Aspects of (multi-)lingualism in Austria: Competence – Usage – attitudes

Up-to-date, empirical, and sociolinguistically grounded data on multilingualism in Austria is currently lacking. Existing data is fragmentary and stems from official surveys (e.g., only until 2001 censuses, and school statistics). The language questions posed in those contexts are, however, historically charged and, not only therefore, problematic from a sociolinguistic perspective. The project “Aspects of (multi-)lingualism in Austria” addresses that research gap by conducting a (socio)linguistically oriented survey representative for the Austrian electorate population.

This representative survey aims at a multidimensional representation of multilingualism in Austria regarding the parameters competence, usage and attitudes. Therefore, it focuses the following aspects:

  • both so-called inner and outer multilingualism in the context of Austria’s complex linguistic landscape
  • historical and current dimensions of multilingualism that has been shaping Austria in various societal spheres for centuries
  • domain specific aspects regarding language acquisition, language learning and language usage
  • the unprecedented consideration of language attitudes in representative sociolinguistic surveys in Austria

The project’s outcome and the results of the survey will provide an important context for the interpretation of sociolinguistic research on (multi-)lingualism in Austria. Moreover, it will have implications for language and education politics in Austria.

The project is led by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexandra N. Lenz and Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Stefan Michael Newerkla. It is part of the thematic platform “Multilingualism in Science” of the ÖAW. Further team members are Agnes Kim) (ACDH-CH, University of Vienna), Wolfgang Koppensteiner, and Maria Schinko.

Project Duration

1 January 2022 ­– 31 December 2023


Project Lead

Alexandra N. Lenz

Stefan M. Newerkla


team member at the ACDH-CH

Agnes Kim


Project Partners

SFB „Deutsch in Österreich“

Institut für Germanistik der Universität Wien