Katharina Prochazka | physics + linguistics Katharina Prochazka | physics + linguistics

What I do

Job-wise, I work as a post-doc researcher at the Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Vienna, within the sub-project German in the context of the other languages of the Habsburg state (19th century) and the Second Austrian Republic which is embedded in the larger special research programme “German in Austria”. (I wrote a blog post on how I got there after getting a PhD in physics, in case you were wondering.)

Research-wise, I use quantitative methods to study language contact and language shift in the multilingual Habsburg Empire. This means I try to find patterns within a large amount of data, and replicate them in mathematical models. Or, in short: I like numbers .

scribble of a graph of some data

What I did before that

I recently (April 2019) finished my PhD at the Faculty of Physics in the group Dynamics of Condensed Systems. My dissertation titled “Diffusion modeling of language shift in Austria(-Hungary)” brought together physics and linguistics: How can we use methods from (solid state) physics to describe the spread of languages? In other words: Is there a diffusion of languages?

Further information, interactive maps and publications can be found on the project website.

Before that, I completed an MSc in Physics (2015) and an MA in Theoretical Linguistics (2013). I also have a diploma in printmaking and media technology from a graphic design school (the Graphische in Vienna).

At work. With Lego. [photo of me sitting at my desk at the computer with various books and papers around me, working on some programming task with census data] At work. With Lego. [photo by Agnes Kim]

Publications & talks: A list can be found on ORCID or the university portal (things from before 2015 are not on either of these, please contact me if you want a complete list or PDFs of any publication).

Teaching: I have taught various courses at the University of Vienna (both physics and linguistics).

Outreach: I work(ed) quite a lot with the Young Minds section of the Austrian Physical Society (ÖPG). I also co-designed an exhibition on historical multilingualism in Austria which is now available online. To bring my research to the masses (so to speak), I have given pop science talks about combining physics with linguistics, and on the linguistics of football .

What I can do: Some projects


As a physicist, I am trained in solid state physics and materials science, as well as in mathematical modelling and computer simulations.


As a linguist, I have worked on Austrian German/German in Austria, morphology, sociolinguistics and the linguistics of football. Further research interests are historical multilingualism, language contact and quantitative linguistics.

Graphic design

Although I do not currently work in publishing, I enjoy applying the knowledge I have to the presentation of research: selecting fonts and color schemes, creating maps, layouting text and visualizing data in many ways.


You can best reach me via . I can read and answer in German, English and passable French. (I know a bit of Slovenian, but probably not enough to write a meaningful e-mail unless you want to exchange basic greetings and introductions.)


Katharina Prochazka
Department of Slavonic Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 3
1090 Wien