Universität Frankfurt
Institut für Phonetik

Bild Hans-Walter Wodarz
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Wodarz (em.)
Telephon: +49 69 798-23744
Telefax: +49 69 798-22873
E-mail: wodarz@em.uni-frankfurt.de
privat: Hermann-Hesse-Str. 55, 55127 Mainz (Lerchenberg), Tel.: 06131 / 71234


Träger der Charles University Prague Silver Commemorative Medal

Prof. Dr. Wodarz (right) receiving his commemorative medal from
Charles University Rector Prof. Dr. Ivan Wilhelm (left).
Center: Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Jiří Kraus
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Wodarz (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main) was awarded the Silver Commemorative Medal of Charles University Prague for his services to the development of phonetic sciences at CU. The diploma reads "… de phoneticae disciplinis in Facultate artium Universitatis Carolinae excolendis optime merito …." The ceremony took place in the Prague Karolinum on 20th September, 2001. Apart from the CU Rector, Prof. Dr. Wilhelm, and the Vice-Rector, Prof. Dr. Kraus, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Dr. Kolář, who held the laudation, Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Skřivan, Prof. Dr. Palková, Prof. Dr. Dohalská-Zichová, Prof. Dr. Janota and Dr. Svobodová (all from the CU Institute of Phonetics), and Ing. Halašková and Mgr. Müllerová from the CU Foreign Relations Office were present at this occasion.

Silesian-born Wodarz (* July 19th, 1931), with maternal family roots in Southern Moravia and Austria, studied phonetics as his main subject at Charles University under Bohuslav Hála and was on the staff of the Prague Institute of Phonetics as an assistant for some time. He continued his academic career at the Institute of Phonetics and Communication Research, University of Bonn, first as a research fellow sponsored by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (the German Research Council), later as one of the institute’s staff members. At Bonn, he obtained his habilitation (venia legendi) in the Faculty of Arts and was appointed professor of phonetics. In the autumn of 1972, he was awarded the newly established chair of phonetics at Goethe University, which he accepted in 1973. At this institution, he began to develop systematic institutional phonetic teaching and research activities in Frankfurt. From the very beginning, an experimental phonetics laboratory was set up, and gradually a curriculum of phonetic studies at the undergraduate level, both as a major and a minor subject in four-year MA courses, was introduced, followed by instructions for postgraduate studies leading to the doctoral degree. Prof. Wodarz recognized the new perspectives in phonetics at a very early stage and took on the challenge of integrating them into a philosophy that unites the more traditional and the modern aspects of phonetics. This symbiosis is the basis for the noted success of the Frankfurt Institute in speech synthesis and for its successful participation in interdisciplinary programs.

The scientific interests of Hans-Walter Wodarz are wide-spread, ranging from general phonetics and phonology to the phonetics of German, Slavic languages, especially Czech in its standard and dialectal varieties, and - rather peripherally - Hungarian. His interests cover the phonetics of continuous speech, speaker variability, contrastive phonetics, segmental properties of speech, particularly on the durational level, as well as suprasegmental ones. In the early days of his career, he was one of the few researchers concerned with intonation and its functions in speech communication. Currently, he is focusing on Czech-German contrastive phonetics, both descriptively and experimentally.

Almost simultaneously with his Frankfurt activities, Prof. Wodarz started editing the increasingly successful series, Forum Phoneticum, which was well received by the phonetics community. Covering the whole range of phonetic sciences, some areas received special attention, e.g., Slavic languages, European regional languages, Non-European languages, languages in contact, phonetics in language teaching, phonetics of continuous speech, contrastive phonetics, phonetic aspects of speech processing, and the phonetic aspects of speech technology. At this time, 71 volumes have been published and they reflect the international relationships of the editor, too. The most prominent relationship is the long-standing cooperation between the Prague and Frankfurt phonetic institutions, centering on joint projects, most currently, Czech-German contrastive phonetics and the prediction of prosodic parameters in Czech and German. The ‘jubilee’ volume 70 (Papers in Phonetics and Speech Processing, ed. by Z. Palková and H.-W. Wodarz) is the second publication originating from this cooperation.