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Project summary

Youth language(s) in Austria - On interaction of dialect and age-preferential language usage among young speakers in urban and rural areas

Describing German youth language is a very active research area in Germany and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, while the research on youth language is de facto non-existent in Austria. The investigation of age-related language variants concerning the interaction of different speech styles, varieties and (foreign) languages appears to be an urgent desideratum in Austria. Hence, the project deals with youth language(s) in Austria from a variation-linguistic and pragmatic perspective and delivers analyses of grammatical as well as prosodic phenomena in oral utterances of young Austrian people.

Youth communication is regarded as a part of regional and mother tongue language competence. Since there is a great influence of dialect competence on youth communication in Austria, the project incorporates a dialectological perspective and takes also into consideration phenomena concerning language contact associated with human migration - particularly emerging in urban areas characterized by higher population density and multiethnicity.

The project focuses on three central aims: In the first place, private conversations between young people on the one hand and - for contrastive analyses - conversations between adults on the other hand will be documented in Austria. Those recordings will be the components of a corpus of spoken German language, which will be balanced against diatopic varieties and will be made accessible to the scientific community after having finished the project.

Secondly, as a sociolinguistic aim, the survey and description of age-related language variants is pursued with special focus on the interaction of youth speech styles and dialectal language use.

Thirdly, the project will serve a didactic aim: Its results will be reanalysed with regard to teaching methods and its outcome will have further application to teaching German to native speakers as well as to non-native speakers (teaching German as second/as a foreign language).

Generally, the project is divided into two phases, in which corpus 1 including the conversations from urban areas as well as corpus 2 including conversations from rural areas will be collected and analysed within the period of three years. The publication on urban areas will be set up at the end of the first three project years. It will be completed by a contrastive publication concerning the rural areas that will be produced after finishing the second phase.

Schedule of the project part I: August 2013-July 2016 (supported by FWF)

Schedule of the project part II: August 2016-July 2019


Project office
Heinrichstrasse 26/6, doors 44/48 8010 Graz
Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 2632
Mobile:+43 (0)316 380 - 2639


Project leader
Mozartgasse 8/II 8010 Graz
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Arne Ziegler Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 8165

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