Felicia Stich

Research Interests:

  • cognitive, pragmatic, and social factors of language change
  • psycholinguistics & neurolinguistics: cognitive & neural architecture of language, semantic representation & processing, word-concept-mapping, categorization & storage, predictive processing, prosodic phrasing
  • historical linguistics: lexical semantic change, lexicalisation & grammaticalisation, Germanic philology
  • sociolinguistics: language variation & change, language ideologies, authority & verbal hygiene
  • corpus & experimental linguistics
  • cognitive & construction grammar


Words for women in German and many other languages have been disproportionately affected by evaluatively negative changes in meaning. In textbooks on semantic change, feminist commentary and historical sociolinguistics, this phenomenon is often described as pejoration, with explanations ranging from devaluation through inflationary gallantry to misogyny. However, the accounts so far do not adequately consider empirical data, developments in the wider lexicon, and the interplay of socio-cultural representation and general principles of category extension. Based on historical and contemporary corpus data, I systematically trace and compare the diachronic trajectory of 100 words for women and men from Old to Present-Day German through large-scale collocational analysis to establish differing pathways, timelines, and dimensions of meaning. I aim to show that the developments can be explained as shifts in the prototypically organised structure of lexical categories, which over time come to reflect highly salient stereotypical conceptualisations of women in thought and culture.


  • BA in English & German Language and Literature (University of Bamberg, 2016-2020)
  • Year Abroad in Linguistics (Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, 2017/18)


  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Graduate Scholarship (since 2020)
  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation) Scholar (since 2019)
  • DAAD Year Abroad Scholarship (2017/18)
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