Vorwerg, Constanze

Vorwerg, Constanze


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  • Publikation
    How Speech Therapists in Swiss Diglossia Choose Varieties in Aphasia Testing [Poster]
    (04/2022) Widmer Beierlein, Sandra; Vorwerg, Constanze
    Switzerland is one of the main national centers of the pluricentric German language, along with Austria and Germany. Swiss German-speaking people use the the national variety of Standard or High German (HG) in addition to the “national dialect”, Swiss German (SG). A special feature of German-speaking Switzerland is the coexistence of SG and HG, each variety being restricted to its own context of use and without an intermediate variety comparable with “Umgangssprache” (colloquial language). This can be described as diglossia (Haas 2004; Ferguson 1959). HG is used in formal situations, e.g. at school, examinations or for sermons in the church (Oberholzer 2018; Rash 2002). SG, on the other hand, is always preferred for oral communication among Swiss people, regardless of education and social status - unlike other local dialects in Europe (Hove 2017; Christen et al. 2010). It has a very high prestige among Swiss-German speakers (Berthele 2004). Although the clear separation of dialect and High German leads to code switching (CS), this is a relatively rare phenomenon (Kropf 1986; Christen et al. 2010). CS is, however, often found in institutional communication, which involves the use of HG. One example of institutional communication is aphasia diagnostics. Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that can affect all linguistic levels (Huber, Poeck & Springer 2013). During testing, it is up to the speech therapist to give instructions, to carry out the test correctly and make a diagnosis. In Switzerland, tests for aphasia are usually performed using tests from Germany that have been standardized for High German (spoken and written) in Germany and do not take into account dialects (Widmer Beierlein & Vorwerg 2015). Data from two single-case analyses (Widmer Beierlein & Vorwerg 2017) and interviews with the therapists (Widmer Beierlein & Vorwerg 2020) suggest that dialect is the unmarked variety used for personal communication, such as small talk at the beginning of the session, and that speech therapists switch to HG only for (parts of) the test itself. The research presented aimed at establishing whether this is indeed the case: Is HG used significantly more often in testing itself compared to other discourse functions in a linguistic assessment (e.g., instructions, greeting, conversation, etc.)? We analyzed 11 aphasia assessments with two Swiss-dialect-speaking participants each with respect to the distribution of the varieties, broken down by participants (therapist and patient) and discourse functions. The aphasia assessment situations were videotaped and the dialog segments have been coded with respect to variety and discourse. We will consider which discourse functions favor the use of SG and/or HG in the aphasia assessment. This is relevant in order to create a more transparent starting point with regard to the choice of varieties in aphasia diagnostics in Switzerland. Especially in the research of language disorders, varieties have rather been neglected so far, which leads to a very heterogeneous and individual approach in a setting supposed to be standardized, with language even being the subject of testing.
    06 - Präsentation
  • Publikation
    Dialekt oder Hochdeutsch? Beweggründe für ihre Verwendung in der Aphasiediagnostik im Spannungsfeld der Schweizer Diglossiesituation
    (Olms, 2020) Widmer Beierlein, Sandra; Vorwerg, Constanze [in: Dialekt und Logopädie. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik]
    The language situation in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is diglossic, with Swiss German (regional dialects) and Standard German being used under different conditions. Aphasia assessment therefore constitutes a linguistically complex and challenging situation for speech therapists, as most of the tests are available in Standard German only, but patients speak Swiss German in every­day life. This study investigated reasons why speech therapists decide to use a Swiss-German dialect or the standard variety in the testing situation. Twenty speech therapists were interviewed. Results show that therapists adopt different perspectives whenjustifying the use of one or the other. For Standard German, the most frequently cited argument was the test criteria. For Swiss German, it was the patient's language.
    01A - Beitrag in wissenschaftlicher Zeitschrift