Konjunktiv II-Variation im urbanen Sprachgebrauch in Österreich

  • Stefanie Edler
  • Georg Oberdorfer


The city as a social structure has a distinct relationship with its inhabitants. It creates a socio-pragmatic environment that produces communicative characteristics in the form of usage patterns that go hand in hand with conventionalised practices (cf. Gal 1987) and are dependent on everyday-life contextual aspects.

Accordingly, research of urban varieties is ideally based on language data that is as authentic as possible and includes socio-demographic and diatopic aspects. Following this idea, the study presented examines the subjunctive II in urban Austria by analysing free conversations in formal and informal contexts (interviews and conversations among friends), and correlating the results with spatial and social parameters. The data used was collected in Vienna and Graz, the two largest cities in Austria, as well as in their respective surrounding areas and was grouped by gender, age and place of residence.

The subjunctive II is realised in synthetic as well as periphrastic forms (cf. Merkle 1993: 69–73.; Donhauser 1992; Glauninger 2008). In rural Austria speakers use the entire range of variants (cf. Ziegler/Glantschnig 2013; Breuer/Wittibschlager 2020), while urban speakers exhibit a much narrower range, as we show in our analysis. Striking features in the use of variants can be seen above all in the form of contrasting modes of construction, i. e. synthetic vs. periphrastic realisation. The study reveals that there are hardly any differences between the two urban centres and only minor differences between a city and its surrounding area. However, the inclusion of social parameters provides a more differentiated picture: Here, higher relative frequencies of synthetic forms are found among male and older speakers compared to female and younger speakers. Thus, a preference for more conservative forms among the former contrasts with a preference for more modern (analytical) variants among the latter.

Edler, S., & Oberdorfer, G. (2022). Konjunktiv II-Variation im urbanen Sprachgebrauch in Österreich. Linguistik Online, 114(2), 67–98. https://doi.org/10.13092/lo.114.8371