Factors of Intra-Speaker Variation in Nineteenth-Century Lower-Class Writing

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Schiegg M
Journal: Neuphilologische Mitteilungen
Publication year: 2018
Volume: 119
Pages range: 101-120
ISSN: 0028-3754
Language: English


Research on intra-speaker variation is scarce within
the field of historical sociolinguistics, particularly with regard to German
data. This paper examines whether the major approaches of modern
sociolinguistics in this area, namely attention to speech, audience design, and
speaker design, can be applied to the analysis of historical material. The
paper focuses on a comparative analysis of eleven letters written between 1891
and 1905 by a mentally ill day-labourer at the southern German psychiatric
hospital of Kaufbeuren. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods
for the examination of two graphemic variables provides evidence for all three
factors of stylistic variation. In addition, the deterioration of the writer’s
health appears to give rise to language change in his later letters; and this
change is shown to be highly statistically significant. The paper thus offers
new perspectives on the analysis of intra-speaker variation in historical data
in particular and for language history ‘from below’ in general and demonstrates
the need to re-evaluate the linguistic competence of lower-class writers of the

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Schiegg, Markus Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft

How to cite

Schiegg, M. (2018). Factors of Intra-Speaker Variation in Nineteenth-Century Lower-Class Writing. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 119, 101-120.

Schiegg, Markus. "Factors of Intra-Speaker Variation in Nineteenth-Century Lower-Class Writing." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 119 (2018): 101-120.


Last updated on 2019-16-03 at 16:08