The goal of the “” (REDE) project is to fill two of the most trenchant deficits in the long history of the study of spoken German. Firstly, notwithstanding the intensive study of German base dialects over 180 years (Schmeller 1821), no comprehensive description of the “modern regional languages”, i.e., the spoken variety spaces which represent the everyday speech of most speakers, has ever been undertaken. Secondly, there is the absence of a suitable “information structure” which would allow the numerous research data and findings of the past to be directly compared and analytically integrated with one another and with modern regional-language data (yet to be surveyed). Hence, the aim of the project is the first systematic survey of the modern German regional languages.

This comprehensive goal can be broken down into two parts:

  1. The establishment of a research-centred information system about modern German regional languages, in which the immense amounts of existing dialectological, sociolinguistic and variation-linguistic data can be bundled, interrelated and made available to linguists for systematic comparative analyses and to the public as a comprehensive information resource.
  2. The first survey and analysis of the variation-linguistic structure and dynamic of modern German regional languages. To this end it is necessary to investigate and analyse the variative space which makes out these modern regional languages, itself constituted through the elements of “regional accent” (pole nearest the standard”, “dialect” (pole furthest from the standard), and an intermediary arrangement of varieties.

The technical basis and initial data for the project will be furnished by the “Digitale Wenker-Atlas” (DiWA) project, the internet publication of the oldest and, in terms of scale and density, to date the largest language atlas in the world. On the basis of DiWA, the “” (REDE) project aims to comprehensively linguistically document the entire spoken language system of a major modern language in ist vertical, spatial, and temporal dimensions.