Research of endangered dialects in the Slovene language area (Radgonski kot, Gradiščanska, Hum na Sutli with surroundings, Dubravica with surroundings

Basic Info


The aim of this research project is to acquire new findings and improve the knowledge essential for the development of Slovenian dialectology and Slovenian linguistics in general. Its goal is to promote systematic dialectological studies outside Slovenia where the use of native Slovenian dialects is gradually disappearing. These are dialects with weak intergenerational transfer that are mainly spoken by middle-aged and older individuals. To monitor their status, it is therefore vital to develop a uniform field research plan based on a common methodology of collecting material. This will be an important contribution to Slovenian dialectology, especially the methodology of studying dialects in language contact areas.

A well-thought-out lexical and phonetic questionnaire will be created for every study area to identify the differential lexical, morphological, and phonetic features of individual local dialects and subdialects, and to allow more accurate delimitation of dialects and thus the creation of detailed regional dialect maps. An especially important contribution to Slovenian dialectology will be made by comparative research findings on linguistic features in contact between two languages with different degrees of linguistic affinity (German and Croatian contact language varieties).

The studies will both document the dialects and establish their existence and vitality, and at the same time promote their actual preservation. Using professional recording equipment in field research makes it possible to make research findings available as they arise. A freely available corpus of quality audio recordings and detailed descriptions of individual local dialects not only preserve linguistic cultural heritage, but also provide firm support to the linguistic community in preserving and revitalizing language. In any small community, contact with researchers significantly strengthens the linguistic confidence of dialect speakers. Recording and describing a disappearing dialect and addressing it in scholarly literature also triggers positive linguistic-policy effects and, first and foremost, also contributes to preserving the awareness of the Slovenian identity of a specific dialect. Namely, speakers do not automatically connect their dialect with (standard) Slovenian.

Research is planned on four areas in two countries neighboring Slovenia:

1) Austria: identifying the area of the Prekmurje dialect: the Radkersburg Corner (Styria) and Burgenland;

2) Croatia: identifying areas of individual dialects that extend across the border: Hum na Sutli and the surrounding area: identifying the area of the central Styrian dialect; Dubravica and the surrounding area: identifying the area of the Kozje–Bizeljsko dialect.


Project steps

Phase              Description                                                    Status

1                      Study preparation                                           In progress

2                      Preparation for fieldwork                               March 2022–August 2022

3                      Fieldwork                                                        September 2022–September 2023

                        (Radgonski kot, Gradiščanska, Hrvaška)

4                      Analysis                                                           October 2023–March 2024

5                      Synthesis                                                         April 2024–August 2024