Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - German in Multilingual Contexts

The Kiezdeutsch Corpus. Analyses at the Periphery

Project B6 within the Special Research Area 632 "Information Structure" of Potsdam University and Humboldt University Berlin.

The project builds on the results of B6 “Grammatical Reduction and Information-Structural Preferences in a Contact Variety of German: Kiezdeutsch”, concentrating on corpus research. In the first funding period of B6, we developed a corpus of Kiezdeutsch, a multiethnolect spoken in urban Germany, which contains naturally occurring speech based on self-recordings of adolescents, available as audio files with transcriptions in EXMARaLDA. In addition to adolescents from a multiethnic area, Berlin-Kreuzberg (main corpus, approx. 228,000 tokens), we also included adolescents from a largely monoethnic area with comparable socio-economic indicators, namely Berlin-Hellersdorf (supplementary corpus, approx. 105,000 tokens). This provides a basis to identify phenomena that are specific to Kiezdeutsch, that is, for a multiethnic, in contrast to a more monoethnic, population. The corpus is introduced as the “Kiezdeutsch-Korpus” into sociolinguistic and language-variation research contexts.

In the current project phase, the corpus is being further developed in a way to support automatic searches and more comprehensive quantitative analyses that can also address syntactically complex constructions. A major focus is on the left sentence periphery in Kiezdeutsch; this is complemented by analyses of the right periphery. Further preparation of the corpus will provide a basis for the identification and the fine-grained syntactic and information-structural categorisation of distinct patterns in Kiezdeutsch, providing new insights into the role of information structure in syntactic variation and the emergence of non-standard varieties. The second central goal of the project is to legally open the corpus compliant with such issues as data privacy, which will make it accessible for other research groups and thus will provide a new ressource for investigations into language contact, language variation, language use, and language structure, which to our knowledge is unique in the German-speaking area.

Principal Investigator: Heike Wiese
Postdoctoral Researcher: Ines Rehbein
Student RAs: Emiel Visser, Nadja Reinhold

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