Dialektatlas Mittleres Westdeutschland

In light of the rapid decline of the dialectal linguistic competence especially in the north of the German language area it is the goal of the DMW, by means of a first systematic survey of current data, to document and analyse the still tangible stocks of the dialects or the manner of speaking with the maximal variation from standard of two generations of speakers in the Midwest of Germany. Through new collection of data the language varieties with the maximal variation from standard in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the southwest of Lower Saxony and the north of Rhineland-Palatinate that have not been covered yet by modern linguistic atlases are systematically and comprehensively documented cartographically (phonetic-phonologically, morphological, syntactic and lexical). The DMW complements important existing atlas projects  geographically and methodically and therefore ensures the compatibility of the data. The research findings are made accessible digitally via internet for scientific research activities of third parties as well as the interested public.

Because of the heterogeneous linguistic characteristics in the study area one can estimate different degrees of proximity to the dialects or variation from standard, that for the first time are systematically captured, structurally analysed and compared to the DMW within a limited period of time. To capture the dynamics of the language change in the area of the DMW, data from two generations is collected. It can be assumed, that the strongest degree of dialects will mainly be found in the older generation, while the generations of children and gradnchildren use weaker forms of dialects set between dialect and standard language that are not only bound spatially but also socially/situationally. Especially the child generation of the today 30- to 40 years old people, must be surveyed as well, to seize the unique opportunity to document the linguistic conversion in comparison with other generations and evaluate it in combination with language biographical data. 


  • Prof. Dr. Helmut H. Spiekermann (Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Doris Tophinke (Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Claudia Wich-Reif (Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Petra M. Vogel (Project Leader)
  • Dr. Kai-Uwe Carstensen (Technical Associate)
  • Dr. Nicole Palliwoda (Project Coordinator)
Running time
Project type

Contact person for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17