Swiss German Dialects Across Time and Space (SDATS)

Languages and dialects change. You often hear that people don't speak today the way they did 50 years ago. Is this really the case? The SDATS project investigates this very question: in the most extensive dialect survey since the middle of the 20th century, we collect language data from more than 1000 people throughout German-speaking Switzerland and combine traditional dialectological field research with innovative technological methods.

The following questions are at the heart of the project:

  • How have Swiss German dialects changed over the last 70 years?

  • Which linguistic levels have changed the most? The use of words, the grammar or, for example, dialectal pronunciations?

The results will show how our dialect diversity has developed and whether, for example, trends towards a flattening of regional differences can be identified. In addition, the reasons for changes will also be traced, i.e., to what extent, for example, standard German has an influence or whether it is rather men or women who drive language change.

Our findings can thus contribute to clarifying central questions around language change and variation and provide a basis for further research. However, because dialects and linguistic variation have always fascinated the general population, the results of the SDATS project will also be made publicly accessible in the form of interactive maps.

Project management