15 Perceived dialectal features in the multilingual Grisons

Adam-Graf Noemi

  1. Institut für Kulturforschung Graubünden, Chur, Switzerland  

The spatial binding of language as well as the areal distribution of dialectal features is taken for granted by both linguistic laypersons and experts. Methods of perceptual dialectology can be used to prove which features of one's own and other existing dialectal varieties are salient, i.e. conspicuous for linguistic laypersons (Auer 2014, Lenz 2010). Consciously perceived linguistic features can be assigned by speakers to dialects or dialect concepts and are important in that they trigger evaluations and attitudes towards dialects and their speakers (Hundt, Anders, Lasch 2010).

The current research project (see Adam-Graf in preparation) also collects salient dialectal features and investigates how the Grisons' linguistic landscape can be characterised from the perspective of lay people living in the canton. Can the informants name linguistic features that they associate with the German, Romanic and Italian dialects? Which characteristics are mentioned particularly frequently? Are there linguistic features which are not only classified as 'conspicuous' ('salient') but also as 'relevant' ('pertinent', see Purschke 2014) for the evaluation of the dialect?

Within the framework of the mentioned perceptual-linguistic study, 88 informants from eleven places spread over the entire canton of Grisons were asked how they linguistically perceive their own variety and geographically more distant varieties. The lecture will present how the salient characteristics were collected and discuss the research results in a broader context in relation to already existing studies on the concept of salience and pertinence: what influence does the regional origin of the informants have on the perception of Romanic, Italian and German dialects? Do regional linguistic features play a significant role in identifying the origin of speakers? And are the salient features also evaluated socially (for example, positively or negatively) or affectively within the framework of a linguistic ideological background (Auer 2014)?


Adam-Graf, Noemi (i. Vorb.): Wahrgenommene und gelebte Sprachen- und Dialektvielfalt. Der bündnerische Sprachraum aus wahrnehmungsdialektologischer Sicht (Arbeitstitel). Ein Forschungsprojekt des Instituts für Kulturforschung Graubünden.

Auer, Peter (2014): Anmerkungen zum Salienzbegriff in der Soziolinguistik. In: Linguistik Online 4/14, S. 7-20.

Hundt, Markus / Anders, Christina A / Lasch, Alexander (2010): Gegenstand und Ergebnisse der Wahrnehmungsdialektologie (Perceptual Dialectology). In: Christina A. Anders, Markus Hundt, Alexander Lasch (Hgg.): Perceptual Dialectology. Neue Wege der Dialektologie. Berlin: de Gruyter, S. XI-XXI.

Lenz, Alexandra N. (2010): Zum Salienzbegriff und zum Nachweis salienter Merkmale. In: Christina A. Anders, Markus Hundt, Alexander Lasch (Hgg.): Perceptual Dialectology. Neue Wege der Dialektologie. Berlin: de Gruyter, S. 89-110.

Purschke, Christoph (2014): «I remember it like it was interesting.» Zur Theorie von Salienz und Pertinenz, in: Linguistik Online 4/14, S. 31-50.