As opposed to the formalistic approaches to language that are still dominant at many universities, the majority of the linguistic research at the University of Antwerp is characterised by a focus on language in use: the emphasis is on theoretical models that are usage-based and bottom-up (and thus start from the idea that linguistic knowledge is essentially built on experiences), and/or on the analysis of real and situated language use in specific contexts.
Both research groups at the Department of Linguistics (CLiPS - Computational Linguistics and Psycholinguistics - and GaP - Grammar and Pragmatics) and the Department of Applied Linguistics (TricS).
'Language in use' surpasses by definition the disciplinary borders of linguistics: the empirical research combines various (complementary or integrated) methods, including natural observation (i.e. corpus analysis), experimental research and computational modelling. Moreover, it uses methods from other sciences, such as: experimental psychology, ethnography, sociology, (social) history, and computer science/artifical intelligence.
This linguistic research has implications for issues with a cognitive, social and cultural nature, which opens the opportunity to cooperate with researchers from other departments and faculties (Medicine, Sociale Sciences (research on the use of media and ICT in the research group MIOS, or intercultural themes at the research centre CeMIS), the Urban Studies Institute). In particular in relation to shared methodologies in text analysis, there are still many possibilities for collaborations with other disciplines, for instance in the rapidly developing field of Digital Humanities. Finally, there are also important applications for this research, among which therapeutic, educational and in the field of software development.