Variety (linguistics)

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In linguistics, a variety or linguistic variety is a certain expression of a single language that supplements, extends or modifies this single language, but cannot exist independently of it. However , one speaks of variety only if the linguistic forms of an examined group clearly show linguistic similarities. Branches of linguistics dealing with the investigation of varieties, the Varieties , the sociolinguistics and dialectology , also related to language change processes, the historical comparative linguistics .

A standard language (high-level language) is a variety that can be classified as a widely available language standard , for example through its use as written language or with regard to grammar and pronunciation. A distinction is made between standardized varieties (standard languages ​​of a single language) and less standardized varieties (often regional languages or regiolects , dialects / dialects, sociolects , everyday language ). This is independent of whether these are a full language or not. Examples of non-full-lingual varieties are, for example, the technical languages ​​of certain professional groups, which usually have a distinct, independent specialist vocabulary , but would be inconceivable without the words and grammar of the underlying language.

Model after Coseriu

In the model of the variety space, Eugenio Coseriu differentiates between varieties according to their function in the

  • diaphasic (in relation to the communicative context: intention, style)
  • diastatic (in relation to social class: sociolect)
  • diatopic (geographical reference: dialects (dialect), regiolects )

Dimension. For diastatic varieties, the identity of the speaker (e.g. youth language , idiolect , women's language, men's language, technical language) and the affiliation to a class or group ( sociolect , see also Bernstein hypothesis ) are decisive. Diaphasic varieties are characterized by functional and situational orientation (e.g. also technical languages , colloquial language ). Eugenio Coseriu describes the specific variety structure of a single language as the architecture of language.

Varieties in the German-speaking area

The “diatopic” dimension: In the Central European German-speaking area, standard German is spoken as a pluricentric language alongside the dialect varieties or is influenced by them. In the Upper German- speaking area of German-speaking Switzerland , one speaks (also) a Swiss standard German and uses so-called Helvetisms ; In the Republic of Austria, one speaks Austrian German and uses so-called Austriancisms . Most of the linguistic expressions of High German standard language can be found in the largest and most populous state in the German-speaking area, in the Federal Republic of Germany. Here, forms of High German mix with regional language forms of Low , Middle and Upper German . There is no uniform so-called West German Standard German for all “West Germans” (= Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany) with so-called Teutonisms , because there are also different varieties within Germany. In Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and South Tyrol there are also different language varieties of the standard German language.

Examples of varieties of German in the “diastratic” dimension are, in addition to standard German, Ruhr German , Kanak Sprak or the various forms of Rotwelschen , such as Yenish .

See also


  • Ulrich Ammon , Hans Bickel , Jakob Ebner a. a .: German variant dictionary . The standard language in Austria, Switzerland and Germany as well as in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and South Tyrol . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2004, ISBN 3-11-016574-0 .
  • Ulrich Ammon: The German language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The problem of national varieties . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-11-014753-X .
  • Snježana Kordić : National varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language . In: Biljana Golubović, Jochen Raecke (eds.): Bosnian - Croatian - Serbian as foreign languages ​​at the universities of the world (=  The world of the Slavs, anthologies - Sborniki ). tape 31 . Sagner, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-86688-032-0 , pp. 93-102 ( PDF file; 1.3 MB [accessed October 3, 2012]).
  • Alexandra N. Lenz, Klaus J. Mattheier (eds.): Varieties. Theory and empiricism . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2005, ISBN 3-631-53867-7 ( VarioLingua 23).
  • Alexandra N. Lenz: Emergence of Varieties through Restructuring and Reevaluation . In: Peter Auer, Jürgen Erich Schmidt (Eds.): Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation . Volume 1: Theories and Methods . De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin a. a. 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-018002-2 , pp. 295-315 .

Web links

Wiktionary: variety  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Language variety  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Sinner (2014): Variety Linguistics. Tübingen: Fool. P. 190; Kalverkämper (1998): Framework conditions for specialist communication. In: Handbuch der Sprach- und Kommunikationwissenschaften: Fachsprache. P. 34.
  2. "Historical Language" and "Dialect". In J. Göschel, P. Ivic, K. Kehr (eds.): Dialekt und Dialektologie. Results of the international symposium “On the theory of dialect”. Marburg / Lahn, 5th – 10th Sept. 1977, Wiesbaden 1980, pp. 106-122.
  3. Even the attempt to define a uniform pronunciation of German in West and East Germany, a joint project of the Universities of Cologne and Leipzig after the unification of the GDR and FRG, has failed.
  4. See Ammon 1995.