WBÖ Dictionary of Bavarian Dialects in Austria

CC-BY 4.0, Sandra Lehecka

The project Dictionary of Bavarian Dialects in Austria is dedicated to the comprehensive documentation and lexicographic analysis of the various base and regional dialects of (historical) Austria.

The foundation for the research is data from the so-called ‘Hauptkatalog’ (‘main catalogue’), a collection of paper slips covering approximately 3.6 million entries with language samples and quotations that were collected in the first half of the 20th century. The language data in this collection was obtained either indirectly with the help of so-called collectors ("Sammler") on the basis of questionnaires ("Fragebücher") sent out by mail, or directly during field explorations ("Kundfahrten"), and was further complemented with excerpts from specialised literature. The bulk of the ‘Hauptkatalog’ has by now been digitized and is available as a database in xml-format. So far, the first five volumes of the WBÖ have been published, covering approximately 75.000 lemmata from A to Ezzes.

In December 2016, the WBÖ was relocated to the research department ‘Variation and Change of German in Austria’ at the ACDH. Its integration into the newly founded department facilitates exchange with other resident research projects such as ‘Austrian Dialect Cartography 1924-1956. Digitalization, Contextualization, Virtualization’ (project head: Manfred Glauninger) or the SFB ‘German in Austria. Varation – Contact – Perception’ (spokesperson: Alexandra N. Lenz), a joint project of the Universities of Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz, as well as the ÖAW.

With the help of a growing staff of researchers, the department is working on a modernized concept for the WBÖ. Besides continuing the (increasingly text technologically based) dictionary work, the aim is to create a web-based research and information platform on the lexicon of German in Austria. For this purpose, the digitized contents of the ‘Hauptkatalog’ as well as other material (scans of the questionnaires, research literature, ...) are to be published in order to facilitate comprehensive research.