Projects and activities

Europe as a discourse community

The European Union is a unique area of communication where similar topics are discussed within different linguistic and cultural areas. Our project aims to investigate these parallel areas of discourse using methods from qualitative discourse linguistics, corpus linguistics and computer linguistics. This complex approach will enable us to identify the most relevant linguistic, argumentative, and emotional patterns in discourse. First, we will focus on discussions on vaccination in general and on compulsory vaccination in particular in different EU countries and thus in various linguistic areas. Due to the current situation, we also plan to expand the topic to discussions on coronavirus vaccination at a later state and are currently preparing the corpus infrastructure. The topic of vaccination was chosen due to its high social relevance and emotionality on the one hand and a specific combination of general and specialised contents as well as its potential for further interdisciplinary research on the other. The languages analysed will be Czech, Danish, English, French, Italian and Polish.

The project aims to facilitate a strong integration of teaching and research:

  • The basic outline of the project, including numerous sub-aspects and dimensions, will enable students to work on specific detailed issues in their BA and MA theses as well as in MA term papers.

  • A crucial step in the project methodology involves the annotation of rather large amounts of text, using, to some extent, highly abstract categories (such as emotions, agonal centres as concepts in opposition to each other, argumentative structures, etc.), for which the human ability to interpret texts as well as the participation of multiple annotators is essential. These annotations are to be carried out by student working groups. Students will also participate in the evaluation of the results at a later stage. Hence, the project will introduce students to collaborative research as well as to the use of empirical and statistical methods in the Humanities.

  • Finally, the broad and multidimensional outline of the project will enable the elaboration of several specific research issues for doctoral theses in the fields of cross-language and cross-culture comparison as well as translation studies, which will involve all the partner universities. The long-term goal of the project is the creation of an International and Interdisciplinary Post-Graduate School in the field of annotation-based multilingual discourse analysis.

Project team

  • Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Felder (Department of German Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, Heidelberg University), Prof. Dr. Vahram Atayan (Institute of Translation and Interpreting, Faculty of Modern Languages, Heidelberg University) – Project Coordinators

  • Prof. Martine Dalmas (Department of German and Nordic Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Sorbonne University)

  • Prof. Dr. Waldemar Czachur (Department of German Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw)

  • Prof. Marina Brambilla (School of Language Mediation and Intercultural Communication, University of Milan)

  • Dr. Valentina Crestani (School of Language Mediation and Intercultural Communication, University of Warsaw)

  • Anna Nedoluzhko, Ph.D. (Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics, Charles University)

Contact information

Please feel free to contact the Project Coordinator with any questions:

  • Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Felder (Heidelberg University):

  • Prof. Dr. Vahram Atayan (Heidelberg University):

  • Daniele Moretti (Heidelberg University):

Additional links

Project page in German:

Additional reference documents and promotional materials:

Project poster

Atayan, V., Felder, E., Fetzer, B., Mattfeldt, A., Moretti, D., Straube, A., & Wachter, D. (2020). Europäische Diskursgemeinschaft.: Projektskizze einer sprachvergleichenden Diskursanalyse. Linguistik Online, 103(3).

"This project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under grant agreement No 612621."