Prof. Irene Mittelberg, Ph.D.
Building 6070 | Room 401
Theaterplatz 14
52062 Aachen

Phone: +49 241 8025480

Prof. Irene MIttelberg is on sabbatical in the winter semester. Should you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Rohde.



If you would like to make an appointment with Prof. Mittelberg, please email Mrs. Rohde at to set up a time and date.


LuF Linguistics and cognitive semiotics (LinKS)

Center for Sign Language ans Gesture (SingGes)

Gudrun Rohde, M.A.

Phone: 0241 - 8025481

office: Theaterplatz 14, room 402

office hours: monday to thursday 9 AM to 12 AM



Department of Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy


Kompetenzzentrum für Gebärdensprache und Gestik (SignGes)

"Nos premiers maîtres de philosophie sont nos pieds, nos mains, nos yeux." 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(Émile ou l'éducation)

Prof. Irene Mittelberg, Ph.D.

Irene Mittelberg is Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics at the Human Technology Centre (HumTec) at RWTH Aachen University, where she directs the Natural Media Lab and interdisciplinary research on coverbal gesture. She also serves as director of the Aachen Center for Sign Language and Gesture (SignGes).

Irene Mittelberg studied French Linguistics, Economics and Art History in Freiburg, Paris and Hamburg. She continued her graduate education at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Studies - under the guidance of Linda Waugh, Michael Spivey, James Gair and Hongyin Tao. Before joining RWTH Aachen in 2009, she was Assistant Professor of English Linguistics at VU University Amsterdam.

Her theoretical work combines traditional semiotic theories (C.S. Peirce, Roman Jakobson) with embodied approaches to language, cognition, and multimodal communication (e.g. iconicity, indexicality, image schemas, force dynamicy, frames, metonymy and metaphor). She has done extensive research on several semiotic systems, especially language and visuo-spatial modalities such as coverbal gesture and the visual arts, drawing connections to aesthetics and art history.

Recent research interests include the use of motion-capture technology for gesture research, the pragmatics of gesture space, multimodal constructions, body diagrams, gesture poetics, transmodal art appreciation, and gesture in architectural design processes.

Irene Mittelberg is co-founder of several workshop series, including MaMuD (Mapping Multimodal Dialogue) and EMCL (Empirical Methods in Cognitive Linguistics), an international, interdisciplinary, workshop series begun at Cornell in 2003.


2006 Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Dissertation: Metaphor and Metonymy in Language and Gesture: Discourse Evidence for Multimodal Models of Grammar. Advisor: Linda R. Waugh.

2001 (Spring) Visiting scholar. Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley.

2000 M.A. in Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

1996 M.A. in French Linguistics, Art History, and Economics, University of Hamburg.

1991 French Language and Literature, Université de Paris IV, La Sorbonne.

1990 B.A. (German equivalent) in Romance Linguistics and Economics, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


Since 04/2016

Professor of Linguistics and Coginitve Semiotics, Institute of English, American and Roman Studies and Human Technology Centre (HumTec) RTWH Aachen University

04/2009 - 03/2016
Assistant Professor, Linguistics & Cognitive Semiotics, Human Technology Centre, RWTH Aachen University. Director of the interdisciplinary research project Natural Media & Engineering.

Assistant Professor, English Linguistics, Department of Language & Communication, Faculty of Arts, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Applied Linguistics. Faculty of Cultural Sciences, European University Viadrina at Frankfurt/Oder, Lehrstuhl Prof. Dr. Cornelia Müller.

2005 Lecturer. Academic and Creative Writing, Pre-Medical Progam. Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar.

Research Projects

Academic functions and memberships

Co-Founder of Workshop Series

Edited books

Mittelberg, I.  (2010). Gastherausgeberin des Sonderhefts zum Thema 'Sprache und Gestik', Sprache und Literatur, 41/1, mit Beiträgen von G. Fehrmann, E. Fricke, L. Jäger, S. Ladewig, I. Mittelberg, and C. Müller. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 145 pages.

Gonzalez-Marquez, M., Mittelberg, I., S. Coulson, Spivey, M. J. (Eds.)  (2007). Methods in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 452 pages.


Mittelberg, I. (2006). Metaphor and Metonymy in Language and Gesture: Discourse Evidence for Multimodal Models of Grammar. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University. Published online, Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest/UMI (ISBN: 9780542533464). Link


in press/under revision
















Mittelberg, I. (1999). Grammatical imaginations. A Media-Historical Approach to Linguistic and Pictorial Metaphor. Proceedings of the AISB '99 Symposium on Metaphor, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognition. AISB, 79-86.

Mittelberg, I. (1999). The blackbird (Excerpt from Richard de Fournival's ‘Bestiaire d'amours'). Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics (Papers in Romance Philology) 17, 84-87.

Mittelberg, I. (1999). An Excerpt from ‘El libro de los caballos'. 13th century translation of the ‘Practica equorum'. Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics (Papers in Romance Philology) 17, 152-156.