On everyone’s mind and lips – German in Austria

Everybody is invited to do research on the variation, change and use of German language in Austria.

Language, German, Austria

The project overview

Area of Science: Humanities
Location: Österreich
Used Devices: without PC/Mobile, with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: Smartphone, tablet or computer with internet access (for almost all steps); for independent (on-site) research: a voice recorder might be necessary.
Activities of citizen scientists: sharing ideas, observing, collecting, photographing, analysing, playing, other activities
Suitable for: Youngsters and adults
Project duration: 01.07.2017 - 30.06.2019
Time to join in: 15.11.2017 - 30.06.2019
Expenditure of time: depends on the commitment of the contributors: e.g. taking photos of writing in public spaces using an app: 1 min.; submitting the Question of the Month or generating memes: 5 min.; doing research on their own: variable
Project website: https://iam.dioe.at

Project objective

The project „On everyone’s mind and lips – German in Austria“ aims at motivating the general public to conduct (own) research on the use and perception of the German language in Austria. The citizen science approach enhances the exchange between the general public and academia and makes academic research more transparent.

Language use, may it be the use of dialects or a standard variety, is an emotional and political topic and everybody can contribute with their opinion, experience, knowledge and concerns. We include citizens in every research step and aim at raising socially relevant topics. In doing so, our research can keep pace with the general public’s concerns regarding German language use in Austria and can open a dialogue between researchers and the public. This helps to correct misunderstandings, misconceptions and counteract language myths.

The project raises awareness for the topic in various contexts, i.e. the use of German (language) varieties on the streets, lips and minds in Austria.

How to participate?

Everybody uses language, thus everybody can participate. There are multiple ways to engage in the project; for example, by raising or voting on the "Question of the Month". These questions about the use of German language varieties in Austria, not only indicate socially relevant topics but also allow participants to start their own research projects. Our researchers support the participants throughout the entire research process. They provide research methods, training material, feedback and support via the project’s website, enabling participants to find an answer to their questions. Consequently, citizens can become researchers on their own in the field of linguistics.

In addition, there are various activities in which the interested public can participate throughout the project. They can join our "meme contest" and create dialectal memes in a meme generator or collect written forms of linguistic variation in the public with an app during the "Scavenger Hunt" through Austria. The closing event will recognise the contributions from the citizens.

What happens to the contributions of citizen scientists?

The "Questions of the Month" raised by the participants as well as any related data are published via various communication channels, including our website, social media as well as the "German in Austria: Variation – Contact – Perception" research platform. The photos taken by citizens during the "Scavenger Hunt" for written forms of language variation are stored and archived with Lingscape, one of our research partners. The contributions for the meme contest will be published on the participating institutions’ social media.

Participating and supporting institutions


Barbara Heinisch

Project website: https://iam.dioe.at

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