Welcome to dialektkarten.ch

This web site provides interactive visualisations of dialect maps for various European dialect areas.

Digitized Swiss German working maps

A selection of dialect maps published in the Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz (SDS) was digitized by Yves Scherrer and collaborators. This link provides access to an interactive map viewer and to downloads of the data in different formats.

The website www.sprachatlas.ch (in German) lists a wealth of background information and original data material on the SDS project.

Translation and generation of Swiss German dialect texts

The digitized SDS maps were initially used to parameterize a machine translation system from Standard German to Swiss German dialects, and to create a dialect identification system. These computational applications are no longer available due to technical reasons. Yves Scherrer's doctoral thesis describes these applications in detail.


In collaboration with the Salzburg dialectometry group around Prof. Hans Goebl, we offer interactive dialectometric visualizations for various linguistic areas. These can be accessed by clicking on the respective links in the menu bar at the top of this page.

Basics of dialectometry:

Dialectometry (DM) is concerned with finding hidden (ie underlying) structures in geolinguistic networks that are as high-ranking as possible. It is assumed that the dialectal interaction in space is carried out in a law-conform and not chaotic way: see the theorem of "basilectal management of space by man", which is a supporting pillar of the Salzburg-DM.

From an empirical point of view, the DM works primarily with data from linguistic atlases, since these have generally been collected according to a uniform measurement scheme and thus contain intercomparable data.

From a methodological point of view, the Salzburg DM has a numerical and a cartographic (visual) pillar. In numerical terms, the methods of Salzburg-DM have been borrowed from those of "Numerical Classification" and "Quantitative Geography"; in cartographic terms, the focus is on the target-oriented use of all methods used in the field of quantitative and computer-aided cartography. In both cases, care was and is always taken to select methods that fit to the needs of geolinguistics (or linguistic geography).

In addition to the spatial distribution of dialectal similarities and distances, the DM is also interested in the quantitative recording (and subsequent visualization) of the small and large scale interaction between greater dialect domains, whereby these are understood as higher ranking typologically relevant constructs.

The Salzburg DM methods can also be applied to diachronically relevant data. It is also possible to process (in numerical and graphical way) successfully extra-linguistic data with VDM, provided that their basic structure corresponds to that of linguistic atlases.