Welcome to the Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP)
Welcome to the Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP) in the Department of Germanic Studies and the Linguistics Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Besides useful information about Texas German language and culture, this site also contains the user interface and database of the Texas German Dialect Archive (TGDA). The TGDA is an online digital archive of audio and textual materials documenting sociolinguistic interviews with native speakers of Texas German. Click here for a video about the TGDP.
You will have to register and login in order to access any archive resources, but you can browse other parts of this website without registering. To get started, go to the Dialect Archive page.
The first option is geared towards the general public who is interested in listening to Texas German. To listen to and view the materials available in the TGDA database, your computer will need to have VCL player and Acrobat Reader installed (other media players such as Quicktime or Windows Media Player may also be used to listen to the materials in the TGDA database). The sound files accessed using this option are in MP3 format (easily accessible using a dial-up connection). The text files accessed using this option contain a word-by-word transcription as well as translation in HTML.
The second option is geared towards professional linguists and anthropologists who are interested in gaining access to more detailed information. To listen to and view more detailed information, your computer will need to have ELAN (EUDICO Linguistic Annotator, developed at the Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) installed. Once ELAN is installed, you may download portions of sociolinguistic interviews conducted with native speakers of Texas German. Besides offering word-by-word transcriptions and translations, this option will also give you more detailed phonetic transcriptions, information on code-switching, and information on syntactic structure. Since the sound files are in wav format, you will also be able to conduct detailed phonetic analyses on the Texas German data. This option requires a high-speed connection to the Internet.
Please explore this site, the TGDA database, and keep your eye on What’s New to learn about recent additions to the archive and new functionalities added to this site.
As of November 2015, the TGDA contains more than 800 hours of interviews with more than 500 Texas German speakers. At the moment, about 25% of these recordings are available for public access. The remainder will be released for public access between 2016-2018.
The TGDP and the TGDA are grateful for the technical assistance of the members of the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of South America (AILLA) at the University of Texas at Austin.
About the Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP)
The goals of the TGDP are:
- to preserve the Texas German dialect as it reflects the rich cultural and linguistic traditions of its residents
- to gather basic research information about language variety in order to understand the nature of language variation and change
- to provide information about language differences and language change for public and educational interests
- to use the material collected in research projects for the improvement of educational programs about language and culture
About the Texas German Dialect Archive (TGDA)
The Texas German Dialect Archive (TGDA) holds copies of recorded interviews conducted by members of the TGDP. The TGDA is a web-accessible database of audio and textual materials from Texas German. The holdings of this archive are primarily audio recordings of sociolinguistic interviews conducted with native speakers of Texas German.
The creation of this archive has three primary goals:
- to preserve irreplaceable recordings of and materials relating to Texas German
- to write a popular account of Texas German that can be used in historical preservation efforts. TGDP will share this material with local schools, preservation societies, and museums concerned with preserving cultural heritage through language. TGDP will also put together an archival tape collection of selected descriptions, narratives, and oral histories for these institutions
- to render these materials accessible to a wider academic audience in order to promote further original research
The realization of these goals is guided by two primary objectives:
- to archive these materials as digital records that can be stored and maintained in perpetuity, and
- to make these materials available in a manner that is guided by our responsibility to protect the intellectual and cultural property rights of the individuals and groups from whom these materials originate
The TGDP is a project led by faculty and students in Germanic Linguistics in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
How the TGDP and TGDA came to be
For the past four decades, Texas German has not been passed on to younger generations at home, meaning that fewer and fewer young people speak the dialect. Since the number of native Texas German speakers will shrink drastically over the next two decades, the dialect will become extinct by 2040. Therefore, the TGDP was founded in September 2001 with financial help from the Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin to record, archive, distribute, and analyze the remnants of this rapidly eroding dialect as it is spoken at the beginning of the third millennium.
There has long been a need for an accessible archive of audio and video materials of language in use. This need has been felt more and more acutely by linguists and others working with these materials as time has shown the fragility of non-digitized media and the unfortunate frequency with which irreplaceable data is lost due to any of a number of causes. The need for such an archive is also felt because of the difficulty of publishing large corpora, whether in audio or text format.
Until the advent of Internet technology, an internationally-accessible digital audio archive was unfeasible. Now, with recent advances in digital technology and the decreasing costs in implementing this new technology, an archive like the TGDA, long envisioned by scholars and others who value these materials, is a reality.
What is Archived Here
The materials held by the TGDA come from all over central Texas and for the most part take the form of sociolinguistic/oral history interviews. In addition to using the holdings of the TGDA to learn more about Texas German life in central Texas from 1840 on, these materials offer a wealth of data on linguistic features of Texas German from phonology to grammatical patterns. It is TGDP’s goal to enable new research and understanding of the richness of this unique dialect of German in use.
There are two types of data archived in the TGDA. The first type is sociolinguistic interviews where informants tell stories in Texas German about their lives, their families, and local history, among many other topics. The recordings of these stories are transcribed and translated into English, and accessible through the TGDA. The second type of data is translations of English words, phrases, and sentences into Texas German. The data come from lists used by Fred Eikel (1954) and Glenn Gilbert (1972), see references. Users can access the Texas German translations in order to compare how the same words, phrases and sentences are pronounced differently in various parts of Texas.
Responsibilities and Disclaimers
User Rights and Responsibilities
- I will not use any resource in the TGDP database for commercial purposes. If any commercial use is planned, then I will need to get written permission from the TGDP.
- I will provide full and accurate citation in any publication that appears either in print or online for all resources I use from the TGDP database.
- I will notify TGDP of any significant research and/or findings that result from my use of resources in the TGDP database.
- I will archive with the TGDP any derivative materials I create from resources of the TGDP including transcriptions, translations, re-analyses, and similar materials.
- When using the TGDA database and Graded Access System, I will act and interact with the TGDP project group in good faith. If the TGDP group has reason to believe that I am not acting in good faith, the TGDP group retains the right to alter or terminate the relationship between myself and the archive.
- I will respect the intellectual property rights and copyrights that pertain to the holdings of the TGDP to the fullest extent possible.
- If I have any concerns or questions regarding my responsibilities as a user of the TGDP website and database, I will contact the TGDP group at: email@example.com.
Disclaimers concerning the TGDP website and TGDA database
- As an integral part of the goals of the TGDP to both preserve and disseminate irreplaceable Texas German language materials, the TGDP will make available to you, the user, as many of its holdings as possible. Access levels for each resource, however, are set by the depositor and the co-creators of that resource, and may change if any of the creators of the resource request it.
- The TGDP group makes every effort to respect the intellectual property rights and copyrights associated with every resource in the TGDP database. If you have any concern regarding the holdings of the TGDP or the policies pertaining to them, please contact the TGDP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Like any library, the TGDP database is a safe, organized, and maintained repository for materials and functions as a resource for interested persons.
- The opinions, beliefs, or assertions expressed in the content of any resource archived in the TGDP database do not represent the opinions or beliefs of the TGDP group or of the University of Texas at Austin.
- The opinions or beliefs held by any depositor to the TGDP/TGDA database do not represent the opinions or beliefs of the TGDP group or of the University of Texas at Austin.
- The TGDP is not responsible for and does not necessarily endorse the content of any website to which it provides a link, nor does the TGDP necessarily endorse the content of any website which provides a link to the TGDP.
- The TGDP is not affiliated with or sponsored by any religious or missionary organization.
- The TGDP is being developed by faculty, staff and students at the University of Texas at Austin. However, the opinions expressed at the TGDP website do not represent the opinions of the University of Texas. The TGDP group alone is responsible for the text posted at the TGDP website. Any concerns should be directed to: email@example.com.
THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY A GRANT FROM HUMANITIES TEXAS, A STATE PARTNER OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES.
The TGDP/TGDA have received financial support to develop this pilot site from the Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas, the Center for Teaching and Learning (formerly known as the Center for Instructional Technologies) at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin. We are deeply grateful for their support.
Furthermore, we thank the North Carolina Language and Life Project for the inspiration to start the Texas German Dialect Project.