Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages

First Advisor

Christopher Sapp

Second Advisor

Donald Dyer

Third Advisor

Corina Petrescu

Abstract

Dialects throughout the Federal Republic of Germany not only vary greatly among themselves, but also tend to show internal variations with regard to dialect speaker groups, due to the influence of Standard German along with other regional factors. Medium-sized towns seem to be at the center of this dialect-standard continuum, as speakers from both rural and more urban areas come together in these towns. This study sought to investigate the state of the Middle Swabian dialect as spoken in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a medium-sized town in Southwestern Germany. Previous studies of this dialect have focused on rural areas and found only minor variation with regard to the age variable. Studies with a focus on a more urbanized area do not exist for this particular region. A group of 27 individuals currently living in and around this town volunteered to participate in this research. Each individual was asked to fill out a questionnaire and to partake in a 10 to 15 minute recorded interview. The data then underwent initial analyses for lexical, phonological and grammatical variations. The five variables that were thus found to be statistically significant, among them age and educational background, were chosen for further analyses. The results showed that the dialect is indeed changing and that several factors seem to be carriers of this change.

Concentration/Emphasis

Linguistics

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