Dissertation: Oachkatzlschwoaf: A Study of Language Choice in Ried im Innkreis, Austria

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 01:17:10 UTC 2007

Oachkatzlschwoaf: A Study of Language Choice in Ried im Innkreis, Austria

Dissertation URL:

Dissertation Director:
Paul T. Roberge

Dissertation Abstract:

A statistical analysis of data collected via self-reporting questionnaires
and participant observation in Ried im Innkreis, Austria, shows that the
speakers in this community typically prefer to speak their local dialect
rather than Standard German or colloquial varieties, at a significantly
higher frequency in more domains than speakers in other communities of
similar size in Austria. Data from Ried im Innkreis are compared with
results from Steinegger (1998) and Wiesinger (1989b), in which similar
surveys were distributed throughout Austria. Factors that typically
correlate with the choice of dialect over colloquial or standard varieties
of German in large cities in Austria, such as socioeconomic class, do not
play a significant role in Ried im Innkreis due to the small size of the
community. The same trends apparent in the rest of the Austria with regard
to gender are apparent in Ried. Males report that they speak dialect
slightly more often than females, and a decrease in dialect use by females
is indicated which corresponds to typical child-raising years
and retirement. The trends for age and dialect frequency are generally
consistent with previous findings for Austria. School-aged speakers report
that they use dialect more often than adults. Adult commuters speak dialect
more often than non-commuters in intimate situations with family and
friends. School-aged commuters report that they speak less dialect than
non-commuters in school and when speaking with strangers. Social network
strength is a significant factor, and correlates positively with frequency
of dialect use, but only in situations where speaker is in their own social
network. Speakers' attitudes regarding dialect and Standard German, speakers
of dialect, and their own choice of speech variety can provide psychological
explanations for their choice of variety in a given domain. Positive
attitudes regarding the dialect itself, speakers of the local dialect and
local loyalty are positively correlated with frequency of dialect use.
Predictions for the future vitality of the local dialect are also made,
based on current and historical demographic trends and the respondents'
attitudes regarding dialect and standard varieties of German.



Harold F. Schiffman

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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