The southern part of the Austrian state of Carinthia has a long history of language contact between Slovene and German. Since the beginning of the 19th century a decrease in bilingualism and the use of Slovene has been taking place which has accelerated in the last few decades. This contribution analyzes this transformation and in particular the influence of local and regional factors on the development of bilingualism in Carinthia. A multi-methodological approach is adopted, combining data from two different sources: (1) cemeteries and gravestones as public witnesses of language use and markers of (self-)identification, and (2) data on language use from the census and other (parish language, language in schools) for a quantitative analysis. Using this approach, data from two case studies is discussed in detail: two villages/parishes with similar initial conditions (high percentage of Slovene in 1880) but different outcomes. In one case, bilingualism is preserved (albeit on a low level); in the other, the bilingual reality of the past has been transformed into a monolingual German one. Such differences can be attributed to general political developments regarding the status of Slovene in Austria, but also to local factors such as the presence of a Slovene cultural association. Our analyses further show the political character of census data, which has little overlap with actual language usage, but depicts attitudes towards bilingualism and Slovene. Cemeteries, on the other hand, bear witness to the Slovene past long after “active” bilingualism has disappeared.