Researching the intelligibility of a (German) dialect

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The presence of the commonly used German dialects in South Tyrol (Italy), in addition to the presence of three languages (Italian, standard German and Ladin), creates uneasy ground for someone not familiar with the dialects. This is especially true in the public workplace, where one would expect the use of standard language to be the norm. The presence of the dialect in such situations sometimes results in communication hurdles, for example, in the communication settings of health care institutions. Thus, the purpose of the project “SdaF” (Südtiroler Deutsch als Fremdsprache) was to study the intelligibility of the German dialect spoken in the region of South Tyrol. For this purpose, a corpus of medical interactions was compiled, annotated and analysed, in order to understand whether and how it is possible to identify those dialect passages used by the patients that render understanding in conversation difficult for non-dialect speaking physicians. This paper will present the annotation system elaborated for this project and discuss examples of the corpus.


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