The object of the project is to remedy two of the most serious desiderata in the long history of the study of the German language: Firstly, although the basic German dialects have been intensively researched for 180 years (Schmeller 1821), there are no comprehensive descriptions of the „modern regional languages“, i.e. the linguistic variation areas that represent the spoken everyday language of most language participants in the present. Secondly, there is no information structure that would allow the numerous research materials and results of the past to be directly related to each other and to the new modern regional languages to be surveyed and analytically integrated. The aim of the project is therefore the first systematic indexing of the modern regional languages of German.
This comprehensive goal is divided into two sub-goals:
1. to build up a research-centred information system on the modern regional languages of German, in which the immense data stocks of dialectological, sociolinguistic and variation linguistic research available up to now are bundled, related to each other and thus made available to research for systematic comparative analyses and to the public as a source of information.
2. initial survey and analysis of the variation-linguistic structure and dynamics of the modern regional languages of German. For this purpose, it is necessary to survey and analyse the variation space which characterises these modern regional languages and which is constituted by the elements „regional accent“ (pole closest to the standard), „dialect“ (pole furthest from the standard) and an intermediate variety structure.
The technical basis and data stock of the project is the „Digital Wenker Atlas“, the internet publication of the oldest and, in terms of data volume and local network density, largest language atlas in the world to date. The internet publication, which has been in production since 2001, is internationally regarded as the most technically advanced and linguistically best indexed language atlas. On this basis, the project „REGIONALSPRACHE.DE (REDE)“ aims to completely index the spoken language system of a cultural language linguistically and to document it comprehensively in its vertical, spatial and temporal dimensions.
Article in the FAZ from 06.02.2008
Presentation of the project on Deutschlandfunk, programme „Studiozeit“
Presentation of the project manager in the FAZ from 05.05.2008