Petra B. Schumacher

Ph.D. - Linguistics




Please visit my JoGu Mainz site for more frequently updated information.



Contact Information:


Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft

Jakob-Welder-Weg 18 (Philosophicum)

Raum 03-536

55099 Mainz


Phone: (+49) (0)6131 - 39 23859                                               

Fax:     (+49) (0)6131 - 39 23836


Email:  petra (dot) burkhardt [at] aya (dot) yale (dot) edu                                             



Research Interests:


·        Psycho- and neurolinguistics

·        Language processing at the interface (syntax, discourse, semantics)

·        Information structure

·        Reference

·        Pragmatic enrichment



Curriculum Vitae




1992               Abitur, Kepler-Gymnasium, Freudenstadt, Germany

1992-1998     English Language and Literature and Business Studies, Mannheim University, Mannheim, Germany

1994-1995     Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, USA 

1996               University of Oslo / International Summer School, Oslo, Norway (1996) 

1998-2004     Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA


1998               Diploma in English Philology and Business Studies (Dipom-Anglistik mit wirtschaftswissenschaftlicher Qualifikation),

Mannheim University, Mannheim, Germany 

1999               M.A. in Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA 

2002               M.Phil. in Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA 

2004               Ph.D. in Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA



Academic Positions:


1999-2004                Department of Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA (Research and Teaching Assistant)

2004-2005                Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany (Postdoctoral Researcher)

2005-2006                Research Group ‘Conflicting Rules’, Department of Linguistics, Potsdam University, Potsdam, Germany (Researcher)

2006                           Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany (Visiting Researcher)

2006-2008                Department of Germanic Linguistics, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany

(DFG Project “Referentialization of determiner phrases in discourse”)

2008                           Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (Visiting Researcher)

since 10/2008          Department of English and Linguistics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany

                                    (Emmy Noether Research Group (DFG) "Neurolinguistic foundations of information structure")

since 04/2012          Institut für deutsche Sprache und Literatur I, Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany

                                    (Interim Professor)



Additional Research Experience:


6/2001-9/2001         Max-Planck-Institute of Cognitive NeuroScience, Leipzig, Germany (Visiting Researcher)

9/2002-12/2002         Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht, the Netherlands (Marie Curie Fellow)






2013   Petra B. Schumacher. (2013). Content and Context in Incremental Processing: „The Ham Sandwich“ Revisited. Philosophical Studies.

Petra B. Schumacher & Jörg  Meibauer. (2013). Pragmatic Inferencing and Expert Knowledge. In: F. Liedtke & C. Schulze. Beyond Words: Content, Context, and Inference. Mouton Series in Pragmatics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 213-228.

Petra B. Schumacher & Hanna Weiland. (2013). Referential Properties of Definites and Salience Spreading. In: A. Aguilar-Guevara, B. Le Bruyn, & J. Zwarts. (2013). Weak Referentiality. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Luming Wang  & Petra B. Schumacher. (2013). New is Not Always Costly: Evidence from Online Processing of Topic and Contrast in Japanese. Frontiers in Psychology. 4:363. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00363.

2012   Stefan Baumann & Petra B. Schumacher. (2012). (De-)Accentuation and the Processing of Information Status - Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials. Language and Speech, 55, 3, 361-381.

              Rita Finkbeiner, Jörg Meibauer & Petra B. Schumacher. (2012). What is a Context? Linguistic Approaches and Challenges. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Yu-Chen Hung & Petra B. Schumacher. (2012). Topicality Matters: Position-Specific Demands on Chinese Discourse Processing. Neuroscience Letters, 511, 2, 59-64.

Petra B. Schumacher. (2012). Context in Neurolinguistics: Time-Course Data from Electrophysiology. In: R. Finkbeiner, J. Meibauer, & P. B. Schumacher. (Eds). What is a Context? Linguistic Approaches and Challenges. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 33-53.

Petra B. Schumacher & Yu-Chen Hung. (2012). Positional Influences on Information Packaging: Insights from Topological Fields in German. Journal of Memory and Language, 67, 2, 295-310.

Petra B. Schumacher, Valentina Bambini & Hanna Weiland. (2012). Event-Related Brain Potentials of Masked Repetition and Semantic Priming while Listening to Sentences. Neuroscience Letters, 530, 2, 138-143.

2011   Bai, Chen, Shushan Cai & Petra B. Schumacher. (2011). Reversibility in Chinese Word Formation Influences Target Identification. Neuroscience Letters, 499, 1, 14-18. 

Masako Hirotani & Petra B. Schumacher. (2011). Context and Topic Marking Affect Distinct Processes During Discourse Comprehension in Japanese. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 24, 3, 276-292. 

Petra B. Schumacher. (2011). The hepatitis called …: Electrophysiological Evidence for Enriched Composition. In: J. Meibauer & M. Steinbach. (Eds.) Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics.Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 199-219.

Petra B. Schumacher & Sergey Avrutin. (2011). Register Affects Language Comprehension: ERP Evidence from Article Omission in Newspaper Headlines. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 24, 3, 304-319. 

            Petra B. Schumacher, Walter Bisang & Linlin Sun (2011). Perspective in the Processing of the Chinese Reflexive ziji: ERP Evidence. In: I. Hendrickx, A. Branco, S. Lalitha Devi, & R. Mitkov. (Eds.) Anaphora processing and applications.  Heidelberg: Springer, 119-131.

            Esther Ruigendijk & Petra B. Schumacher. (2011). Reaction Time Data Reveal Variation in Reference Assignment Processes in Germanic Languages. In: I. Hendrickx, A. Branco, S. Lalitha Devi, & R. Mitkov. (Eds.) Proceedings of DAARC 2011 - The 8th Discourse Anaphora and Anaphora Resolution Colloquium. Lisbon: Edições Colibri, 127-138.

2010    Petra B. Schumacher. (2010). Real-Time Comprehension in Agrammatic Aphasia. In: G. Ibanescu & S. Pescariu. (Eds.)  Aphasia: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 101-118. 

Petra B. Schumacher & Stefan Baumann. (2010). Pitch Accent Type Affects the N400 during Referential ProcessingNeuroreport, 21, 9, 618-622. 

Petra B. Schumacher, Manfred Consten & Mareile Knees. (2010). Constraints on Ontology Changing Complexation Processes: Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25, 6, 840-865. 

Petra B. Schumacher, Maria M. Piñango, Esther Ruigendijk & Sergey Avrutin. (2010). Reference Assignment in Dutch: Evidence for the Syntax-Discourse Divide. Lingua, 120, 7, 1738-1763.

2009   Petra Burkhardt & Ulrike Domahs. (2009).  Experimental Evidence for Minimal Structure. Lingua, 119, 10, 1373-1379.

            Petra B. Schumacher. (2009a). Definiteness Marking Shows Late Effects During Discourse Processing: Evidence from ERPs. In: S. Lalitha Devi, A. Branco, & R. Mitkov. (Eds.) Anaphora Processing and Applications, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 5847. Heidelberg: Springer, 91-106.

Petra B. Schumacher. (2009b). The Given-New Distinction: Insights from Inferrables. In: Linguistic Society of Korea. (Eds.) Curent issues in unity and diversity of languages. Korea, Dongnam Publishing Company, 359-379.

Richard Wiese, Petra B. Schumacher & Matthias Schlesewsky. (2009). Neurokognition der Sprache in Wort, Satz und Text. In: Huber, M. & S. Winko (Eds.) Literatur und Kognition. Bestandsaufnahmen und Perspektiven eines Arbeitsfeldes. Paderborn, Mentis Verlag, 85-98.

2008   Chen Bai, Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Luming Wang, Yu-Chen Hung, Matthias Schlesewsky & Petra Burkhardt. (2008). Semantic Composition Engenders an N400: Evidence from Chinese Compounds. NeuroReport, 19, 6, 695-699.

            Petra Burkhardt. (2008a). Dependency Precedes Independence: Online Evidence from Discourse Processing. In: Benz, A. & P. Kühnlein.(Eds.) Constraints in discourse. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 141-158.

            Petra Burkhardt. (2008b). Two Types of Definites: Evidence for Presupposition Cost. In: Grønn, A. (Ed.) Proceedings of SuB12. Oslo: ILOS 2008, 66-80.

Petra Burkhardt, Sergey Avrutin, Maria M. Piñango & Esther Ruigendijk. (2008). Slower-Than-Normal Syntactic Processing in Agrammatic Broca’s Aphasia: Evidence From Dutch. Journal of Neurolinguistics,21, 2, 120-137.

2007   Petra Burkhardt. (2007a). The P600 Reflects Cost of New Information in Discourse Memory. NeuroReport, 18, 17, 1851-1854.

            Petra Burkhardt. (2007b). Reference Assignment in the Absence of Sufficient Semantic Content. In: Schwarz-Friesel, M., M. Consten, & M. Knees. (Eds.) Anaphors in text: cognitive, formal and applied approaches to anaphoric reference.  Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 241-258.

            Petra Burkhardt, G. Fanselow & M. Schlesewsky. (2007). The Effects of (In)Transitivity on Structure Building and Agreement. Brain Research, 1163, 100-110.

Petra Burkhardt & Dietmar Roehm. (2007). Differential Effects of Saliency: An Event-related Brain Potential Study. Neuroscience Letters,  413, 2, 115-120.

2006  Petra Burkhardt. (2006). Inferential Bridging Relations Reveal Distinct Neural Mechanisms: Evidence from Event-related Brain Potentials. Brain and Language, 98, 2, 159-168.

2005   Petra Burkhardt. (2005). The Syntax-Discourse Interface: Representing and Interpreting Dependency. Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 80. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Maria M. Piñango & Petra Burkhardt. (2005). Pronominal Interpretation and the Syntax-Discourse Interface: Real-time Comprehension and Neurological Properties. In: Branco, A., T. McEnery & R. Mitkov. (Eds.) Anaphora Processing: linguistic, cognitive and computational modelling. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 221-238. 

2004   Petra Burkhardt. (2004). Representation and Interpretation at the Syntax-Discourse Interface: Establishing Dependency. Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, New Haven, USA.

2003   Petra Burkhardt, Maria M. Piñango, & Keng Wong. (2003). The Role of the Anterior Left Hemisphere in Real-Time Sentence Comprehension: Evidence from Split Intransitivity. Brain and Language, 86, 1, 9-22.

2002   Petra Burkhardt. (2002a). Multiple Faithfulness in Fox (Central Algonquian) Reduplication. In: M. van Koppen, J. Sio, & M. de Vos. (Eds.). ConSole X Proceedings: proceedings of the tenth conference of the Student Organisation of Linguistics in Europe. Leiden: SOLE. 33-48.

Petra Burkhardt. (2002b). Logophors: Looking Outside of Syntax. Evidence from real-time sentence comprehension. In M. van Koppen, E. Thrift, E. J. van der Torre, & M. Zimmermann (Eds.). Proceedings of Console IX.