Standard German is not a homogeneous entity: Differences in vocabulary and pronunciation are well documented, and speakers are very aware of them. Grammatical differences, however, are far less prominent and, to date, have received little attention from researchers. The project »Regional Variation in the Grammar of Standard German« (›Variantengrammatik des Standarddeutschen‹) aimed at filling this gap. Regional differences were identified in newspapers from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein and the German speaking parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, and statistically evaluated. The focus was placed on standard varieties of the German language, leaving aside dialects and colloquial language use. The resulting output of the project is published in an open access reference work that documents and describes features such as differences in the use of case or prepositions, or variations in syntax. These features were also the subject of in-depth analyses in several PhD projects.
The »Variantengrammatik« aims at influencing language policy by raising awareness for linguistic differences within the German speaking area, but also by sanctioning them as standard language. Furthermore, it promises to be a useful tool for teaching German as a foreign language.
The »Variantengrammatik (VG)« was published in December 2018 and can be found here. If you would like to refer to the VG in English publications, please use the following citation: Variantengrammatik des Standarddeutschen (2018). An open access online reference work compiled by a team under the leadership of Christa Dürscheid, Stephan Elspaß & Arne Ziegler. 


Foto: Sternschauer./ Source PHOTOCASE