (PEL) 2014

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