German-speaking Switzerland is known for its unique dialect diversity, which is reflected in the monumental Sprachatlas der Deutschen Schweiz (SDS) – covering 573 localities in 1500 dialect maps – and its accompanying audio recordings. This material documents the linguistic situation in German-speaking Switzerland around 1950. We expect Swiss German dialects to have changed considerably since then, but evidence for the geographical and social dimensions of such changes is thin and typically based on small numbers of speakers from a few locations.


As of today, we do not know the degree to which Swiss German dialects have changed on a larger scale. In our project, we propose to research just how the linguistic situation in German-speaking Switzerland has changed in the past 70 years. In a large-scale, multilocality study, in which traditional linguistic fieldwork meets 21st century technology, we will analyse this change by replicating a subset of the SDS variables and audio recordings. The findings will bear on wide-reaching, long-debated questions in research on language variation and change and will result in open access repositories as a service to the public and future research.


  • Lifecycle: September 2019 – August 2024

  • Budget: 1,622,489 CHF

  • Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (Eccellenza)
    (+ University of Bern Forschungsstiftung 9,500 CHF)

Virtual Data Collection

©2020 www.sdats.ch