Obersaxen – A Highest-Alemannic Sprachinsel. Linguistic change as a consequence of dialect contact

Büchler, Andrin (26 June 2019). Obersaxen – A Highest-Alemannic Sprachinsel. Linguistic change as a consequence of dialect contact (Unpublished). In: International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10). Leeuwarden. 26.–28.06.2019.

The present paper deals with the effects of contemporary globalisation and mobility on the variety spoken in a previously isolated and peripheral Sprachinsel. I will show that in the case of Obersaxen, a Highest-Alemannic Sprachinsel in the midst of a Romansh-speaking area, situated in the most western part of Grisons, Switzerland, linguistic changes on the structural level are to be attributed more to the influence of other Swiss German dialects than to contact with the surrounding language, as common in most Sprachinseln. Furthermore, I will also bring evidence suggesting that certain specific aspects of Highest-Alemannic phonology, already present when people left the canton of Valais and migrated to Grisons in the 12th–13th century, have been preserved, thereby demonstrating, unusually, that the phonological is more stable than the morphological and (morpho-)syntactic levels. For this reason, the study will take a sociolinguistic-variationist viewpoint focusing on how increased tourism in the past decades as well as rapidly emerging bilingualism among Romansh-speakers have fostered structural changes as a result of enhanced dialect contact, while interestingly only having had a limited influence at the phonological level.
Based on a corpus comprising speech-data collected in non-structured sociolinguistic interviews from 24 subjects equally distributed among three age groups, five linguistic variables (two phonological and three [morpho-]syntactic) have been analysed quantitatively in a combined real- and apparent-time approach. As a result of the analysis of this dataset, it is possible to describe changes that have taken place since the first half of the 20th century
(cf. Brun 1918; Hotzenköcherle 1962–2003), as well as to make inferences about present-day linguistic developments in the community.

References

Brun, L. (1918) Die Mundart von Obersaxen im Kanton Graubünden: Lautlehre und Flexion. Frauenfeld: Huber. (= Beiträge zur schweizerdeutschen Grammatik 11).
Hotzenköcherle, R. (ed.) (1962–2003) Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz (SDS). Bd. 1–9. Bern/Basel: Francke.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Germanic Languages
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Germanic Languages > Sociolinguistics

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Büchler, Andrin

Subjects:

400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 430 German & related languages

Language:

English

Submitter:

Andrin Büchler

Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2021 16:10

Last Modified:

08 Jun 2021 16:10

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/152181

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