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katrin renkwitz, m.a., researcher

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phd project

In my PhD project, I investigate the speech act apology from two different perspectives, the pragmatic and the phonological one, asking the question of how much and in what way different levels of severity of the previously committed offense (LOW – MEDIUM – HIGH) impact the formulation and, especially, prosodic aspects with which the apologies are being produced. The pragmatic analysis is based on well-established strategy coding. The prosodic analysis concerns the impact of severity on the

  • mean F0
  • pitch span
  • visualised intonation contours (especially those for the IFIDs (Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices) and final boundary tones) and the
  • speech rate.

 All of this was determined for the individual speakers across the different apologies they were instructed to produce but also by investigating similarities and differences of some of these factors within a single apology, by establishing their values for the individual strategies identified in the pragmatic analysis.



Winter 2020/2021: Methods in Applied Linguistics (M.A., Seminar)

Summer 2020: Investigating the Prosodic Dimensions of Pragmatic Phenomena (B.A., Übung)

Winter 2019/2010: Applied Linguistics: An Overview (M.A., Übung)

Summer 2019: Speech Acts: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice (B.A., Übung)

Summer 2019: Of Offences, Sincerity and Politeness: Researching Apologies (B.A., Übung)

Winter 2018/2019: Applied Linguistics: An Overview (M.A., Übung)

Summer 2018: Doing Research on the Interface of Pragmatics and Prosody (B.A., Übung)

Winter 2017/2018: Research Methods (M.A., Seminar)

Summer 2017: English as a Lingua Franca (B.A., Übung)

Winter 2016/2017: Intercultural Communication (M.A., Seminar)

Summer 2016: The Why and How: Methods in Applied Linguistics (M.A., Seminar)

Winter 2015/2016: Corpus and other Research Methods in Linguistics (B.A., Seminar)



Winter 2014/15: Introduction to Language and Communication Studies

Winter 2013/14: Introduction to Language and Communication Studies

Summer 2013: Issues in Linguistics: Semantics


talks and conferences

"Ireland's language from a multimodal perspective - Focus on Irish Sign Language and Irish English" Guest lecture at the Department English Linguistics and the Irish Studies Würzburg, Würzburg, Deutschland, December 2020 (with S. Mohr).

"Multimodal politeness in Ireland - A cross-linguistic comparison of Irish Sign Language and Irish English" Presentation at the Symposium on Multimodal (Im)Politeness, Zurich. Switzerland, October 2020. (with S. Mohr).

"Vocal fry and strategy position - Dealing with (obvious?) influences on a prosodic analysis" Presentation at the Research Day, Bonn, Germany, December 2019.

"Assessing language learner pragmatic competence in schools: An argument for the necessity of triangulation via native speaker perception" Presentation at the eighth annual Bonn Applied English Linguistics Conference (baelc8), Bonn, Germany, June 2019 (with P. Sickinger).

"Working with Complex Data: Solving Problems and Detecting Patterns through Data Regrouping" Presentation at the Research Day, Bonn, Germany, January 2019.

"'Korrekter' Sprachgebrauch und kommunikativer Erfolg: Woran erkennt man erfolgreiche Englischlerner in Sprachtests?" Presentation at the Dies Academicus, Bonn, Germany, December 2018 (with P. Sickinger).

"Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! - Patterns in the diverse prosody of female American English speakers' apologies." Presentation at the Nachwuchstagung Englische Linguistik, Gießen, Germany, November 2018.

"Impacts of the severity of the offense on apologies and their prosodic characteristics." Presentation at the transdisciplinary colloquium Pragmatics, Discourse and Society 2018, Canterbury, England, July 2018.

"Learner or native speaker? Native speaker perception of learner status and appropriate communicative behaviour." Presentation at the 8th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmmatics & Communication (INPRA), Nicosia, Cyprus, June 2018 (with P. Sickinger).

"Using the functional and lexical levels of requests to measure pragmatic competence: The case of German school students in Canada." Presentation at the 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPRA), Befast, Northern Ireland, July 2017 (with F. Sell & K.P. Schneider).

"Intonation and its Contribution to Subtleties of Speech Act Meaning - Reviewing Past and Current Considerations for a Methodology." Presentation at the Kolloquium für die empirische Linguistik, Köln, Germany, May 2017.

"Assessing pragmatic competence in EFL users: A perception study on differences between native speakers and learners of English." Presentation at the GAL-Kongress 2016, Koblenz, Germany, September 2016 (with P. Sickinger & K.P. Schneider).

"Detecting Patterns and their Dependencies in the Intonation of Speech Acts." Presentation at the 8. Sprachwissenschaftliche Tagung für Promotionsstudierende (StaPS), Dresden, Germany, March 2016.

"Strategic Application or Untapped Potential? Backchanneling Behaviour in American and German Home Shopping Programmes." Presentation at the Second Bonn Applied English Linguistics Conference (BAELc2), Bonn, Germany, June 2013.



Sickinger, Pawel & Renkwitz, Katrin (2021). How good are native speakers at evaluating pragmatic competence? Native speaker assessments of learner status and appropriate pragmatic behaviour in English. Langages, 222, 113-135.

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. 

Renkwitz, Katrin (2015). Oral versus Written Testing – An Empirical Study of Data Coverage and Potential in the Assessment of Pragmatic Competence. Unpublished Master's dissertation, University of Bonn.

Renkwitz, Katrin (2012). The Production and Perception of British English Vowels by Native Speakers of American English. Unpublished Bachelor's dissertation, University of Paderborn.

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