German in Austria

Linguistic landscapes provide information on how people understand and perceive language(s). How does it look like in Austria?

language, German in Austria, scavenger hunt

The project overview

Area of Science: Humanities
Location: Austria
Used Devices: with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: Smartphone or tablet with a camera and internet access for uploading pictures; Lingscape app; preferably but optional: activated GPS
Activities of citizen scientists: collecting, photographing, mapping, analysing
Suitable for: Youngsters and adults
Project duration: 01.07.2017 - 04.07.2019
Time to join in: 01.04.2019 - 05.07.2019
Expenditure of time: participation in a linguistic scavenger hunt: 1 hour; taking pictures of signs in everyday life, uploading photos to the app, providing additional information: all together no more than 5 minutes per picture

Project objective

How do people in Austria use language(s)? Which languages and dialects can be found in writing on Austria's streets, in parks and in public buildings? Research on Austria's linguistic landscape gives insights into the different functions of language. Be it dialect used on a billboard, official language displayed on an information board or the use of many different languages in touristic regions, a certain language serves a certain purpose.

The project "German in Austria" explored the variety of the German language in Austria, how it has developed and how it is used and perceived by the public in Austria. The research not only focused on spoken but also on written language. In public areas, in streets and places, written language is omnipresent on billboards, signs and advertisements which reveal the use and meaning of language in society.

How did citizen scientists participate?

Individuals and school classes either participated in a scavenger hunt organised by the project in Vienna, Salzburg or Graz, or individually uploaded photos of written text in the public sphere to the Lingscape app.

In addition to the photographs, school classes also submitted a short research report of two pages. The report included a reflection on the hunt for written texts in the public sphere, such as the various languages found in certain areas or the method used by the students. 

What happened to the contributions of citizen scientists?

All photos were saved in the Lingscape online map and were made available to the public and researchers. The uploaded photographs help to analyse the European linguistic landscape but also to answer various research questions in different fields of research such as: Where are signs containing written language installed? Which languages are present in my region? Does dialect wordplay exist on billboards in cities? 


How are winners being determined
The school class which uploaded the highest number of different photographs and the best research report, as well as the two individuals who uploaded the highest number of different photographs, will win. Everyone who provides additional information, such as the language visible on signs, stickers, etc., will get bonus points. Only georeferenced photos with different motifs and a (group or person-related) hashtag will be considered. 

 The winners will be announced at the festive ceremony on 19 November 2019. 

Non-cash prizes for two individuals, one cash-prize for one school class in the amount of 1,000 euros. 

Participating and supporting institutions


Project team "Deutsch in Österreich" 

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