Wolfgang Klein (Linguist)

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Wolfgang Klein (born February 3, 1946 in Spiesen ) is a German linguist.


Klein was born as the son of the forester Aloys Klein and his wife Anne. Mieger was born in Spiesen. He attended elementary school there from 1952 to 1956 and the secondary school in Sulzbach from 1956 to 1965 . Then studied small German , Romance languages and philosophy at the University of Saarbruecken and received his doctorate there in 1970. After that he initially did research at the University of Saarbrücken. After his habilitation (1972), he was scientific advisor and full professor at the University of Heidelberg (1972–1976) and head in the field of linguistics (1976–1980) at the University of Frankfurt am Main (1977–1980). He has been working at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen since the research facility was founded in 1980 . He retired in 2015. Klein heads the Language Acquisition department and the Language Archive , which, with funding from the Volkswagen Foundation, documents some of the endangered languages before they go under in the next few years. He has published around 300 essays and books, mainly on language acquisition, text linguistics , the expression of space and time in language and linguistic poetics. Klein writes regularly in the magazine for literary studies and linguistics , which he co-founded in 1970.

In 1994 he became a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences , where he heads the Digital Dictionary of the German Language , and in 2009 a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry (Vice President since 2014). In 1996 he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation .

Wolfgang Klein has three children and lives in Berlin and Heidelberg.

Fonts (selection)

  • together with Harald H. Zimmermann : Index to Georg Trakl, Dichtungen. Athenäum-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1971
  • Parsing. Studies on machine sentence analysis with dependency grammars and transformation grammars. Athenäum-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1971
  • Variation in language. Scriptor-Verlag, Kronberg im Taunus 1974
  • Language and communication of foreign workers. Scriptor-Verlag, Kronberg im Taunus 1975
  • together with Norbert Dittmar : Developing grammars. The acquisition of German syntax by foreign workers. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York 1979
  • Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1986
  • Time in Language. Routledge, London 1994
  • together with Li Ping: The expression of time in language. de Gruyter, Berlin 2009
  • together with Angelika Becker: Understand right. How lay people, lawyers and insurance agents interpret the “Riester pension”. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2008
  • For a purely temporal interpretation of tense and aspect. In: Richard Baum , Klaus Böckle, Franz Josef Hausmann , Franz Lebsanft (eds.): Lingua et Traditio. Festschrift for Hans Helmut Christmann on his 65th birthday. Narr, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-8233-4137-5 , pp. 409-422


  • Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar 2013. 25th edition, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin and Boston, ISBN 978-3-11-027421-9 , Volume 2, p. 1974

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Curriculum vitae on the website of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen