We are still working on the English version. We thank you for your understanding that this will take some time.

Project Description


Brief Description

The project "Syntax of Hessian Dialects (SyHD)", sponsored by DFG, aims at collecting, evaluating and analyzing geographically comprehensive data about the main features of the dialect syntax of German as exemplified within an entire German state (Hesse). In addition to the assessment being carried out within Hesse, data is also being collected in twelve neighboring locations outside of the state.
These locations, placed elliptically around Hesse, serve as points of comparison. The project forsees two "final products", which will be accessible online:

  • In-depth analyses of Hessian dialect syntax, carried out in a systematic synopsis of distinct linguistic subdisciplines. Data will be examined according to etymology, variation linguistics and syntax theory. The findings will be included in scientific publications. (view publications)
  • An "expert system for Hessian dialect syntax" with two major components: Data gathered within the framework of the project and edited for further syntactic analyses (SyHD-stats, SyHD-maps) and georeferenced linguistic maps of selected phenomena (SyHD-atlas).

Methodologically, SyHD is based on a combination of indirect and direct surveys to be carried out at ca. 160 locations within and 12 locations outside of Hesse. In a first step, between four and eight informants will be indirectly surveyed at each location with the help of questionnaires pertaining to syntactic phenonmena. These have been modelled on the already sucessfully tested examples of the Syntaktischen Atlas der Deutschen Schweiz (SADS) and of the Syntactische Atlas van de Nederlandse Dialecten (SAND). In a second step, direct surveys will be carried out at all of the survey locations in Hesse.



SyHD (2018): Kurzbeschreibung. In: SyHD-online.
URL: [Zugriff:24.09.2019]



The data for SyHD will be attained using multivariate surveys that include direct and indirect survey techniques, combining the advantages of both methods.

The indirect survey using a questionnaire serves as a first and comprehensive exploration of the geographical area of the survey, which, up until now, had not been studied with regards to syntax at all. This provides an optimal preparation for the direct survey: the data collected in the indirect survey form the basis for the creation of the questionnaire used in the direct survey. 

The data collected directly in interview-format serve as the primary, and most important, sources of data. By comparing them to the indirectly collected data, they are placed in a further context. The direct survey will be carried out by interviewers (explorators) with a background in linguistics.  

More detailed information about the surveys that have already been completed is coming soon.

SyHD (2017): Methoden. In: SyHD-online.
URL: [Zugriff:24.09.2019]

Zum Expertensystem

About the Expert System

The collected and classified data form the basis of the comprehensive expert system on Hessian dialect syntax, which is currently under development. You can follow the progess of the system on this home page. The following tools are currently in the works:

The main format for publishing all of the data collected within the project is the georeferenced language map, which areally displays the results to each question. Project experts annotate these maps individually; however, many different maps point to the same syntactic phenomenon to which they have been assigned. The SyHD-atlas, which is exclusively published online, offers three major advantages:

  1. Individual access to the language maps as well as to the annotations in hypertext: the user is not limited to a specific configuration of the maps or to the commentary. Each maps as well as the data associated with it can be freely combined. As a result, the comparison of maps is unproblematic.
  2. Links to project data: the maps as well as the commentary are linked to the project databank. As a result, further information about the surveyed phenomena, locations, etc., can be retrieved. For example, at the click of a button the most recent map can be retrieved in the dynamic map system (SyHD-maps) and all of the answers collected with regards to this map can be exported using the data output system (SyHD-stats).
  3. Practically unlimited access: in contrast to printed linguistic atlases, the SyHD atlas is accessible world-wide and around the clock, as long as certain technical requirements have been met. This provides optimal access for the general public. 

SyHD-atlas is currently under development; the first beta versions of the system are projected to be available in the second half of 2015. 


In addition to the SyHD-atlas, the project offers a complementary, interactive map system that allows users to areally display the data from the project according to their exact wishes. To begin with, SyHD-maps delivers all of the data that form the basis for creating maps in SyHD-atlas, so that data can be easily integrated as one individual map. With one click, detailed information about each location can be retrieved from the databank. In addition, there is the possibility of superimposing selected maps that include additional information about the surveyed area, so that the SyHD-data can be viewed in another context. Moreover, a personalized profile of the queries can be compiled and used as the basis for individualized approaches to mapping the data.

The beta version of SyHD-maps can be viewed on request and is expected to be available in the second half of 2015.


Last but not least, SyHD-stats completes the expert system on Hessian dialect syntax. SyHD-stats offers (non-areally displayed) access to the project data. It enables the user to personally assemble data for evaluation (answers from each person, about each location, anonymized social data, information about language settings, etc.) and to export the data in various formats (Excel, csv, etc.). In addition, the tool allows for generating interactive online diagrams using project data so that the data can be examined from different points of view.

The advantages created by this type of online data visualization system include not only allowing for consistent, citable diagrams, but also, and more importantly, for uncomplicated utilization of the collected data. This easy-to-use data analysis system not only allows experts to obtain insights from the data, but it also makes the results of the project accessible to the general public. But even experts can gain considerable advantages from this type of system, as it simply, quickly and visually enables the user to gain insight into and an overview of the results. Moreover, SyHD-stats offers the depiction of project results that are non-areal.

SyHD-stats is currently in the conception stage; however, a first impression of data representation options should be available on the homepage at the beginning of 2015.

Breuer, Ludwig Maximilian (2018): Zum Expertensystem. In: SyHD-online.
URL: [Zugriff:24.09.2019]

Zur Kartierungsmethode

Leser-Cronau, Stephanie (2018): Zur Kartierungsmethode. In: SyHD-online.
URL: [Zugriff:24.09.2019]