About DYME

DYME is a research group of scholars and students who share an interest in multilingualism with English.

Research and models are based on the Dynamic System Theory (DST) according to which the development of a system in time is subject to investigation.

For several decades DST has been applied in other scientific disciplines such as biology, physics, meteorology, ecology and mathematics, and for some years now this promising approach has also been used in the field of language acquisition research and for studies of (the neurobiological) aspects of bi- and multilingualism.

Viewed from a DST perspective, language (development) is a system consisting of many interacting sub-processes (e.g. pragmatic, syntactic, lexical, phonological). It shows variation over time, develops through interaction and self-reorganization, depends on internal and external resources, it shows growth and decline depending on the setting, and it never settles completely. Thus, language = dynamic.

As all different parts of the language/linguistic system interact, the system cannot be explained by its single parts. Much more, the system as a whole determines its parts, and therefore research on language (development) asks for a holistic approach.

Due to increased mobility and globalization, the use of more than two languages has become a normal part of our daily life. Especially, migratory movements, the role of English as a lingua franca and the presence of former colonial forces, have led and still are leading to multilingual settings all around the world. Due to the increasingly extensive use of English, especially within the European context, we can speak of societal and individual multilingualism with English. This, together with the status and characteristics of English, explains our focus on multilingualism with English.

The theoretical framework of the research group is mainly based on two major publications:

1.   Herdina, Philipp; Jessner, Ulrike (2002). A Dynamic Model of Multilingualism. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto, Sydney: Multilingual Matters.


2.   Jessner, Ulrike (2006). Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP.

 Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals


Focus Research Support



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