Enregisterment eines /r/-Allophons?

Oder: „Neues vom Spocht“

  • Roland Kehrein


In the study presented in this paper the use of a specific linguistic non-standard feature of German by 100 speakers representing three generations was analysed. The speakers originate from 25 different locations within the Middle Franconian dialect formation covering the middle-western parts of Germany. The feature analysed is the realisation of the Standard German phoneme /r/ as a voiceless velar or uvular fricative [x, χ] when following a short vowel and preceding a coronal obstruent. The comparison of how frequently the speakers use [χ] in different communicative contexts results in the observation of three types of speakers (i. e., [χ] users): The first type are dialect speakers mostly of the older generation (60 years and above) who use the variant in a traditional manner, namely when aiming at producing their best way to pronounce Standard German. According to these speakers [χ] forms part of the Standard German pronunciation norm. The second type is mainly represented by middle aged speakers (45–55 years) who use the feature in nearly all communicative contexts except when they have a dialect competency and are asked to produce their “strongest dialect”. Finally, the third type of speakers are mainly young people (17–23 years) who do not have any dialect competence. These speakers only use [χ] when they are asked to produce their “strongest dialect” and/or when they are talking to friends. On the basis of these results it is argued that, between these types of speakers and the generations they represent, a re-evaluation of the feature has taken place that may be classified as enregisterment, because speakers of the third type seem to use [χ] indexically in order to signal familiarity with their interlocutors on a interpersonal-social level.

Kehrein, R. (2021). Enregisterment eines /r/-Allophons? Oder: „Neues vom Spocht“. Linguistik Online, 110(5), 123–156. https://doi.org/10.13092/lo.110.8142