Dr. des. Valerie Hekkel

Bild von VH
Photo: Eman El Sherbiny Ismail/Valerie Hekkel

Am Neuen Palais 10

Haus 19, Raum 4.11

14469 Potsdam

Email : hekkel at

Bild von VH
Photo: Eman El Sherbiny Ismail/Valerie Hekkel

Dissertation summary

With the increasing interest for the age variable in language variation, the role that older speakers play in language change is becoming more relevant. Valerie Hekkel’s project focuses on the synchronic and diachronic variation in the use of the causal conjunction parce que, used in a subordinating syntactic or in more pragmatic ways, combining two corpora containing linguistic data collected in Orléans; ESLO (1&2) and LangAge. It aims to answer the question of which factors might determine the use of parce que in old age and if the principle of Labov’s (1972) apparent time hypothesis can be applied to the analysed grammatical phenomenon. 

Research interests

Language change and diachrony

Forensical linguistics

Language in old age

Language contact (Arabic – French)

Language and identity in a migration context


23.09.2019Ph.D. awarded

From Autumn 17

Continuation of Ph.D. at Universität Potsdam

Autumn 15 – Summer 17

Freie Universität Berlin

Ph.D., French philology

Title: A sociolinguistic perspective on causal structures in later life: sychronic variation and recent language change.

Summer 11 – Summer 13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Philology of Romance languages (Italian & French)

Summer 07 – Autumn 10

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

B.A., Philology of Romance languages (Italian & French)

including Autumn 08 – Summer 09

Università degli Studi di Udine, Erasmus semester


Academic positions

Autumn 17 – current

Universität Potsdam

Research assistant at the Institute for Romance languages in Annette Gerstenberg's research group

Autumn 13 – Summer 17

Freie Universität Berlin

Research assistant at the Institute for Romance languages in Annette Gerstenberg's research group

2014 – 2015

Freie Universität Berlin

Participant in project “Textdaten Romanistik”

Created manuals for:

            ·  working with the transcription program Transcriber

·   using regular expressions to analyse and manipulate data computergestützte

·   using XML to encode data

·   programming skills for linguistics


Autumn 19/20Because YOLO –Causal structures in spoken language
Summer 19Kriminallinguistik (Uni Potsdam)
Summer 18Grammatik des Italienischen (Uni Potsdam)

Autumn 17/ 18,  Autumn 18/19

Phonetik des Italienischen (Uni Potsdam)

Lexikologie des Italienischen (Uni Potsdam)

Autumn 16/ 17

Seminar: Le Français hors de France (FU Berlin)

Autumn 15/ 16

Seminar: Lexikologie des Italienischen (FU Berlin)

Autumn 14/ 15

Seminar: Pronomen des Italienischen (FU Berlin)

Autumn 13/ 14

Seminar: Relativsätze des Italienischen (FU Berlin)

Summer 16

Seminar: Italienisch in Berlin (FU Berlin)

Summer 14, 15, 16, 17

Foundation course: Einführung in die Italienische Sprachwissenschaft (FU Berlin)

Summer 13

Seminar: Semantik des Italienischen (Ruhr-Uni Bochum)

Talks and posters

2.2020Talk: Tweeting about migrants, Semiotic week Uni Potsdam
6.2019Talk: Machine Learning: Linguistic applications (as part of the workshop "R for Romance studies")


Poster: Micro-diachronic language change and its interaction with the age variable, CLARe3, Berlin.


Talk: Between hatred and solidarity: How cooccurring nouns help us to describe ideologically charged concepts, CADAAD2016, Catania.


Talk: Linguistic change and aging: How causal constructions vary over age and time, CLARE2, UCLouvain.


TalkTextdaten: Romanistik – Ein Wiki zur Arbeit mit digitalen Ressourcen in den romanischen Sprachwissenschaften, Workshopreihe "Blended-Learning in Masterstudiengängen", Berlin.


Gerstenberg, Annette, Valerie Hekkel & Freya Hewett. 2019. Online Auction Listings Between Community and Commerce. In Julien Longhi & Claudia Marinica (eds.), Proceedings of the 7th Conference on CMC and Social Media Corpora for the Humanities (CMC-Corpora2019), 9–10 September 2019, Cerby-Pontoise University, France, 1–5. Cergy-Pontoise:

Gerstenberg, Annette, Valerie Hekkel & Narno Pinotti. 2017. Tra università e professione: il curriculum dell'italianistica nelle biografie linguistiche "ereditarie". In Annette Gerstenberg, Judith Kittler, Luca Lorenzetti & Giancarlo Schirru (eds.), Romanice loqui. Festschrift für Gerald Bernhard zu seinem 60. Geburtstag, 249–269. Tübingen: Stauffenburg.

Gerstenberg, Annette; Hekkel, Valerie & Kairet, Julie. 2018. LangAge Corpora: Transcription guide. <>