New approaches to describing phonological change
In most of the German-speaking area the constellation of dialect and standard repertoires has changed from diglossic to diaglossic – a process that involves the disappearance of rural dialects and the transition towards the use of regional variants of the standard language. The description of dialect change on a larger quantitative and geographical scale has rarely been a subject of research in German dialectology. Our paper will introduce an innovative method of describing phonological change in the Alemannic dialects of Southwest Germany in which a twofold approach of real time analysis combined with apparent time analysis is the main characteristic. Our paper will present results for the phonological change of Middle High German <i>î</i>. We will argue that innovative dialect areas (intensive change) can be separated from conservative areas (relic areas) and that phonological dialect change in some areas is induced by contact with dialects rather than by regional standard language.