LINGUIST List 32.2852

Wed Sep 08 2021

FYI: [Recorded talk] Austrian German or German in Austria: on a problem case, since 1848, in academic enquiry [Österreichsiches Deutsch oder Deutsch in Österreich: ein Problemfall der Wissenschaftsgeschichte, seit 1848]

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <everettlinguistlist.org>



Date: 01-Sep-2021
From: Alexander Rauscher <alexander.rauschergmail.com>
Subject: [Recorded talk] Austrian German or German in Austria: on a problem case, since 1848, in academic enquiry [Österreichsiches Deutsch oder Deutsch in Österreich: ein Problemfall der Wissenschaftsgeschichte, seit 1848]
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I had the honour to read Dollinger's most recent book early and to host his talk last week (Aug. 25th).

Video-URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMf6pji_LfQ

Summary: Do we speak Austrian German or German in Austria? Though the answer is quite clear, German Studies would beg to differ. The case of “German” is synthesized in Dollinger's new general-interest book [2021, in German, & related 2019 title in English], which follows the logic: if academia fails to produce results over years, the speakers of the varieties must be informed. The idea seems to be working, as this fact-based, funny, sometimes cheeky book not only shows how *not* to use millions of public research funding these past few decades, but above all why the concept of a Standard Austrian German would finally need to be implemented in German Studies, teacher education and in Austrian schools without ands, ifs & buts, and free from linguistic inferiority complexes. The book’s success, going through three editions in as many months, suggests that public success may be of relevance in the social sciences — underscored by a congratulatory note from the (Green Party) Austrian president Alexander van der Bellen.

The case of Austrian Standard German - which is what Austrians speak when they give lectures in German (such as Dollinger’s lecture) - shows that the Humanities and Social Sciences cannot work without theory and that, without social theory, one may drift off into historical and German-nationalist discourse, which otherwise would have little influence today. The lecture also shows how empirical approaches do not necessarily turn out to be “modern” or cutting-edge and that, on the contrary, ideas from the 1880s, perhaps even großdeutsch (German nationalist) ideas, may manifest themselves or creep in through the backdoor in indirect ways today via the way how we conceptualize the German language. Dollinger calls that “hegemonic linguistics” and shows that not all is well in Germanisitik. Do we need an Austriazistik? Some say we do, while Dollinger hopes that German Studies can still be turned around.


Books on the topic:

Dollinger, Stefan. 2021. Österreichisches Deutsch oder Deutsch in Österreich? Identitäten im 21. Jahrhundert. Wien: new academic press. TOC and first chapter: https://www.academia.edu/42767781/

Dollinger, Stefan. 2019. The Pluricentricity Debate: On Austrian German and Other Germanic Standard Varieties. London: Routledge. TOC and first chapter: https://www.academia.edu/37714477/

Dollinger, Stefan. 2019. Debunking "pluri-areality": on the pluricentric perspective of national varieties. Journal of Linguistic Geography 7:98-112. Online: https://www.academia.edu/38389481/


Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Subject Language(s): German (deu)
Language Family(ies): German


Page Updated: 08-Sep-2021