The Syntactic Atlas of Swiss German Dialects: empirical and methodological problems

Claudia Bucheli & Elvira Glaser (Universität Zürich)


In this paper, we will give a description of the aims, the methods and the material of the Syntactic Atlas of Swiss German dialects (Syntaktischer Atlas der Deutschen Schweiz, SADS). Dialectal syntactic structures are the subject of various disciplines: dialectology, theory of grammar and typology. Only some years ago the Swiss German Dialect Atlas (Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz (SDS)), which is considered a major work in German dialectology, was completed. Although the authors initially had the intention of including syntactic phenomena, the atlas only shows half a dozen maps demonstrating geographical syntactic variation. The reason why there are so few syntactic maps is not to be found in the research object itself, but in the specific difficulties of syntactic investigation in general. In this paper, we’ll deal with the different research methods of various syntactic phenomena we use in our research project. We’ll also give an overview of the investigated phenomena and we’ll show the first results of our investigation with written questionnaires.

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