The diffusion of /l/ -vocalization in Swiss German

Leemann, Adrian; Kolly, Marie-Jose; Werlen, Iwar; Britain, David; Studer-Joho, Dieter (2014). The diffusion of /l/ -vocalization in Swiss German. Language Variation and Change, 26(02), pp. 191-218. Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S0954394514000076

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Several western Swiss German dialects roughly grouped around the nation's capital Bern show /l/ > [u] vocalization in various contexts. The spatial boundaries of /l/-vocalization in Swiss German are suspected to have been expanding since being described in the Linguistic Atlas of German-Speaking Switzerland in the middle of the 20th century. The present study assesses the overall expansion of /l/-vocalization by means of a rapid anonymous survey in 20 urban regional centers situated just beyond the traditional boundaries of /l/-vocalization highlighted by the Atlas. Results show that the expansion of /l/-vocalization mainly progresses in southeasterly, southerly, and westerly directions, but with much less success to the north and northwest, where the equally influential dialectal areas of Basel and Zürich seem to exert opposing influences. Further analysis of the data indicates that somewhat differing constraint hierarchies are at work in the different places to which vocalization has diffused.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences (IASH) [discontinued]
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures

UniBE Contributor:

Leemann, Adrian; Werlen, Iwar and Britain, David


000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages




Cambridge University Press




Marion Irena Troxler

Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2015 12:21

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2021 14:27

Publisher DOI:





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