1st Edition

Expanding Variationist Sociolinguistic Research in Varieties of German

Edited By James M. Stratton, Karen V. Beaman Copyright 2025
    312 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection provides a broad account of variationist sociolinguistic research on varieties of German, with the goals to encourage greater geolinguistic diversity in the field and to expand our understanding of language variation and change.

    The book illustrates that incorporating a wider variety of language data in sociolinguistic studies provides a broader, more holistic picture of variation and change. On the one hand, the book examines how variationist methods can contribute to the study of varieties of German, with each chapter following the principles of variationist sociolinguistics. On the other hand, the chapters examine how both intra- and extra-linguistic factors can influence variation and change. The volume also seeks to provide a broader understanding of German variation and change across time and space. The book highlights how the study of varieties of German through a variationist lens can offer new insights into language change more broadly, with applications for further research to other languages. 

    This volume will be of most interest to scholars in language change, sociolinguistics, dialectology, and historical linguistics.



    List of Contributors



    Sali A. Tagliamonte




    Chapter 1

    Variationist sociolinguistics: Theoretical and methodological foundations

    James M. Stratton and Karen V. Beaman


    SECTION 1: Bridging German dialectology and German variationist sociolinguistics

    Chapter 2

    The social versus the regional: A multivariate analysis of (morpho-)syntactic variation in Austria’s rural dialects

    Philip C. Vergeiner, Lars Bülow, and Stephan Elspaß


    Chapter 3

    Dialect maintenance in German Alemannic and the role of pro-Alsatian attitudes and orientations

    Peter Auer, Martin Pfeiffer, Göz Kaufmann, and Julia Breuninger


    Chapter 4

    Sociolinguistic variation in a non-native variety of Swiss German: Romansh migrants in the city of Berne

    Andrin Büchler



    SECTION 2: Diving into social-discursive functions

    Chapter 5

    Fei schee: The social meaning of intensifier use in Swabian

    James M. Stratton and Karen V. Beaman


    Chapter 6

    Subjunctive and diminutive use as politeness strategies in German in Austria: Comparative evidence from sociolinguistic interviews and conversations among friends

    Katharina Korecky-Kröll and Anja Wittibschlager

    Chapter 7

    A socio-stylistic analysis of variation in support verb constructions in a corpus of spoken German

    John D. Sundquist and Colleen Neary-Sundquist


    Chapter 8

    Sociolinguistic variation in German: The case of the modal particles halt and eben

    Oliver Bunk, Antje Sauermann, and Fynn Raphael Dobler




    SECTION 3: Merging historical and sociolinguistic perspectives

    Chapter 9

    Variation in an Austrian winegrower’s nineteenth-century chronicle

    Anna D. Havinga and Simon Pickl


    Chapter 10

    Socio-historical data and the need for representative historical corpora                                  

    Katrin Fuchs




    Chapter 11

    Looking forward: German-centered variationist sociolinguistics in the 21st century

    Barbara Soukup







    James M. Stratton is an Assistant Professor of German and Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in language variation and change in Germanic languages, both past and present, with a particular emphasis on lexis and discourse-pragmatics.


    Karen V. Beaman is a lecturer and post-doctoral fellow and lecturer in sociolinguistics at the University of Tübingen, Germany. Her research interests concern language variation, coherence, and change, with particular focus on how factors of identity, mobility and social networks affect change.