Language variation and change in Bernese Swiss German

Christa Schneider
Language Variation in Bernese Swiss German In the atlas of German-speaking Switzerland (SDS) (cf. Hotzenköcherle et al. 1962-2003) we find data on the greater area of Bern (Berner Mittelland), collected around 1944. Since then, only very specific factors of this particular linguistic variety have been examined, e.g. Hodler 1969 on Bernese German syntax, Marti 1976 on Bernese German grammar more generally or Siebenhaar 2000 on social varieties in the city of Bern, but the dialect has not been
more » ... ect has not been examined in its entirety. Therefore, developments which origin in language contact or speaker mobility and have effectively influenced the dialects of this region, have not been documented to the present day. In my project the focus is on language change in the research area and on reasons for the present changes. Currently I collect new data for Bern and its greater area according to selected variables already surveyed in the SDS, and I then compare the new data to the original data. In addition to the variables originating in the SDS, also some new variables are taken into account. Of special interest are borrowings from foreign languages, e.g. the realization of engl. steak (stɛɪk vs. ʃtɛik(x) vs. ʃti:kx) or recent lexical changes as from Swiss German Nidle (ni:dlə) [cream] to Rahm (rɑ:m), a variant which is mainly used in southern Germany and Austria. My survey includes 20 places in the greater area of Bern where I record 4 speakers per place. The speakers are classified in three age groups (18-35, 35-65, 65+) and I also take an agriculturalist into account. This occupational group is meant to be more traditional in respect of language, as the language atlas of Middle Franconia (cf. Mang 2004) shows repeatedly. In this respect, my project differs clearly from the SDS, where mainly NORMs have been taken into account (one or two per place). I suggest the main reasons for language change in my research area in speaker mobility and migration movement. Already the present, relatively small set of data shows tendencies, w [...]
doi:10.48350/155822 fatcat:vkbf65mufnbixk7xwnj4iy625e