Sabine De Knop

Professor Sabine De Knop studied German and English linguistics and literature at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels and at the Université catholique de Louvain from 1975 to 1979. In addition, Sabine de Knop studied general and applied linguistics at the Université catholique de Louvain (1977-1980), while participating in several research programs in Germany, both at the University of Cologne (1979-1980) and at the University of Bielefeld (1981 and 1982). In 1985, Sabine De Knop completed her PhD with a thesis in German linguistics (Metaphorische Komposita in Zeitungsüberschriften [‘Metaphorical Compounds in Titles of the Press‘]), which was published in Series Linguistische Arbeiten, Vol. 184, Tübingen: Niemeyer.

From 1980 to 1986, Sabine De Knop was Assistant for German language and linguistics at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels. Later on, she worked both as a high school teacher for German, English and French (1994-2001), and as a translator and interpreter for German, English and French (1994-2001). Since 2001 she is Professor for German language and linguistics and for German cultural studies at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels. In 2006, Sabine de Knop was appointed Head of the Department of modern Germanic languages at the FUSL.

Her research interests include Cognitive Linguistics, applied linguistics, language typology, pedagogical grammar, applications of Construction Grammar, metaphor, figurative language and color studies.

Among her numerous international publications are Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar - A Volume in Honour of René Dirven (edited with Teun De Rycker, 2008); Cognitive Linguistics Bibliography (Cogbib) (edited with Beate Hampe, René Dirven and Birgit Smieja, 2008); Bibliography of Metaphor and Metonymy (METBIB), The interdisciplinary resource on figurative language (edited with René Dirven and Birgit Smieja, 2010); Fostering Language Teaching Efficiency through CL (edited with Frank Boers and Teun De Rycker, 2010), or “German constructions with the preposition bis” (published in Cognitextes, 2010).

“Language Pedagogy at the crossroads between Linguistic Typology, Contrastive Linguistics and Construction Grammar”
Today’s modern language pedagogy aims at “near-native proficiency” (Boers/De Rycker/De Knop 2010: 7), i.e. genuine and fluent communication in semi-authentic situations. These situations are rooted in life experience. Because learners often lack foreign life experience, the acquisition of a foreign language is not happening incidentally, but it has to be supported by an adequate language teaching methodology which clearly defines the relevant items and the way to teach them (Boers/De Rycker/De Knop 2010). Cognitive Linguistics (CL) offers a fruitful multi-faceted framework for such a methodology, inspired by insights from the sub-domains linguistic typology (Talmy 2000), contrastive linguistics (Gast fc.; König & Gast 2007) and Construction Grammar (Goldberg 2006). Based on examples of motion and location expressions in French, English, Dutch and German and on causal constructions with colour adjectives in French and German my talk will illustrate some aspects of a CL-oriented language pedagogy. It will also show that all three sub-domains offer complementary insights in order to “foster language teaching efficiency” (De Knop/Boers/De Rycker 2010).