Syntax of Hessian Dialects

The project Syntax of Hessian Dialects (SyHD) collected, evaluated and analyzed geographically comprehensive data about the main features of the dialect syntax of German as spoken in the German state of Hesse. Data for the assessment was gathered within Hesse as well as in twelve neighboring locations, which served as points of comparison. The project, which was sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG), was concluded in 2018. Its results are now accessible online, and include:

  • In-depth analyses of Hessian dialect syntax, carried out in a systematic synopsis of distinct linguistic subdisciplines. Data was examined according to etymology, variation linguistics and syntax theory and the findings were included in scientific publications.
  • An expert system for Hessian dialect syntax consisting of data gathered within the framework of the project and edited for further syntactic analyses (SyHD-stats, SyHD-maps) and of georeferenced linguistic maps of selected phenomena SyHD-atlas.

Methodologically, SyHD was based on a combination of indirect and direct surveys, which were carried out at ca. 160 locations within and 12 locations outside of Hesse. In the first step, between four and eight informants were surveyed at each location with the help of questionnaires pertaining to syntactic phenomena. In the second step, direct surveys were carried out at all of the survey locations in Hesse.

The main component is SyHD-atlas, a format based on "traditional" language atlases, in which all constructions inquired in the surveys are discussed and mapped in detail.

Further querying, visualization and use of the data collected in SyHD is facilitated by the following tools:

  • SyHD-maps allows users to chart all questions from the direct and indirect surveys and includes the option to select variants and customize symbolization.
  • SyHD-stats can be used to create diagrams of the data and to download all data in various forms
  • SyHD-query allows users to compile data individually to form new queries, the results of which can then be mapped via SyHD-maps or displayed in SyHD-stats.