Rosemarie Tracy is Professor of English Linguistics, and in 2019 was granted the title of Senior Professor by the University of Mannheim. Her main research focus is on types of language acquisition and on resourcefulness and other effects of language contact (such as code-switching, borrowing, individual language change) in bilingual children and adults.
Her currently DFG-funded projects are part of the Research Unit Emerging Grammar (RUEG) and focus on the dynamics of German as a minority and heritage language in the U.S., including a transfer project aiming at supporting the acquisition and maintenance of family languages. Other active transfer projects include cooperation projects with various non-academic partners in educational contexts. Her initiative offering advice to parents, preschool educators and teachers (Forschungs- und Kontaktstelle Mehrsprachigkeit) encouraged her and colleagues to found the Mannheim Center for Empirical Multilingualism Research, a non-profit organization (MAZEM gGmbH). MAZEM supports language development initiatives for children and adolescents, evaluates language support programs and works with educators and teachers (via team teaching, coachings and workshops)
In addition to her academic publications, Prof. Tracy has published a book on language acquisition aimed at parents and educators, Wie Kinder Sprachen lernen (How children acquire languages), as well as a German and English poetry collection, Wege schreiben – schmaler Grat für zwei Füße (Writing Paths – Narrow Ridge for Two Feet), dlv 2020.
In March 2022 she received the lifetime achievement Wilhelm v. Humboldt award by the German Linguistics Society (DGfS).
Prof. Tracy studied English and Romance Languages (French and Portuguese) at the Universities of Mannheim, Göttingen and at Bryn Mawr College (PA, USA). She obtained her PhD in Göttingen with a longitudinal study of first language acquisition (Sprachliche Strukturentwicklung: Linguistische und kognitionspsychologische Aspekte einer Theorie des Erstspracherwerbs), with general linguistics and psychology as minors. After teaching linguistics and psycholinguistics at the SRH University Heidelberg, she became an academic staff member and then assistant professor (C1) at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. During her employment in Tübingen, she headed a DFG project comparing language acquisition in monolingual and bilingual children and obtained a DFG grant for pursuing the post-doctoral habilitation degree (Child Languages in Contact). In 1995 she was offered a professorship at the University of Mannheim, where she built up and expanded the area of synchronic linguistics in the English department, both in teaching and research. From 2000–2005, together with her Tübingen colleague Dr. E. Lattey, she headed the DFG-funded project Language Contact German-English: Code-switching, Crossover u. Co., part of the research unit „Sprachliche Variation als kommunikative Praxis: formale und funktionale Parameter“ of the University and the IDS Mannheim.
Among Prof. Tracy’s administrative responsibilities were various functions: she was vice dean of her faculty, a member of the senate, and from 2015 to 2018 she was vice president of the university, in charge of research, young researchers, and equal opportunity. Outside her own university, Prof. Tracy has been and continues to be a member of scientific boards of foundations and universities. She was a long-time member of the linguistic review board of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and a member of the board, vice chair and chair of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS). In 2019 she was elected chair of the university board of the University of Education Heidelberg.