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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‹) aims at filling this gap. Regional differences will be identified in newspapers from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein and the German speaking parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, and statistically evaluated. The focus will be placed on standard varieties of the German language, leaving aside dialects and colloquial language use. The resulting output of the project will be a handbook that documents and describes features such as differences in the use of case or prepositions, or variations in syntax. These features are also the subject of in-depth analyses in several PhD projects.
The handbook 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 will be a useful tool for teaching German as a foreign language.

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Foto: Sternschauer./ Source PHOTOCASE