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I am professor of Germanic Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. My research concentrates on the sociolinguistics of language variation and change in German, language ideologies and linguistic discrimination in the German-speaking world, sociolinguistic typology as well as language contact and multilingualism with a special focus on pidgin and creole languages. Since 2015, I have been working on the documentation of Unserdeutsch, a German-based creole in PNG.
In our paper, we discuss the results of a questionnaire survey on the use of regional dialects in 173 kindergartens in Bavaria-Swabia. The data relate to the dialect use of 5 341 children, assessed by 380 of their kindergarten teachers. After some methodological reflexions, we present and interpret the results of the survey. The results are correla...
„Unserdeutsch”, a creole spoken in a former German South Pacific colony, and what is now Papua New Guinea, is being extensively documented and studied by linguists for the first time. There is no time to lose, because after a chequered history the world's only German‐based creole – long ignored – is facing extinction.
Unserdeutsch, also known as Rabaul Creole German, is the only known German-lexifier creole. This critically endangered language has its origins in an orphanage in German New Guinea for mixed-race children, where Standard German was taught by mission personnel. Unserdeutsch was creolised in one generation, and became the in-group language of a small...
„Unserdeutsch“ – das Kreoldeutsch aus den ehemaligen Südseekolonien und dem heutigen Papua-Neuguinea wird erstmals sprachwissenschaftlich dokumentiert und erforscht. Die Zeit drängt, denn die weltweit einzige und lange nicht beachtete deutschbasierte Kreolsprache steht nach einer wechselvollen Geschichte vor dem Aussterben.
The article focuses on the hypothesis that the structural complexity of languages is variable and historically changeable. By means of a quantitative statistical analysis of naturalistic corpus data, the question is raised as to what role language contact and adult second language acquisition play in the simplification and complexification of langu...
For centuries, the German language has occupied a significant place on Hungary’s linguistic map. It has been present as a mother tongue and minority language in the wake of the migration processes that have taken place since the Middle Ages, while as a foreign language it has played and continues to play a role as a result of Hungary’s close ties w...
As a result of German-Hungarian societal bilingualism German family names had been present in multilingual 19th century Hungary for centuries. Magyarizations of family names in the second half of the 19th century mostly affected the German and Yiddish speech communities bearing German family names. This paper explores the causes and characteristics...
Linguistic nationalism was a decisive linguistic ideology all through the nineteenth century. Consequently, by its very nature, it determined thinking about language throughout the entire period, and thus, linguistic behavior, as well. Based on metalinguistic data, this paper attempts to reconstruct the form of existence of this linguistic ideology...
Rabaul Creole German (Unserdeutsch) is the only German-based creole language we know of. It had its beginnings in the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea among children at the Vunapope Mission in what is now East New Britain Province shortly before and after World War I. Nowadays, only a few elderly speakers living in Papua New Guinea and the eastern states of Australia are still proficient in Unserdeutsch. The project aims at documenting Unserdeutsch as thoroughly as possible, reconstructing and presenting the development and history of the language as accurately as possible, and systematically describing the structure of the language.