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Alemannic Variative

In the DFG project "Alemannisch variativ. Sprachgeographische und dialektometrische Untersuchungen zum historischen Dialekt in Baden und dem Elsass anhand der wiederentdeckten 'Maurer-Fragebögen'" [Alemannic variative: Geolinguistic and dialectometric studies on the historical dialect in Baden and Alsace on the basis of the rediscovered ‘Maurer questionnaires’] a historical linguistic area of German is to be systematically opened up for the first time from a social-dialectological perspective and with dialectometric analyses. The basis for this is a recovered data set of about 2,500 dialect questionnaires of a survey which was conducted under the direction of Friedrich Maurer in 1941 in the entire Baden-Alsace district or Gau, as it existed at that time. 

(1) From the point of view of dialect geography, the digitized material offers a variety of possibilities to investigate the spatial formation in the area under investigation (for example, on the Rhine border as well as in the Alemannic-Frankish transition area) as well as individual dialect phenomena and to reconstruct the change precisely in time by comparing it with older and more recent surveys. 

(2) The survey is characterized by the inclusion of various social parameters of the respondents (besides age and occupation, also information on mobility) and the survey locations (proportion of farmers/workers). On the aggregated language material it thus becomes possible to test sociodialectological hypotheses on the geographical distribution of innovations and thus on language change, which cannot be tested with other dialect geographic data sets. 

(3) The material offers the chance to make an important methodological contribution to dialect geography. Thus, by comparison with the German Word Atlas, a reliability study for the indirect survey method is possible for the first time due to its very similar survey method and the almost identical survey timing (about one third of the lexical queries overlap). Moreover, the exact details of the survey allow the empirical investigation of the influence of the survey type (answers from the teacher, answers from the students, answers from older villagers). 

The project will digitize the data for such studies and conduct analyses on all three questions. The digitized material will be freely available to other researchers after the project is completed. In the long term, the data will become part of a working environment in which it will be linked to other datasets from southwestern Germany and Alsace. The project is being worked on in collaboration with the University of Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Peter Auer).