Project C01: Linguistic Human Categorization

Drawing Boundaries between Humans and Animals in Discourse, Lexicon, and Grammar

This project investigates how linguistic boundaries between human beings and animals are drawn. This boundary-making takes places on the discursive, lexical, onymic, and grammatical level, and has become increasingly rigid over time. Two key questions will be addressed: 1) What means are utilized in drawing the human/animal boundary? 2) What kind of upgradings and downgradings across this boundary can be achieved and by what techniques (e.g., referring to a pet as one’s baby and to refugees as cockroaches)? This project analyzes the linguistic humanization of animals as well as the racializing animalization of humans.

Project team
Prof. Dr. Damaris Nübling (PI)
Dr. Miriam Lind (Research Assistant)
Lena Späth (Research Assistant)