Regional variation of /r/ in dialects of Swiss German

Leemann, Adrian and Schmid, Stephan and Studer-Joho, Dieter and Kolly, Marie-José (2018) Regional variation of /r/ in dialects of Swiss German. In: Proceedings of Interspeech 2018 :. Interspeech 2018 . Interspeech, pp. 2738-2742.

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German-speaking Europe is known to feature substantial regional variation in the articulation of /r/. According to historical atlases, this is particularly true for the most southwestern fringe of the region, i.e. German-speaking Switzerland. Large-scale, multilocality studies that show an updated picture of regional variation in this region are lacking, however. To this end, we coded /r/s of almost 3,000 speakers from 438 localities on a predominantly auditory basis, using data crowdsourced through a smartphone app. We report substantial regional variation, with uvular articulations especially dominant in the Northwest and the Northeast and alveolar – particularly tapped – articulations prevalent in the Midlands. We further provide exemplary evidence of an urban ([ʁ]) vs. rural stratification ([ɾ]) in the Northwest. This contribution further discusses (a) issues related to the coding of /r/, given the volatile articulatory and acoustic properties of /r/s and (b) the benefits and pitfalls of the crowdsourcing methodology applied more generally.

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12 Jun 2018 07:36
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16 Jul 2024 04:19