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Language atlases and survey materials

Photo: Brigitte Ganswindt

A core part of the collection is formed by language atlases and their survey materials.
For example, the collection of 1,668 hand-drawn partial maps includes the first complete copy of Georg Wenker’s "Sprachatlas des Deutschen Reichs" [Language Atlas of the German Empire] (the second copy is now in the State Library of Berlin) as well as the approximately 50,000 accompanying survey forms. This material, unique in the world, is a comprehensive documentation of German dialects in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Photo: Brigitte Ganswindt

Another historically unique collection is the "Sprachatlas der Rhein-Provinz nördlich der Mosel und des Kreises Siegen" [Language Atlas of the Rhenish Province North of the Moselle and the Siegen District] hand-drawn by Georg Wenker. This atlas from 1878 can be regarded as the inception of scientific linguistic cartography.                                  Another approximately 50,000 historical dialect documents are available, e.g., the multipage survey forms for the "Deutscher Wortatlas" [German Word Atlas].

In addition to the historical language maps, language atlases and survey materials, the collection includes numerous modern language atlases of German as well as other languages.