English-German Contrasts

A comprehensive survey of major contrasts between English and German


This project was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) from 2008 to 2011. The project was based at the Freie Universität Berlin until March 2009 and was then transferred to the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (English department).

The goal of our project has been to provide a comprehensive and detailed description of major contrasts between English and German in both the grammar and the lexicon. Building on a monograph that was primarily intended as a text book for university education (König & Gast 2007, Understanding English-German Contrasts, 2nd ed. 2009), individual phenomena and problems that had not so far been studied in a contrastive perspective were investigated. Specifically, the project was concerned with the following subject areas: (i) complementation (with emphasis on sentential complements), (ii) information structure and stress (e.g. verum focus) and (iii) word formation.

In contrast to the programme of Contrastive Linguistics formulated in the 1960s and 1970s, which was primarily intended as a method of improving foreign language teaching, our project is not intended as a contribution to applied linguistics. It focuses on the description of interesting contrasts between English and German as well as possible explanations for these contrasts.

Final report (in German)