Associate Professor

Applied linguistics (conversation analysis, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics)

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Emma Betz


Dr. Betz is Associate Professor of German and a Conversation Analyst. She joined the University of Waterloo in 2012.

In the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Dr. Betz teaches language courses and applied linguistics courses. She also coordinates the first-year language program and participates in teacher training.

Dr. Betz’s research interests include conversation analysis, interactional linguistics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. Her book “Grammar and Interaction: Pivots in German Conversation” investigates syntactic patterns and syntactic variation in spoken German. She has also published on 'little words' (address and reference terms, modal particles, response tokens) and their role in constructing and displaying knowledge. Dr. Betz is interested in cross-linguistic comparisons (between languages and between varieties of German) and in the acquisition and development of pragmatic skills (in language learners as well as children and teenagers).

Selected publications

Bendig, I., Betz, E., & Huth, T. (in press). “weil – das ist eben doch richtig so.” Teaching variant types of weil- and obwohl-structures in German. Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 49(2).

Betz, E. (2015). Indexing epistemic access through different confirmation formats: Uses of responsive (das) stimmt in German interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 87, 251-266. Special Issue on ‘Reference in Interaction from a Cross-Cultural Perspective.’

Betz, E. (2015). Recipient design in reference choice: Negotiating knowledge, access, and sequential trajectories. Gesprächsforschung, 16, 137-173.

Betz, E. (2015). “des is halt so”: Explaining, justifying, and convincing with 'halt'Unterrichtspraxis/ Teaching German, 48(1), 114-132. 

Betz, E. & Huth, T. (Eds.) (2014-2016). Special Focus Issue Series: “Beyond Grammar: Teaching Interaction in the German Language Classroom.” Unterrichtspraxis/ Teaching German, 47(2), 48(1), 49(1), 49(2).

Betz, E., & Huth, T. (2014). Beyond grammar: Teaching interaction in the German classroomUnterrichtspraxis/ Teaching German, 47(2),140-163. [Introduction to Special Focus Issue Series.]

Betz, E. (2014). Levinson's Activity Types and Grammar. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Betz, E., Taleghani-Nikazm, C., Drake, V., & Golato, A. (2013). Third-position repeats in German: The case of repair- and request-for-information sequences. Gesprächsforschung, 14, 133-166.

Betz, E. (2013). Quote – unquote in one variety of German: Two interactional functions of pivot constructions used as frames for quotation in Siebenbürger Sächsisch. Journal of Pragmatics, 54, 16-34.

Betz, E. (2011). Word choice, turn construction, and topic management in German conversation: Adverbs that are sensitive to interactional positioning. In Mike Putnam (Ed.), Studies on German-Language Islands (pp. 415-454). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Betz, E. & Golato, A. (2008). Remembering relevant information and withholding relevant next actions: The German token 'ach ja'. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 41(1), 55-98.

Golato, A. & Betz. E. (2008). German 'ach' and 'achso' in repair uptake: Resources to sustain or remove epistemic asymmetry. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft, 27, 7-37.

Betz, E. (2008). Grammar and Interaction: Pivots in German ConversationAmsterdam: Benjamins.


  • GER 613/713 Managing Understanding (Topics in Discourse Analysis)
  • GER 614/714 Pragmatics and the Language Learner (Topics in Linguistic Theory)
  • GER 600/700/790 Methods of Research
  • Interactional Approaches to Youth Language/ Interaktionale Zugänge zur Jugendsprache (MA course taught in Mannheim)
  • GER 431/613/713 Doctor-Patient Interaction/Medizinische Kommunikation
  • GER 331 Exploring the German Language
  • GER 307 Professional German
  • GER 101, GER 102 Elementary German
University of Waterloo

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