Foreign Influences in Bernese Swiss German

Schneider, Christa (23 June 2018). Foreign Influences in Bernese Swiss German (Unpublished). In: 23. SIDG Conference. Vilnius. 23.-27.06.2018.

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Foreign influences in Bernese Swiss German

The atlas of German-speaking Switzerland (SDS) consists of 1500 dialect maps which were published between 1962 and 1997 in 8 volumes. To describe the dialects of the greater area of Bern (Berner Mittelland) Hotzenköcherle et al. collected data in 20 different locations.
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 examined in its entirety. Also research, which examines the acceptance and embedment of loanwords, is missing until the present day.
The present project answers the question how and why the Bernese Swiss German dialects have changed since the data collection of the SDS. In three-part interviews (word list, translation, spontaneous speech) new data for the mentioned research area is collected at the moment. 4 speakers are recorded per location; the speakers are classified in three age groups (18-35, 35-65, 65+). Also an agriculturalist is taken into account, as they are believed to be the most conservative dialect speakers. Mainly variables originating in the SDS are observed, but also some new variables are included, which examine for example how Bernese Swiss German deals with influences from foreign languages (in this talk: Anglicisms).
Anglicisms are elements originating in the English language, which are embedded in another language. They are also to be found in Bernese Swiss German, as the word steak (stɛɪk vs. ʃtɛik(x) vs. ʃti:kx) demonstrates. The trichotomy in the realisation of this variable could be explained as follows:
1. Phonological assimilation of the Anglicism to Bernese Swiss German --> ʃti:kx like ʃti:f (stiff)
2. Command of English of the speaker has an influence. Due to educational reasons, younger speakers use the standard English form more often than older speakers --> stɛɪk (steak)
3. Mix between the two reasons above --> ʃtɛik(x)
If these three reasons really explain the present trichotomy and if other Anglicisms in Bernese Swiss German behave in the same way will be presented in this talk.

Baumgartner Heinrich, Hotzenköcherle Rudolf (1962-1007). Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz. Bern, Basel: Francke Verlag

Hodler, Werner (1969). Berndeutsche Syntax. Bern: Francke Verlag

Marti, Werner (1985). Berndeutsch-Grammatik für die heutige Mundart zwischen Thun und Jura. Bern: A. Francke

Siebenhaar Beat, Stäheli Fredy, Ris Roland (2000). Stadtberndeutsch : Sprachporträts aus der Stadt Bern. Murten: Licorne-Verlag

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 > 430 German & related languages




Christa Schneider

Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2021 11:21

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 11:21




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