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friederike sell,, researcher





I used to be Senior Researcher on the BEIO project.

phd project

It is a common finding in interlanguage pragmatics that the way speech acts are realised by L2 speakers is inappropriate for the context in which they occur. Usually, this finding is attributed to these speakers’ limited pragmalinguistic and/or sociopragmatic knowledge. However, these accounts disregard that producing contextually appropriate linguistic material is a highly complex and cognitively challenging task, due to the large amount of linguistic and contextual information to be integrated. From this starting point, I investigate the role of general cognitive processing ability in L2 speech act production. The underlying assumption is that L2 speech acts are often performed inappropriately not, or not only, because of a lack of knowledge, but rather because in combination, the task demands are too taxing for speakers’ processing capacities.

talks and conferences

  • "Erm::, uh and (0.3) in L2 pragmatic production: Disfluencies as an indicator of processing difficulties". Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education (ICMME19), Bielefeld, Germany, March 2019.
  • "Working memory in L2 speech act production – evaluating the suitability of a dual-task design to bridge the methodological gap". Poster presented at the workshop "Language in mind and brain", Munich, Germany, December 2018.
  • “Qualities of EFL speakers’ elicited requests: Indicative of the quality of L2 pragmatic production?” Paper presented at the 7th Bonn Applied English Linguistics Conference (BAELc7), Bonn, Germany, May 2018.
  • "The involvement of working memory in L2 pragmatic production under imposed strain: Measurement issues". Poster presented at EMLAR, Utrecht, Netherlands, April 2018.
  • "Using cognitive control as a proxy of relative task difficulty to determine the order in which to teach pragmatic phenomena". Poster presented at the yearly conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Linguistische Pragmatik, Stuttgart, Germany, March 2018.
  • "Using the functional and lexical levels of requests to measure pragmatic competence: The case of German school students in Canada". Paper presented at the 15th International Pragmatics Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 2017 (with K. Renkwitz & K.P. Schneider).
  • "Processing control – the linchpin of L2 request production? Methodological considerations". Paper presented at the MultiLing winter school "Language in the lab: experimental methods", University of Oslo, Norway, February 2016.
  • "Keeping the non-target language at bay: how L2 immersion affects inhibitory control and lexical access." Poster presented at the Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, May 2014.
  • "Changes due to L2 immersion: inhibitory control and L1 & L2 lexical access." Paper presented at the First Sheffield Linguistics Postgraduate Conference, University of Sheffield, UK, February 2014.
  • "'How to greet a professor?': identifying emerging e-mail etiquette in professor-student communication." Paper presented at the Third Junior Research Meeting for Applied Linguistics, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, March 2011 (with G. Geiermann).


Sickinger, Pawel; Sell, Friederike & Schneider, Klaus P. (2020): Vermittlung und Bewertung pragmatischer Kompetenz im Fremdsprachenunterricht: Die Rolle relativer Komplexität und Variabilität verschiedener Sprechakte. In Limberg, Holger & Glaser, Karen (eds.): Pragmatische Kompetenzen im schulischen Fremdsprachenunterricht. Berlin: Peter Lang, pp. 165–197.

Sell, Friederike & Haggerty, Terry (2019): Company-internal ELF communication: The case of email requests between professionals. Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (ProComm), 135-138.

Sell, Friederike; Renkwitz, Katrin; Sickinger, Pawel & Schneider, Klaus P. (2019): “Measuring pragmatic competence on the functional and lexical level: The development of German high-school students’ requests during a stay abroad in Canada”. Journal of Pragmatics, 146, 106–120. 

Sell, Friederike (2017): "Hidden benefits of a stay abroad" [blog post]. In: Language Matters!, 22 May 2017.

Sell, Friederike (2013): "Inhibitory Control and Lexical Access in L1 and L2: Changes due to L2 Immersion." Unpublished Master's dissertation, University of Edinburgh.

Geiermann, Gregor; Sell, Friederike & Weber, Katharina (2012). "'How to greet a professor?': Identifying emerging email etiquette in professor-student communication." In: Kersten, Saskia; Ludwig, Christian; Meer, Dorothee & Rüschoff, Bernd (eds.): Language Learning and Language Use - Applied Linguistics Approaches. Papers Selected from the Junior Research Meeting - Essen 2011 (pp. 187-197). Duisburg: Universitätsverlag Rhein-Ruhr.

Sell, Friederike (2011): "Too Many Words? Elaboration of Requests. A Study in Interlanguage Pragmatics." Unpublished Bachelor's dissertation, University of Bonn.


  • MA: Intercultural Communication: Focus on Methods (Übung, winter 2016/2017)
  • BA: Issues in Interlanguage Pragmatics (Übung, summer 2016)
  • MA: Intercultural Communication (Übung, winter 2015/2016)
  • BA: Issues in Variational Pragmatics (Übung, summer 2015)
  • BA tutorial: Issues in Linguistics: Language Use in Drama (summer 2011)
  • BA tutorial: Introduction to Linguistics: Macrolinguistics (winter 2010/2011)


  • Adams, A. L.: Sex Differences and Apologies in Irish English: A Corpus-Based Study (BA)
  • Draba, H.: Pragmatic Input - An Analysis of Three German EFL Textbooks (BA)
  • Lehnen, L.: Learning to Do Small Talk - Ideal or Reality? Teachers' Beliefs about the Development of Pragmatic Competence in EFL Classrooms (MA)
  • Zhang, J.: A Comparison between Presentation and Practice of Speech Acts in Two Chinese EFL Textbook Series (MA)




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