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Valerie Hekkel M.A.

Photo: Eman El Sherbiny Ismail/Valerie Hekkel

Am Neuen Palais 10

Haus 19, Raum 4.11

14469 Potsdam

Email : hekkel at uni-potsdam.de

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

Construction Grammar

Language in old age

Language contact (Arabic – French)

Language and identity in a migration context


Autumn 17 – current

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 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 17/ 18

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


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 & 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. <https://www.uni-potsdam.de/langage/>