Deutsch als Zweitsprache - Theorie und Didaktik des Zweitspracherwerbs                                    

Prof. Dr. Petra Schulz

Scientific vita

2007 - currentAssociated Faculty, Linguistics Department, Goethe University
2006 - currentProfessor (W3) of German as a Second Language, Goethe University, Frankfurt
2004 - 2006Professor (C3) of Linguistics and Didactics, University of Education Karlsruhe
2001 - 2004Research Fellow, DFG-research group FOR 381: “Early Language Development", Charité Berlin
2000Assistant Professor (C1), Department of Special Language education, University of Education Ludwigsburg
1998 - 2001Research fellow, DFG-research program SFB 471 „Variation and development in the lexicon", Konstanz University
1996 - 2000Elementary School Teacher, Stuttgart


2000Dr. phil. in Linguistics, Tübingen University (summa cum laude)Supervisors: R. Tracy, U Mannheim, M. Reis, U Tübingen
1995Magister Artium  in General Linguistics, Psychology, and Informatics, Tübingen University (with distinction)
Juli 1989Second State Board Exam for Elementary and High School, Heidelberg (with distinction)
1987First State Board Exam in German, Education, Educational Psychology, University of Education Heidelberg (with distinction)

Official Functions at the University

2019 - currentDeputy spokesperson of the DFG Graduate School "Nominal Modification", Goethe University
2017 - current

Director of the GRADE center "Language" (with E. Rinke), Goethe Research
Academy for early career researchers

2013 - 2016Vice Dean for Research, Faculty of Modern Philologies, Goethe University, Head of the PhD Committee
2007 - 2019
2021 - 2023
Head of the Department of Psycholinguistics and Didactics, Goethe University
2014 - currentMember of the selection committee of the DFG-Graduate school „Nominal modification"
2011 - currentMember of the Taskforce Research, Faculty of Modern Philologies
2007 - current

Elected Member of the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Modern Philologies 


2021Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), Amsterdam (9/2021-1/2022)
2019-2024Elected member of DFG Senate Commitee on Collaborative Research Centres (SFB) and elected scientific member of the DFG Grants Commitee on Collaborative Research Centres, German Science Foundation
2019 - currentDeputy spokesperson of the DFG Graduate school Nominal Modification, Goethe University
2019Invited researcher, Workshop at Villa Vigoni, "Dimensions of wh-words: a German-Italian question time", Menaggio, Italy, Exchange program DFG - Italy
2016 - 2020Appointed expert for the Systematic Review „Interventions for Improving Children's Language in Early-Childhood-Education-and-Care Settings in German-Speaking Countries", DIPF, Frankfurt
2015 - currentAppointed member of the expert group “Education" as part of the Asylum Convention, Hesse
2014, 2017, 2020Formal university recognition: ranked among the 10% most successful faculty members in research and teaching 
2014Poster Price, Conference Linguistic Evidence, "Acquisition of (non-)restrictivity in relative clauses" (with C. Koch, E. Sanfelici and A. Thiel) 
2013Short Term Scientific Mission (COST IS0804) to Tel Aviv University (N. Friedmann), March 2013
2013Founding member of the Centre for Research on Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA), Hesse Excellency Grant LOEWE
2005Rank 1, for an appointment list, W3-Professorship for German Language and literature and their didactics, Focus on Linguistics and Language didactics, University of education, Heidelberg
1992 - 1993Visiting student at University of Massachusetts, USA, with a foreign study scholarship for outstanding students, Ev. Studienwerk Villigst
1991 - 1995Scholarship for outstanding students, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst

Editorial Boards

2018Special Issue Editor, University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics (UMOP). Graduate Linguistics Student Association
2017Special Issue Editor, Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft
2013 - currentZeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft (Journal)
2012 - currentDiskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung (Journal)
2012 - currentLanguage Acquisition and Language Disorders (LALD) series, John Benjamins
2011Special Issue Editor, Lingua, Elsevier (Journal)
1999 - 2003Annual Review of Language Acquisition (ARLA), John Benjamins

Scientific Boards

2009Head of the program committee of the Annual Conference of the German Linguistics Society (DGfS), 2010, Berlin
2004 - 2006Elected Member of the advisory board of the German Linguistics Society (DGfS)

Reviewing activities

GrantsDFG (German Science Foundation), NWO (Vidi Programm), NSF (National Science Foundation), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Research stipends, Humboldt-research prize), Austria (Sparkling Science, Elise Richter program), Open University, Israel, DAAD (German academic exchange program: research visits, structured PhD programs), Sparkling Science (Austria), University of Vienna (PhD positions), Margarete von Wrangell-Habilitation program, Deutschland Stipendium (national student stipend program), Studienstiftung (PhD positions) 
JournalsApplied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, Diskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung, , Glossa, International Journal for Language and Communication Disorders, International Journal of Bilingualism, International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, Journal of Child Language
Journal of Communication Disorders, Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, Journal of Germanic Linguistics, Journal for Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Language Learning and Development, Language Acquisition, Lingua, Linguistic Variation, Linguistische Berichte, Psychologische Rundschau, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft
Book chaptersTrends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs (Mouton de Gruyter), Studies on Language Acquisition (SOLA, Mouton de Gruyter), Cognitive Linguistics Research Series (Mouton de Gruyter), Handbook on Information Structure (Oxford University Press), Proceedings of the Romance Turn (Cambridge Scholar Publishing), Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA, Cambridge Scholar Publishing), Trends in Language Acquisition Research: Semantics in Acquisition (TILAR, Mouton de Gruyter)
ConferencesBi-SLI Tours, Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD), Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA), International Symposium on Bilingualism (isb), Linguistic Evidence (LE), Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA), Going Romance, Multilingual Individuals and Multilingual Societies (MIMS), Sinfonija

Externally Funded Projects (since 2006)

2023-current (PI) BISS-Transfer Verbund Sprachförderprofis: Transferproject Professionalization of educators for language support of multilingual children, Ministry for Education, Hesse

2018–2023 (PI) Child second language acquisition after age 6, Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Hesse

2016–current (PI) Sprachförderprofis: Professionalization of educators for language support of multilingual children. Ministry of Education, Hesse, Foundation Polytechnische, City of Frankfurt

2016–2020 (PI) DAZHOCHZWEI: Teacher training in German as a second language. Ministry of Education, Hesse

2015–2018 (Co-PI) TRIO: Professionalization of language training in preschool and elementary school. Ministry for education and research (BMBF) and European Social fonds (ESF)

2014–current (PI) DFG Graduate school Nominal Modification, Goethe University Frankfurt (w/13 colleagues in Linguistics, PI: E. Rinke)

2014–2018 (External Collaborator) The development of syntactic recursion in preschool-aged children: a cross-linguistic approach (PI: A. Pérez-Leroux, U. Toronto), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

2013–2016 (Co-Applicant) Cooperation with N. Friedmann (Tel Aviv University) and A. Pérez-Leroux (U of Toronto), German academic exchange program (DAAD)

2011–2017 (PI) CARU: Acquisition of (non-)restrictive relative clauses, part of the DFG-Research group on Relative Clauses

2011–2015 (PI) Cammino: Multilingualism in kindergarten and primary school, Ministry for education and research (BMBF) and European Social fonds (ESF)

2011–2014 (PI) PROfessio: Professionalization of language training teachers for multilingual children, IDeA center, Hesse Excellency Grant LOEWE

2011–2014 (Co-Applicant) A study of the language of Russian-Hebrew and Russian-German migrant children in preschool and school years, German-Israeli-Foundation (GIF)

2009–2013 (Group Leader w/T. Marinis) Language Impairment in a multilingual society: Linguistic patterns and the road to assessment, EU COST IS0804 (PI:  Sharon Armon-Lotem)

2008–2014 (PI) MILA: Relationship between migration background and language impairment in children's language achievement, IDeA center, LOEWE

2008–2011 (PI) Language assessment and language training in monolingual and bilingual children, Hertie Foundation and Goethe University Frankfurt

2006–2010 (Group Leader) Crosslinguistic robust stages of children's linguistic performance with application to language assessment, EU COST A 33,  (PI: Uli Sauerland)

2005–2010 (Co-PI) Development and norming of the language test LiSe-DaZ (mit R. Tracy), Baden-Württemberg Foundation and Hogrefe publishing house

Invited International Teaching

The acquisition of Semantics. Linguistics Summer School of the DGfS (German Linguistics Society), Tübingen, Germany (August 2016).

Plenary and Invited Lectures (select.)

Invited keynote at the 8th Bucharest Colloquium of Language Acquisition. University of Bucharest, Romania (November 2023).

Welche sprachlichen Phänomene sind schwierig und für wen? Workshop „Fortgeschrittener Spracherwerb“, University of Oldenburg, Germany (October 2022).

How do children acquire exhaustivity in wh-questions? A comparison across languages and acquisition types, Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (January 2022).

Semantic/pragmatic properties of wh-questions: Exhaustivity and pairing. Villa Vigoni Workshop: Dimensions of wh-words – a German-Italian question time, Menaggio, Italy (May 2019).

First wait - then integrate. How children master the comprehension of complex sentences. Amsterdam Center for Linguistics and Cognition (ACLC) Seminar. University of Amsterdam: The Netherlands (February 2019).

Exhaustivity in wh-questions in typical and impaired acquisition. University of Edinburgh Linguistic colloquium series, Edinburgh, Scotland (March 2018).

Zur Semantik von Verben im Spracherwerb. 53. Jahrestagung des Instituts für Deutsche Sprache „Wortschätze: Dynamik, Muster, Komplexität.“ IDS Mannheim (March 2017).

Telicity in SLI. Workshop on Complexity in Acquisition, University of Toronto (May 2016).

Semantic aspects in the acquisition of wh-questions. Workshop on Non-Canonical Questions and Interface Issues. University of Konstanz, Germany (February 2014).

Differences between typically developing children and children with SLI in a bilingual context: Exhaustivity. Final COST IS0804 Conference on Child Language Impairment in Multilingual Context. Kraków, Poland (May 2013).

What we can learn from research on child second language acquisition. Workshop on Heritage languages (in Germany), University of Stuttgart (November 2012).

Language assessment of bilingual children – Why a monolingual norm is not fair. Joint workshop of the University of Toronto and Goethe-University Frankfurt, The Role of Institutional Practices for Building Successful Multicultural Societies, University of Toronto, Canada (June 2012).

Wer versteht wann was? Sprachverstehen im frühen Zweitspracherwerb des Deutschen. 48. Jahrestagung des Instituts für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) Mannheim, Germany (March 2012).

How to disentangle SLI from successive bilingualism: Evidence from comprehension studies in German. Workshop on Bilingualism and Specific Language Impairment, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (February 2009).

Some notes on Semantics and SLI. Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA), Lisbon, Portugal (September 2009).

Language comprehension in bilingualism and SLI. Workshop Windows on Inflection, Amsterdam, Netherlands (December 2008).

Contribution to Graduate supervision

I have supervised 16 PhD theses (plus 3 ongoing) and have served in PhD committees in Bangor, UK, Amsterdam, NE, Groningen, NE, and Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition, I have supervised 41 Magister/ MA Theses and 12 Diploma Theses (=all graduate level) as well 54 BA theses and 42 first State Board Exam theses (=undergraduate level). Several refereed publications (39) are in collaboration with graduate students.

Contribution to Knowledge Transfer

In 2009 I established Info-DaZ, an Information and Research Center for German as a second language at Goethe-University, Frankfurt. I have given more than 50 outreach talks and workshops to educators, teachers, parents, and education policy makers. In 2015 I became appointed member of the expert group “Education" as part of the Asylum Convention, Ministry of Education, Hesse. I am the author of a book for teachers and educators on how to develop language support measures for multilingual children. 

Main Publications

1.  Pérez-Leroux, Ana, Yves Roberge, Alex Lowles, & Petra Schulz. 2022. Structural diversity does not affect the development of recursion: The case of possession in German. Language Acquisition. 29:1, 54-78. DOI: 10.1080/10489223.2021.1965606

2.  Weicker, Merle, & Petra Schulz. 2020. Not all gradable adjectives are vague – Experimental evidence from adults and children. In M. Franke, N. Kompa, M. Liu, J. L. Mueller & Juliane Schwab (Eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 24, pp. 406-422. Osnabrück University.

3.  Sanfelici, Emanuela, Corinna Trabandt, & Petra Schulz2020. On the nature of integrated V2 relative clauses: An acquisition study of the alternation of verb-final and verb-second in German relative clauses in children. In T. Biberauer, S. Wolfe & R. Woods (Eds.), Rethinking Verb Second, pp. 790-809. OUP.

4.    Balaban, Noga, Petra Schulz, & Naama Friedmann. 2019. Is Theory of Mind the basis for exhaustivity in wh-questions? Evidence from TOM impairment after right hemisphere damage. Journal of Neurolinguistics 52: 100853.

5.  Schulz, Petra, & Angela Grimm. 2019. The age factor revisited: Timing in acquisition interacts with age of onset in bilingual acquisition. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:2732. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02732

6. Schulz, Petra. 2018. Acquisition of telicity. In K. Syrett and S. Arunachalam (Eds.), Semantics in Language Acquisition (pp. 124-150). Series: Trends in Language Acquisition Research. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

7.   Schulz, Petra, & Rabea Schwarze. 2017. How strong is the ban on nonfinite verbs in V2? Evidence from early second language learners of German with and without SLI. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft, 36(1), 51-78.

8.   SchulzPetra. 2015. Exhaustivity. In S. Armon-Lotem, J. de Jong & N. Meir (Eds.), Methods for assessing multilingual children: disentangling bilingualism from Specific Language Impairment (pp. 76-94). Book Series: Multilingual Matters

9.  Grimm, Angela, & Petra Schulz. 2014. Specific Language Impairment and early second language acquisition: The risk of over- and underestimation. Child Indicators Research, 7, 821-841. DOI 10.1007/s12187-013-9230-6

10. Schulz, Petra & Tom Roeper. 2011. Acquisition of exhaustivity in wh-questions: A semantic dimension of SLI? Lingua121(3), 383-407.

11. Schulz, Petra 2003. Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. Linguistische Arbeiten 480. 

12. Schulz, Petra, Wymann, Karin & Penner, Zvi 2001. The early acquisition of verb meaning in German by normally developing and language impaired children. Brain and Language, 77, 407-418.




Institut für Psycholinguistik und Didaktik der deutschen Sprache

Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Post: Hauspostfach 22, 60629 Frankfurt


IG-Hochhaus, 3. OG, Raum 3.316
Tel. 069/798-32563
Fax 069/798-32564

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E-Mail: sekretariat.schulz[at]