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"Standard usage" : towards a realistic conception of spoken standard German

  • "Standard language" is a contested concept, ideologically, empirically and theoretically. This is particularly true for a language such as German, where the standardization of the spoken language was based on the written standard and was established with respect to a communicative situation, i.e. public speech on stage (Bühnenaussprache), which most speakers never come across. As a consequence, the norms of the oral standard exhibit many features which are infrequent in the everyday speech even of educated speakers. This paper discusses ways to arrive at a more realistic conception of (spoken) standard German, which will be termed "standard usage". It must be founded on empirical observations of speakers linguistic choices in everyday situations. Arguments in favor of a corpus-based notion of standard have to consider sociolinguistic, political, and didactic concerns. We report on the design of a large study of linguistic variation conducted at the Institute for the German Language (project "Variation in Spoken German", Variation des gesprochenen Deutsch) with the aim of arriving at a representative picture of "standard usage" in contemporary German. It systematically takes into account both diatopic variation covering the multi-national space in which German an official language, and diastratic variation in terms of varying degrees of formality. Results of the study of phonetic and morphosyntactic variation are discussed. At least for German, a corpus-based notion of "standard usage" inevitably includes some degree of pluralism concerning areal variation, and it needs to do justice to register-based variation as well.

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Author:Arnulf DeppermannORCiDGND, Stefan Kleiner, Ralf Knöbl
Parent Title (English):Language variation - European Perspectives IV ; selected papers from the Sixth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 6), Freiburg, June 2011
Place of publication:Amsterdam/Philadelphia
Editor:Göz Kaufmann, Javier Caro Reina, Peter Auer
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2013
Tag:Gebrauchsstandard; Variation; Variation des gesprochenen Deutsch
GND Keyword:Deutsch
Page Number:34
First Page:83
Last Page:116
The published article is under copyright of Benjamins. The publisher should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
BDSL-Classification:Sprache im 20. Jahrhundert. Gegenwartssprache
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Gesprächsforschung / Gesprochene Sprache
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt