Dialect/standard variety convergence along the German/Austrian border
2022-04-13, 14:30–15:00 (Europe/Vienna), Room 1


Several studies indicate that, beside other contact varieties, the standard language influences the face of today's dialects to a considerable degree (cf. Auer 1997, 2005; Scheutz 1999; Smits 2011). In case of a pluricentric standard language, the situation becomes much more discriminating. As these varieties have different qualities regarding media presence or the number of speakers, they have various effects on the dialectal level. In which way these preconditions of a standard variety affect linguistic phenomena can be observed on the German-Austrian border. The territories along the border not only share a long common history, they also share a common dialectal variety. In contrast to this, however, there are the overarching standard varieties, the Österreichisches Standarddeutsch (Austrian Standard German) and the Bundesdeutsch (German Standard German) (cf. Ammon 2011).

The linguistic study begins where dialectal variants used together in the border area differ from those of the respective standard varieties. In addition, the more generalised dialects influenced by Munich and Vienna are also taken into account on the basis of a real time analysis of older collections (Sprachatlas von Oberbayern, Sprachatlas von Oberösterreich) with current surveys. In addition, an apparent time analysis was used to investigate what variants are used within three age groups. Further examinations should find out if this distribution can be interpreted as dynamic.

One of the results show that lexical variants of German Standard German can be found among Austrian speakers, but they are equally distributed across the age groups. On the German side, however, the use of these standard instead of dialectal forms is increasing. This observation suggests that despite media presence of the German Standard German, the Austrian forms prove to be consistent. At the same time, this finding could suggest that the two standard varieties are generally becoming more entrenched than converging. In addition to this example, other results of the study will be presented in the lecture, which show to what extent adoptions from other varieties can serve to establish phonological disambiguity.


Ammon, Ulrich. 2011. Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz: Das Problem der nationalen Varietäten. Berlin & Boston. De Gruyter.

Auer, Peter. 1997. Führt Dialektabbau zur Stärkung oder Schwächung der Standardvarietät? Zwei phonologische Fallstudien In Klaus J. Mattheier & Edgar Radtke (eds.), Standardisierung und Destandardisierung europäischer Nationalsprachen, 129-162. Frankfurt am Main: Lang.

Auer, Peter. 2005. Sprache, Grenze, Raum. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 23(2). 149-179.

Scheutz, Hannes. 1999. Umgangssprache als Ergebnis von Konvergenz- und Divergenzprozessen zwischen Dialekt und Standardsprache In Thomas Stehl (ed.), Dialektgenerationen, Dialektfunktionen, Sprachwandel, 105-131. Tübingen: Narr.

Smits, Tom 2011. Strukturwandel in Grenzdialekten. Die Konsolidierung der niederländisch-deutschen Staatsgrenze als Dialektgrenze. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Sprachatlas von Oberösterreich. 1998. Linz: Adalbert-Stifter-Institut des Landes Oberösterreich.

Sprachatlas von Oberbayern (Bayerischer Sprachatlas: Regionalteil 6). 2005. Heidelberg: Winter.