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Mag. Dr. Lotte Sommerer

Research Interests

  • morphosyntactic variation and change
  • Theoretical modelling of Grammar
  • (Diachronic) Construction Grammar
  • Nominal determination
  • English Aspect
  • Gradience, Categorization & Constructionalization
  • Grammaticalization & Lexicalization
  • Lexicon-Grammar Interface
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • First language acquisition
  • Evolution of Language
  • Typology


  • Linguistics Seminar/BA Paper - Morphosyntactic Change
  • Linguistics Seminar/BA paper - Introduction to Construction Grammar
  • AG - Debating Linguistic Controversies 
  • PS 2 - Variation and Change in Present Day English Syntax
  • PS 2 - Lexicalization and Grammaticalization
  • PS 2 - Mechanisms of Language Change
  • VO -  Language Analysis
  • PS1


  • Sommerer, Lotte. (forth). 'Article emergence in Old English. A constructionalist perspective'. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
  • Sommerer, Lotte & Baumann, Andreas. (under review). 'Layering as a long-term effect of asymmetric priming'.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2016). ' Investigating the acquisition of perfective aspect in the German EFL classroom – a constructional sketch.' In Lindner, D.; Beer R.; Gabriel, S. & Krobath, T. (eds.). Dialog Forschung. Forschungsband 2015. [Schriften der Kirchlichen Pädagogischen Hochschule Wien/Krems, Band 12]. Wien/Berlin: LIT VERLAG.
  • Barðdal, Jóhanna; Smirnova, Elena, Sommerer, Lotte & Gildea, Spike; (eds.). (2015). Diachronic Construction Grammar. [CAL, Vol. 18]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2015). 'The influence of constructions in grammaticalization: revisiting category emergence and the development of the definite article in English'. In Barðdal, J.; Smirnova, E.; Sommerer, L. & Gildea, S. (eds.). Diachronic Construction Grammar. [CAL, Vol. 18]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 107-138
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2012b). 'Investigating article development in Old English: about categorization, gradualness and constructions'. Folia Linguistica Historica, 33, p. 175-213.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2012a). 'Analogical Transfer in Old English Syntax. Article emergence caused by pattern recognition and transfer'. In Schendl, Markus, Coelsch-Foisner (eds.). Transfer in English Studies. [Volume 100 of the Austrian Studies in English]. Vienna: Braumüller, p. 259-285.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2011). Old English se: from demonstrative to article. A usage-based study of nominal determination and category emergence. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Vienna. available at:
  • Sommerer, Lotte et al. (2010). 'Historical Linguistics in modern English Studies curricula: the Viennese approach'. VIEWS, 19 (special issue) [Vienna English Working Papers], p. 52-65.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2008). 'Noun phrase typology and the emergence of the definite article: analogy, accomodation and frequency effects'. VIEWS, 17 (1) [Vienna English Working Papers], p. 63-90.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2006). 'Language Acquisition revisited - a network based approach to two-word stage syntax'. VIEWS, 15 (1) [Vienna English Working Papers], p. 25-56.
  • Sommerer, Lotte. (2005). Learnability of Syntax - An Evolutionary Approach. Unpublished MA thesis. University of Vienna.

Conferences & Presentations (selected)

  • 2017, 10 - 13 September, Zürich, Switzerland:  SLE 50. Workshop organization (together with Elena Smirnova): 'Advances in Diachronic Construction Grammar - debating theoretical tenets and open questions'
  • 2017, 31 July - 4 August, San Antonio, Texas: ICHL 23 (International Conference on Historical Linguistics) . Paper: 'Constructionalization and constructional competition: investigating Old English NP ecology and the devlopment of the indefinite article'
  • 2017, 10 - 14 July, Tartu, Estonia: ICLC 14 (International Cognitive Linguistics Conference). Paper a): 'Present perfect constructions and their marginalization in learner language: a constructionist approach to foreign language teaching'. Paper b) (together with Andreas Baumann):  'layering as a long-term effect of asymmetric priming'
  • 2016, 31 August - 3 September, Vienna, Austria: 4th International Conference on Functional Discourse Grammar.
  • 2016, 17 - 18 February, Düsseldorf, Germany: Workshop: Konstruktionsgrammatik  – Konvergenzen und Divergenzen im Sprach-und Konstruktionswandel. Paper: 'Constructional competition and inheritance networks: What Diachronic Construction Grammar can tell us about present perfect acquisition, usage and its marginalization in EFL'
  • 2015, 30 September - 3 October, Ludwigsburg, Germany: 26. DGFF Kongress für Fremdsprachenforschung.
  • 2014, 3 - 6 September, York, UK: EuroSLA24 (The 24th annual conference of the European Second Language Association). Paper: 'What (Diachronic) Construction Grammar can tell us teaching and learning perfective aspect in the German EFL classroom? '
  • 2014, 14 - 17 Arpil, Vienna, Austria: EVOLANG (10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language).
  • 2012, 28 - 29 November, Paris, France: Workshop on Cognitive Mechanisms and Cultural Processes in Evolutionary Linguistics. Paper: 'Category emergence and the development of articles in Old English'.
  • 2012, 29 - 1 September, Stockholm, Schweden: SLE 45. Paper: 'A constructional perspective on the development of the indefinite article in English.'
  • 2012, 20 - 25 August, Zürich, Schweiz: ICEHL 17. Paper: 'Revisiting the dem poss construction: the co-occurrence of determinatives in the OE NP
  • 2011, 15 - 16 September, Newcastle, UK: NP2 (International Workshop on the Structure of the Noun Phrase in English: Synchronic and Diachronic Explorations). Paper: 'Why investigating article development can become a linguist’s nightmare: about categorization, gradualness and the fuzziness of grammar'.
  • 2011, 8 - 11 September, Logrono, Spanien: SLE 44 (Societa Linguistica Europaea). Paper: 'The influence of constructions in grammaticalization: revisiting category emergence and the development of the definite article in English'.
  • 2010, 23 - 27 August, Pecs, Hungary: ICEHL 16. Paper: ' investigating bare common nouns in definite contexts in Old English'
  • 2009, 2 - 3 Oktober, Vigo, Spanien: NP1 (International Workshop on the Structure of the Noun Phrase in English: Synchronic and Diachronic Explorations). Paper: 'DP in Old English? Category emergence, noun phrase typology and multi-level frequency effects'.
  • 2008, 25 - 29 August, München, Deutschland: ICEHL 15. Paper: 'Old English noun phrase typology and the emergence of the definite article: a quantitative study based on the the Peterborough and Parker Chronicles'.
  • 2008, 15 - 19 Juli, Leuven, Belgien: NRG4 (New Reflections on Grammaticalization 4). Paper: 'Getting going on a path: Old English noun phrase typology and the emergence of the definite articel the'.
  • 2008, 4 - 5 April, Sheffield, England: Workshop on the History and Structure in the English Noun Phrase, Philological Society of English. Paper: '...towards the emergence of the definite artice: Old English Noun phrase typology and mulit-level frequency effects'.
  • 2006, 21 - 25 August, Bergamo, Italien: ICEHL 14 (International Conference on English Historical Linguistics). Paper: 'The emergence of the as a definite article in Late Old English: an evolutionary connectionist perspective'.
  • 2006, 17 - 21 Juli, Paris, Frankreich: LCM 2 (Language Culture and Mind 2). Paper: 'Languages as Darwinian cultural systems: optimality, evolutionary stability, and human interest' with Prof. Dr. Ritt, N.


Lotte Sommerer studied English at the University of Vienna. In 2003/04, she was awarded a Joint Study Scholarship and spent a year at the University of Toronto, Canada. Afterwards, she completed her MA in 2005.

From February 2006 to April 2013, Lotte Sommerer was working as a pre-doc at the English department in the field of English historical linguistics (NatSide research team/ Prof.Dr. Nikolaus Ritt). From 2008 to 2010, she additionally taught at the University of Applied Science, bfi (HR Management). In 2011, she defended her Phd thesis (supervisors Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Ritt/Prof. Dr. Olga Fischer) on nominal determination and category emergence in Old English.

From 2013 to 2016, Lotte Sommerer was working as a senior lecturer at the University College of Teacher Education Wien/Krems (KPH Wien/Krems) teaching English linguistics. Since September 2016, Lotte Sommerer has returned to the University of Vienna as a post-doc researcher. She is currently a member of the FunCog research team (Prof.Dr. Evelien Keizer) at the English Department and works on morphosyntactic variation and change in contemporary English syntax. She subscribes to a usage-based constructional model of grammar.

  • 2005 special research grant from the University of Vienna Faculty of Humanities for Phd thesis project
  • 2012 SLE, Stockholm best presentation awards by a postdoctoral reseracher - 3rd prize


Room: 3E-O2-02A (2nd floor)
T: +43 1 4277 424-02


Office hours: Fr 10.15-11.15 am

Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik /
Department of English
Universität Wien
Campus d. Universität Wien
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1090 Wien

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