A quantitative approach to Swiss German – Dialectometric analyses and comparisons of linguistic levels

Yves Scherrer 1  and Philipp Stoeckle 2
  • 1 Université de Genève
  • 2 Universität Zürich
Yves Scherrer and Philipp Stoeckle

Abstract

German-speaking Switzerland can certainly be regarded as one of the liveliest and at the same time best researched dialect areas in Central Europe. It is all the more surprising that dialectometric analyses in this area have only recently been performed and none of them included an investigation into the level of syntax. In this paper we pursue two goals: First, we present digital data that has been made available in recent years on the basis of the Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz (SDS) and the Syntaktischer Atlas der deutschen Schweiz (SADS). Our second goal is to present dialectometric analyses performed with this data. A special focus is put on the comparison of different linguistic levels (lexis, phonology, morphology and syntax). Our methods include hierarchical cluster analyses (of the whole dataset as well as of the linguistic levels), correlations (between pairs of linguistic levels and between linguistic levels and geography) and parameter maps which allow us to draw conclusions about the distributions of innovative and conservative regions, dialect centers and transition zones. Our results show that while all four levels generally yield similar geographic patterns (dynamic areas in the North vs. conservative areas in the South, agreement of dialect and cantonal borders, high correlations with geography), syntax deviates most from the other levels.

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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica publishes contributions on the variation of languages world-wide, systematic and inherent, diachronic and synchronic, regional and social, based on either oral or written data. It is open to all theoretical and methodological approaches. The journal is the official journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics (ISDG/SIDG).

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