Open House at the Research Center for Empirical Pragmatics – Once Again the RCEP Welcomes Visitors into its Humble Halls
After two successful open days during the last year, the Research Centre for Empirical Pragmatics has continued its recent tradition of inviting students to learn about its inner workings. On May 27th (this semester's Dies Academicus), having journeyed south to Walter-Flex-Straße, not far from the old parliamentary building, a handful of keenly interested visitors were warmly welcomed by the RCEP’s student staff.
Insights provided ranged from details about individual theses to brief peeks at the means of pragmatic data collection. During these, the curious visitor was never overtaxed, but actively engaged in various activities such as taking the roles of interviewer and interviewee during a quick role-playing session, or being initiated into the use of several widely used corpora (some of which, by the way, are publicly accessible on the internet – check out the RCEP’s website for more information).
One particular instance of a computer programme specifically designed to monitor translation processes comes to mind; here, a test person was asked to translate a short text passage from German into English, while her every click and stroke was being recorded, later available for review by the experimenter. It was this very hands-on aspect, in lieu of equally enjoyable but – inevitably – wordier lectures, that added special flavour to half a day of unusually practice-oriented exploration. Where else do you get to take that close a look at pragmatic research methods?
Indeed, it is one of the RCEP’s goals to encourage research conducted by students, for which purpose it offers its stock of tools to those finding themselves in need of, say, a room to direct interviews in, or the means to record them; it also offers access to a range of exclusive corpora as well as advice on questions related to term papers.
Whether you’re stuck in a rut with you paper or need some help navigating through the multitudes of corpora, or if you’re unsure about data collection in the first place, or simply need some basic directions, the RCPE is the place to go. And even if you don’t have that kind of trouble, mark down next semester’s Dies Academicus, when - presumably - the RCEP will open its doors to the public again.
(Article taken from the 5th edition of The Wire, the newspaper of the English department. Contact: thewire.gmx.de)