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German Dialects in Real-Time Change

  • Traditionally, research on language change has been a post-mortem activity, focused on isolated changes that are complete and often only documented in written texts. In the 1960s the field was advanced considerably by Labovian sociolinguistics and the investigation of “change in progress” adduced through patterns of community-internal linguistic variation correlated with external facts about speakers such as age and class (see Labov 1994 for an overview). However, despite the many benefits of such work on “dynamic synchrony,” we still know relatively little about how language change unfolds over the lifetimes of individual speakers, that is, in real time (cf. Bailey et al. 1991). The logistical challenges of such research are, of course, considerable. Whereas it is straightforward for psycholinguists to observe language development in children over the course of a few years, documenting changes in the verbal behavior of individuals over several decades is by contrast much less feasible. Nevertheless, present theoretical models of language change could be considerably improved by the results of real-time studies.

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Author:Peter Wagener
Parent Title (English):Journal of German Linguistics
Publisher:Cambridge Univ. Press
Place of publication:Cambridge
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2002
Date of Publication (online):2019/02/12
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Feldforschung; Mundart; Sprachkontakt; Sprachwandel; Synchronizität
First Page:271
Last Page:285
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.

This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
BDSL-Classification:Deutsche Mundarten
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Dialektologie / Sprachgeografie
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt