Variation in Norm
7 The conservative German vowel system
7.1 Standard pronunciation in Germany, Austria and Switzerland It is assumed that worldwide more than 120 million people speak German as a native language, which places it among the ten languages with the highest number of speakers (Göttert 2010: 353, DA 2009, p. 1). In contrast to the situation holding for English, there are some indications in the major Germanspeaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland that a common standard of spoken language counts as a desirable and attainable objective of their cultural policies. There also seems to be overwhelming agreement that such a standard should be close to a form of German that historically has its origin and is naturally spoken in the north of Germany. To date, only Germany can boast a standard pronuncia tion which is exhaustively codified in comprehensive dictionaries: DUDEN: Aus- sprachewörterbuch (DUA, 62005) and Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (DA, 2009), which supersedes Großes Wörterbuch der deutschen Aussprache (GWDA, 1982). The phonetic codification in the latter two dictionaries incorporates the results of many empirical investigations that were carried out on actual language use in the electronic mass media (especially newscasts and talk shows). The old standard pronouncing dictionary by Theodor Siebs Deutsche Bühnenaussprache – Hochsprache (131922), which was based on an earlier book from the year 1898 and whose last edition appeared as Siebs: Deutsche Aussprache (191969), nowa days appears to be rather dated. It is not insignificant for this erstwhile authorita tive and indirectly still influential dictionary that its author was...
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