Der Konjunktiv II in den ruralen Basisdialekten Österreichs.

Quantitative und qualitative Befunde

  • Philip C. Vergeiner
  • Lars Bülow


Until today, variation and change in the use of subjunctive II variants in the dialects of Austria have been poorly studied. Largely neglected by traditional dialectology, even more recent studies neither consider all dialect regions of Austria, nor do they go into detail about intra-linguistic factors. Furthermore, an integration into morpho-syntactic theories of language change is missing.

This paper addresses the above-mentioned desiderata. Using an apparent-time design, it intends to uncover linguistic, geographical, and sociolinguistic factors of variation and change in the use of subjunctive II variants in Austria’s dialects. In order to achieve these goals, a comprehensive corpus of direct dialect recordings is analysed by means of various quantitative methods (cluster analyses, factor analyses, mixed variance analyses). Data are based on the dialect translations of 21 verb forms by 163 speakers from 40 locations (3,430 tokens).

Overall, results show that periphrastic variants spread in the Austrian dialects, in particular periphrastic forms with the täte-auxiliary. Meanwhile, synthetic forms lose importance (both strong and weak synthetic forms). Moreover, results reveal significant verb-related differences which cannot be explained by their belonging to inflectional classes, as previous studies suggested. Instead, the 21 verbs studied can be divided into six clusters reflecting different stages in the spread of periphrastic forms. In terms of linguistic geography, Austria is divided into three parts with regard to subjunctive II variation: an Alemannic region in the west, a north-western Bavarian area, and a south-eastern Bavarian area. With respect to sociolinguistic factors, gender is hardly a relevant factor, whereas age turns out to be decisive. Younger speakers use periphrastic forms more often and synthetic variants less often. Finally, these empirical findings will be discussed against the background of the theory of Natural Morphology.

Vergeiner, P. C., & Bülow, L. (2022). Der Konjunktiv II in den ruralen Basisdialekten Österreichs.: Quantitative und qualitative Befunde. Linguistik Online, 114(2), 3–42.