Robert Möller: Zur diatopischen Gliederung des alltagssprachlichen Wortgebrauchs
The present article presents the results of a dialectometrical analysis of Jürgen Eichhoff’s "Word Atlas of Colloquial Varieties of German" (Wortatlas der deutschen Umgangssprachen [Vol. 1-4, 1977. 1978, 1993, 2000]). This atlas investigates which words are "usual" in a locality. At the same time, it seeks to record local variants in the area of lexis and to establish the characteristic diatopic differences in the degree to which regional words on the one hand and words from Standard German on the other are used. The statistical evaluation of 198 word maps provides us with a comprehensive picture of the regional differentiation in the everyday German of the period between the nineteen-seventies and the nineteen-nineties in the areas of lexis and pragmatics. The clear distinction between northern Germany, where we have a language closer to Standard German, and the southern parts of the German-speaking area, where we have usages closer to regional dialect, is made apparent by the mapping of the "range" (that is, the size of the area with relevant samples) of the words listed. Maps in which the degree of agreement between the information from one particular locality and the others is indicated also show us the larger regional entities which are differentiated from each other by specifically regional vocabulary and differing attitudes towards the use of regional vocabulary in everyday speech. These maps and the results of a cluster analysis allow us to recognize the pattern of usage in everyday language, which to some extent corresponds to the traditional dialect classification based on phonological and morphological criteria. However, certain features appear to be determined by the political boundaries of the 19th and 20th centuries. This can probably be partly explained by the changeable nature of areal lexical structures in the dialects and partly by processes of levelling and selection which are to be associated with the transition to a colloquial language no longer (purely) dialectal in character whose reception in the 19th and 20th centuries by the population as a whole followed a clear geographical pattern. The almost complete agreement between the pattern of lexical usage and today’s national and provincial boundaries leads one to expect that this state of affairs will remain more or less unaltered as long as regional forms do not entirely give way to those of Standard German.