New methods used in a traditional field. Also in Lithuanian dialectology?

Schneider, Christa (22 September 2016). New methods used in a traditional field. Also in Lithuanian dialectology? (Unpublished). In: 23rd International Scientific Conference of Jonas Jablonskis: Meaning in Language and Culture. Vilnius.

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Quo vadis, lithuanian dialectology?
New methods used in a traditional research field.

In my talk I will focus on the 2013 study about dialect prestige in Lithuania. In addition, it is also my goal to present a dialect app and point to its' research potential.
A 2013 pilot study in perceptual dialectology focused on dialect use and dialect prestige among students at the University of Vilnius (cf. Schneider 2013). The study asked three different questions:
1. Are Lithuanian dialects regarded as low prestige variants?
2. Despite of a possibly low prestige, do Lithuanian dialects nevertheless serve as identity markers?
3. Are Lithuanian dialects rather preserved as cultural heritage than used as daily languages?
More than 90% of the 285 questioned students declared Lithuanian as their mother tongue but only around 50% of the informants indicated to speak a dialect. Asked about their impression of the dialect's prestige, almost 70% answered that, in their opinion, the traditional Lithuanian dialects are low prestige variants. Nevertheless, more than 90% of the questioned dialect speakers regard dialect as a part of their identity. In addition, the study showed that Lithuanian culture is strongly connected with dialects (e.g. songs, poems, customs) and it is easy to understand why dialects are understood as a part of this culture and therefore protected as cultural heritage. The evaluation of the 2013 study also illustrates, together with other studies (cf. Mikulėnienė et al. 2015), the research potential that still lies in the field of the traditional Lithuanian dialectology.
The recent development of crowd sourcing methods via cell phone applications, which are used in variationists' projects, for instance in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA (cf. Leemann and Britain forthcoming), has created a new way to collect data corpora in a short time. Such methods are also highly applicable for Lithuania due to the dialect situation and the existence of a historical dialect atlas (cf. Lietuvių kalbos atlasas 1977-1991). The app would help to illustrate how widely dialects are effectively used and where the most dialectal areas have to be situated. Therefore, a short set of questions has to be answered by the users. The questions are chosen on the basis of the most salient variables found in the Lietuvių kalbos atlasas. Based on the answers the users will then be located in a certain part of Lithuania. But due to migration and mobility, which has highly influenced language in the past 30 years, the users will possibly be located at incorrect places. They then have the opportunity to specify their location and, furthermore, they have the possibility to record themselves. The self-location of the users' speeches and the recorded data provide highly valuable insights into the socio-dialectal situation in Lithuania.

Mikulėnienė, Danguolė; Meiliūnaitė, Violeta; Aliūkaitė Daiva (2014): XXI a. pradžios lietuvių tarmės: geolingvistinis ir sociolingvistinis tyrimas : žemėlapiai ir jų komentarai. Vilnius: Briedis

Morkūnas, Kasys (ed.) (1977). LKA I – Lietuvių kalbos atlasas 1: Leksika. Vilnius: Mokslas

Morkūnas, Kasys (ed.) (1982). LKA II – Lietuvių kalbos atlasas 2: Fonetika. Vilnius: Mokslas

Morkūnas, Kasys (ed.) (1982). LKA III – Lietuvių kalbos atlasas 3: Morfologija. Vilnius: Mokslas

Schneider, Christa (2013). Die litauischen Dialekte: Dialect Death durch Low Prestige, Identitätsmerkmal der Litauer oder nur noch Kulturgut? Master's thesis. Bern: s.n.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Digital Humanities
06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, Christa


400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages




Christa Schneider

Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2021 12:02

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 12:02




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