The teaching and learning of German plays a central role in all schools in South Tyrol, be they German, Italian or Ladin. The provincial guidelines for schools talk a lot about "Hochdeutsch“ or "Standarddeutsch“, i.e. standard German, but how are we to concretely interpret these terms in South Tyrol? What does the German that is taught in schools in South Tyrol look like in practice? Do teachers accept South Tyrolean particularities? Where do they position themselves, and do they orientate themselves by the German or Austrian standard, or none of the two? Are there differences between teachers and students, between the language groups, the generations?
The Ph.D. thesis with the working title "Deutsch ist nicht gleich Deutsch – Die deutsche Standardsprache an Südtiroler Schulen“ is dealing with these and similar questions. The thesis, written by Silvia Hofer under the supervision of Prof. Rudolf de Cillia of the University of Vienna and in collaboration with the EURAC Institute of Specialised Communication and Multilingualism, wants to analyse how the pluricentric German language is dealt with in high schools of all three language groups across South Tyrol
More precisely, it deals with the following research questions:
- Which are the norms that German teachers relate to? What understanding do teachers have of “standard German”, what do they accept/correct? Which variants are preferred by students, which by teachers?
- What knowledge about the different varieties of German do teachers and students possess? Are topics such as language variation, diglossia etc. dealt with at school?
- What attitudes towards the various standard varieties and dialects of German do teachers and students have? Are there significant differences?
Both qualitative (expert interviews, focus groups) and quantitative (questionnaires) data will be collected and analysed in the thesis. The South Tyrolean data will furthermore be compared with Austrian data that were collected for the FWF project Österreichisches Deutsch als Unterrichts- und Bildungssprache.
The thesis' topics are closely related to those of the project Bildungssprache im Vergleich: korpusunterstützte Analyse der Sprachkompetenzen bei Lernenden im deutschen Sprachraum (unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Deutschen in Südtirol), running since January 2010 in cooperation with the Faculty of Education of the Free University of Bolzano and the Institute of German Studies of the University of Innsbruck.
Along with the Ph.D. project, teaching materials with a similar focus have been developed. More information can be found here.
Time frame: 01/2013 – 09/2016
What do the words Znüni, Brotzeit, Jause and Halbmittag have in common? Why isn’t the German language the same everywhere? What dialects are there? Why do teenagers talk differently from adults? Why do languages change?
You can download teaching material for your German class dealing with these and many other questions. The exercises are for all learners of German, be it as a first, second or foreign language, and for all age groups from elementary to high school.
Have fun teaching and exploring the German language!
Commentary for teachers