Zur Stabilität dialektaler Formen.
Eine real- und apparent-time-Analyse remanenter Merkmale in den ruralen Basisdialekten Österreichs
Stability is an essential but frequently underrepresented fact in the study of language variation and change. Although in dialectology the distinction between “primary” and “secondary” dialect features initially led to a certain consideration of stable features as opposed to more dynamic ones, more recent empirical studies have not taken any notice of the former. The question of stability is nevertheless crucial for dialectology. For example, the extent of dialect loss cannot be assessed without establishing which forms are stable. The aim of this study is therefore to address this desideratum by investigating ten dialectal features in Austria’s rural dialects. All ten examples concern variables of the vowel system which show large phonetic differences between dialect and standard variants. On the basis of a comprehensive dialect survey, both a real- and an apparent-time study is conducted to examine the extent and the factors of dialectal stability and change. The study provides evidence for a surprisingly high degree of stability and continuity in Austria’s rural dialects. Changes are not only restricted to a few variables, but also limited (a) to a lexical factor – only a small group of lexemes is not completely stable –, and (b) to a regional factor – only some eastern parts of Austria show a higher degree of change. Other factors, such as the extent of the spatial distribution of a form or the phonetic distance to the standard, do not prove to be relevant for stability and change of the variables.