Higher sem. Scandinavian languages. Peter Auer: Dialect levelling in German Alemannic and [...]


Date: Wednesday 2 March 2022

Time: 13.00 – 14.30

Location: Room D389 and on Zoom.

Higher seminar in Scandinavian languages: Dialect levelling in German Alemannic and a possible impact of Alsatian Alemannic. Peter Auer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. (Co-authors: Martin Pfeiffer and Göz Kaufmann.) Co-arrangement with The colloquiums in German and Dutch.

To the Zoom seminar

The presentation focuses on the phonological variables of the lowering of OHG ë and the fricativization of intervocalic /g/ in southwestern Germany, studied by quantitative variationist sociolinguistic techniques combined with traditional methods in dialectology. These variables only occur in German Alemannic in a small border zone, while they are widely used in Alsatian Alemannic. From a German perspective, these western features thus have a strong hinterland on the French side of the border. Are these variables, one may ask, less prone to be levelled out than phonological features that traditionally show a different geographical distribution (north/south divide instead of west/east)? Two such variables considered in our paper are the southern back fricative [x] after front vowels and the northern fricativization of intervocalic /b/. These variables are also part of the traditional dialects in the Upper Rhine area but occur equally on both sides of the border and are therefore not typical of Alsatian Alemannic.

To investigate this hypothesis, we ask whether speakers with more pro-Alsatian attitudes and more contacts with the Alsace (Pfeiffer 2019) or speakers who live in regions that are historically oriented toward the Alsace, are more conservative in their realization of variables that are backed by the Alsatian hinterland (lowering of OHG ë and fricativization of intervocalic /g/). We would expect this effect not to be observed in the realization of variables that are not typically Alsatian (back fricative [x] and fricativization of intervocalic /b/). This hypothesis is weakly supported.

Peter Auer

About the Higher seminar in Scandinavian languages

Calendar at Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch and German