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Exploring global and local patterns in the correlation of geographic distances and morphosyntactic variation in Swiss German


Jeszenszky, Péter; Stoeckle, Philipp; Glaser, Elvira; Weibel, Robert (2017). Exploring global and local patterns in the correlation of geographic distances and morphosyntactic variation in Swiss German. Journal of Linguistic Geography, 5(02):86-108.

Abstract

Using data from a Swiss German dialect syntax survey, this study aims to explore, in a spatially differentiated manner, the correlation between dialectal variation and geographic distances. A linguistic distance was expressed by a measure aggregated from 60 survey questions. To operationalize the possibility of language contact, Euclidean distance, as well as travel times in 2000, 1950 and 1850 between survey sites were used. Going beyond previous work by others, we also explore the covariation of geographic and linguistic distances at the local level, focusing on spatial subsets and individual survey sites, thus being able to paint a more differentiated picture. With the diverse physical landscape of Switzerland making an impact on potential language contact, we find that travel times are a better predictor than Euclidean distance for the syntactic variation in Swiss German dialects. However, on the local scale the difference is not always significant, depending on prevalent topography.

Abstract

Using data from a Swiss German dialect syntax survey, this study aims to explore, in a spatially differentiated manner, the correlation between dialectal variation and geographic distances. A linguistic distance was expressed by a measure aggregated from 60 survey questions. To operationalize the possibility of language contact, Euclidean distance, as well as travel times in 2000, 1950 and 1850 between survey sites were used. Going beyond previous work by others, we also explore the covariation of geographic and linguistic distances at the local level, focusing on spatial subsets and individual survey sites, thus being able to paint a more differentiated picture. With the diverse physical landscape of Switzerland making an impact on potential language contact, we find that travel times are a better predictor than Euclidean distance for the syntactic variation in Swiss German dialects. However, on the local scale the difference is not always significant, depending on prevalent topography.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of German Studies
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 University Research Priority Programs > Language and Space
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:12 Jan 2018 12:58
Last Modified:28 Aug 2018 09:01
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:2049-7547
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/jlg.2017.5

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