Dr. phil., Privatdozentin

Elma Kerz

Lehrstuhl für Anglistische Sprachwissenschaft


Gebäude: ehem. Couven-Gymnasium (1070)

Raum: 102a

Kármánstraße 17/19

52062 Aachen


Telefon: +49 241 80 95431
Fax: +49 241 80 92350


nach Anmeldung per E-Mail


Second Language Acquisition/Learning
Implicit/Statistical Learning
Formulaic Language
Linguistic Variation

Supervision of bachelor and master theses dealing with these areas.

ACAW - Aachen Corpus of Academic Writing (ACAW)

The Aachen Corpus of Academic Writing (ACAW) is a corpus of advanced L2 writing in English. It is designed to represent the register of English academic writing in its narrow sense, a register characterized by its conventionalized and compressed nature (cf. Biber & Gray, 2010, Callies & Zaytseva, 2013). Like the Corpus of Academic Learner English (CALE,, ACAW is designed to support research on advanced L2 learning and related fields such as English as a Second Language (ESL), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). ACAW consists of two components: (1) a central component representing non-native (L2) English academic writing by L1 German advanced learners of English and (2) a control component representing native German academic writing by the same learners. The learners are 2 nd or 3 rd year undergraduates enrolled in the bachelor programmes of the English Department at the RWTH Aachen University with 7-9 years of formal instruction of English before entering university and thus meet the institutional status criteria for advanced learner status of English specified in Callies (2009: 116f.). This design allows comparisons between native and non-native writing at both group and individual level.


Biber, D. & Gray, B. (2010). Challenging stereotypes about academic writing: complexity, elaboration, explicitness. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9(1), 2-20.

Biber, D., Gray, B. & Poonpon, K. (2011). Should we use characteristics of conversation to measure grammatical complexity in L2 writing development? TESOL Quarterly 45(1), 5-35.

Callies, M. (2009). Information highlighting in advanced learner English: The syntax-pragmatics interface in second language acquisition. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Callies, M. & Zaytseva, E (2013). The Corpus of Academic Learner English (CALE) – A new resource for the assessment of writing proficiency in the academic register. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics 2(1), 126-132.

Details :

Corpus type: Parallel (comparable) corpus

Corpus components : Native and non-native academic writing by university students.

Target : English

First Language : German

Medium : Written

Text type : Academic research writing

Proficiency level: Advanced

Availability: Under development

Size: Expanding. In its current stage (October 2015), the L2 component consists of ~240,000 words. The L1 component consists of ~225,000 words.


Both components of ACAW are in an XML format following the TEI format specifications.

Non-Linguistic Annotation:

All texts contain meta-data about learner variables gathered through a self-report questionnaire: Age, gender, knowledge of other foreign language, reading exposure (i.e. reading of scientific/non-scientific texts in English) and time spend in English-speaking country.

Linguistic Annotation:

All data are annotated using the components from the Stanford CoreNLP toolkit (Manning et al., 2014): (1) Tokenization (TokenizerAnnotator), (2) Sentence splitting (WordToSentenceAnnotator), (3) Part-of-Speech (POS) tagging (PostTaggerAnnotator), (4) Lemmatization (MorphAnnotator) and (5) Syntactic Parsing (ParserAnnotator).


Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl)

Kerz, Elma & Daniel Wiechmann (2015). Register-Contingent Entrenchment of Constructional Patterns: Causal and Concessive Adverbial Clauses in Academic and Newspaper Writing. Journal of English Linguistics (

Wiechmann, Daniel & Elma Kerz (2014). Cue Reliance in L2 Written Production. Language Learning 64(2): 343-364. (

Wiechmann, Daniel & Elma Kerz (2014). Missing Generalizations: A Supervised Machine Learning Approach to L2 Written Production. Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Learning (CogACLL) - 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, (pp. 55-63). (

Kerz, Elma (2013). Concessive Adverbial Clauses in L2 Academic Writing. In S. Granger, G. Gilquin & F. Meunier (Eds.) Twenty Years of Learner Corpus Research: Looking back, Moving ahead. Corpora and Language in Use – Proceedings 1 (pp. 263-276). Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain,

Wiechmann, Daniel, Elma Kerz, Neal Snider & T. Florian Jaeger (2013). (Eds.) Special Issue: Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language. Language and Speech 56(3). SAGE. (

Wiechmann, Daniel & Kerz, Elma (2013). The Positioning of Concessive Adverbial Clauses in English: Assessing the importance of discourse-pragmatic and processing-based constraints. English Language and Linguistics 17(1): 1-23. (

Wiechmann, Daniel, Steinfeld, Judith, & Kerz, Elma (2013). Modeling Bilingual Children's Acquisition of Complex Sentences in German. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 3753-3759). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. (

Kerz, Elma (2012). The Role of Genre in Information Structuring in English. Defrancq, B. et al. (Eds). Special Issue of Belgian Journal of Linguistics, Information Structure, Discourse Structure and Grammatical Structure: 143-159.

Kerz, Elma (2011). The Role of Low-Level Schemas in English Academic Writing: A Usage-Based Constructionist Approach. Grammatik und Korpora 2009, Marek Konopka, Jacqueline Kubczak, Christian Mair, Frantisek Sticha & Ulrich H. Waßner (Eds.), (pp. 229-253). Tübingen: Narr.

Kerz, Elma & Florian Haas (2009). The Aim is to Analyse NP: the Function of Prefabricated Chunks in Academic Texts. Formulaic Language: Volume 1. Distribution and historical change. Roberta Corrigan, Edith Moravcsik, Hamid Ouali & Kathleen Wheatley (Hrsg.), pp. 97-116. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


Konferenzbeiträge (Auswahl)

  1. 2014a. Missing generalizations: A supervised machine learning approach to L2 written production. EACL 2014 Workshop: Cognitive aspects of computational language learning. Gothenburg, Sweden, 26-30.4.2014. (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  2. 2014c. Modeling L2 learners’ productions of complex constructions. 8th International Conference on Construction Grammar, Universität Osnabrück, 3-6.9.2014. (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  3. 2013a. Formulaicity as a determinant of processing efficiency: Investigating clause ordering in complex constructions. ICAME 34 Workshop: Processing in corpora: ‘Support strategies’ in language variation and change. Santiago de Compostela, ES, 22-26.5.2013. (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  4. 2013b. Modeling Bilingual Children's Acquisition of Complex Sentences in German, 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society Berlin, 31.7.-3.8.2013. (mit Daniel Wiechmann & Judith Steinfeld).
  5. 2013c. Learning cues for accurate L2 production: Determinants of clause order in complex sentences. SLE 2013, 46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, Split University, Croatia, 18.9.-21.9.2013. (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  6. 2012a. Genre-specific properties of adverbial clauses in English academic writing and newspaper texts. 5th FLaRN Conference, Formulaic Language Research Network, Tilburg University, 28-30.3.2012. (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  7. 2012b. The acquisition of complex sentence constructions by bilingual pre-school children. 35th International LAUD Symposium: Cognitive Psycholinguistics: Bilingualism, Cognition and Communication, Landau/Pfalz, 26-29.3.2012. (mit Judith Steinfeld).
  8. 2012c. Positioning of concessive adverbial clauses in English: Assessing the importance of discourse-pragmatic and processing-based constraints. 5th German Cognitive Linguistics Conference. University of Freiburg, Germany, 10-12.10.2012 (mit Daniel Wiechmann).
  9. 2011c. Concessive adverbial clauses in L2 academic writing, Learner Corpus Research 2011, “20 years of learner corpus research: looking back, moving forward, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 15-17.9.2011
  10. 2010a. How formulaic is the language of English print ads? Interdisciplinary Conference on Formulaic Language, 4th International FLaRN conference, University of Paderborn, 23-26.3.2010
  11. 2010b. Genre considerations in information packaging: A corpus-based study. ICAME 31: Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English, Justus Liebig Universität Giessen, 26-30.5.2010
  12. 2010c. Questions in English print ads: A multifactorial analysis. 6th international conference on Construction Grammar, Prague, 3-5.10.2010.
  13. 2010d. A usage-based constructionist approach to polar questions in English print ads. 4th International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Bremen, 7-9.10.2010
  14. 2010f. Grammaticalization and low-level schemas: Moving along the syntax-lexicon continuum. International Conference on Grammaticalization and (Inter)Subjectification, Brussels, 11-13.11.2010.
  15. 2009a. Grammaticalization of evidential constructions in English academic writing: A usage‐based approach. Grammars in Construction(s), Third International AFLiCo Conference, University Paris Ouest, Nanterre, La Défense, 27-29.5.2009.
  16. 2009b. Adjectival resultative constructions in English print advertisements: A corpus-based constructionist approach. Grammars in Construction(s), Third International AFLiCo Conference, University Paris Ouest, Nanterre, La Défense, 27-29.5.2009
  17. 2009c. Conceptualization of events in English academic texts: A Cognitive Grammar approach. Second Conference of the Swedish Association for Language and Cognition (SALC), Stockholm University, 10-12.6.2009
  18. 2009d. High-frequency verbs in English print advertisements: A corpus-based constructionist approach. The Third International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English (ICLCE3), University of London, 14-17.7.2009
  19. 2009e. Give your eyes the comfort they deserve: Imperative constructions in English print ads. Corpus Linguistics Conference, University of Liverpool, 20-23.7.2009
  20. 2009f. Flexible formulaic sequences in English academic writing. Third International Conference ‘Grammar & Corpora’, University of Mannheim, 22-24.9.2009
  21. 2008a. Condensation strategies and information packaging in English academic texts. DG 2008 International Conference on Discourse and Grammar: Illocutionary force, information structure and subordination between discourse and grammar, Ghent University and University College Ghent, 23-24.5.2008.
  22. 2008b. 'NP be found/shown/seen/observed to Vinf': Grammaticalization of evidentiality in the register of academic writing? New Reflections on Grammaticalization 4, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 16-19.7.2008. (mit Paul Georg Meyer)
  23. 2008c. Register-specific partially lexically-filled constructions: A case study of the use of research verbs in academic texts. Third International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association (GCLA-08), Universität Leipzig, 25-27.9.2008.
  24. 2007a. The cognitive and pragmatic motivations for the use of nominalizations in academic texts. La Laguna, Tenerife, 11-13.01.2007.
  25. 2007b: The aim is to analyze NP: the function of prefabricated chunks in academic texts. UWM Linguistics Symposium on Formulaic Language, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. 18-21.04.2007. (mit Florian Haas)
  26. 2007c. Register and constructions: A case study of the use of resultative constructions in the language of advertising. 10th International Pragmatics Conference. Göteborg, 8-13.07. 2007.
  27. 2006a. English verbs and constructions: two case studies and some implications for a constructionist approach to grammatical structure. Directions in English Language Studies (DELS), University of Manchester, 06.-08.4.2006. (mit Florian Haas)
  28. 2006b. The interaction between register and constructional meaning: A case study of the use of constructions in the language of advertising. Second International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association. Munich, 5-7.10.2006.
  29. 2005a. A constructionist corpus-based approach to the analysis of research verbs in academic texts. The First Ph.D. Conference in Linguistics and Philology in Bergen, 13-15.6. 2005.
  30. 2005b. A construction grammar approach to the analysis of lexico-grammatical patterns in academic texts. Phraseology 2005: The many faces of phraseology, Université Catholique de Louvain, 13-15.10.2005.
  31. 2005c. Is the concept of 'entrenchment' domain-specific? First UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Brighton, UK, 23-25.10.2005.

Organisation von Themensektionen auf internationalen Konferenzen

Zusammen mit Neal Snider (Nuance Communications), Daniel Wiechmann (RWTH Aachen) und Florian Jaeger (U Rochester, NY). Organisation der Themensektion Empirical Evaluations of Usage-Based Constructionist Models of Language Representation and Processing 2011 LSA Annual Meeting Organized Session, Pittsburgh, PA.