Three questions to intern Alex Göbel

From June 2018 to July 2018, Alexander Göbel is an intern in the project “InfoPer2: Processing speaker’s meaning: Epistemic state, cooperation, commitment“ at the University of Cologne, supervised by Petra Schumacher. Alexander is a third-year graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his main research areas are in psycholinguistics and semantics/pragmatics.

Alex Goebel

Q1: How would you describe the topic of your dissertation in three sentences to your neighbor?
A: Actually I haven’t started my dissertation research yet, or am just about to, since the PhD programs in the US leave that for later, but my current plan is to work on accommodation. In laywoman terms, I’m interested in how people deal with situations in which they are missing information to interpret an utterance. So for instance when someone uses a pronoun like ‘she’ and you don’t know who ‘she’ is, when are you gonna complain and when are you gonna just go with it, and more importantly why.
Q2: What led you to apply for an internship in our program?
A: For one thing, it seemed like a great opportunity to do a research project over the summer and have a change in scenery, without too much need for adjustments since I’m originally from Germany. Then the InfoPer2 project that I’m associated with now is very much in line with my interests. I worked on German pronouns and perspective from a theoretical angle over the last school year in the US and the internship seemed perfect to tackle some of the issues that came up in an experimental setting.
Q3: Your internship has been running for a while now. How do you like it? Does it meet your expectations?
A: It’s been great! I really enjoy the working environment and my supervisor Petra (Schumacher) has really made me feel welcome and at home. I’m also making connections with people working on similar things. It’s a really pleasant way of getting work done that is just the right scope, so I definitely couldn’t be asking for more.