Project page on ResearchGate

There are close historical ties between Northern Germany and the Nordic Countries, especially the Scandinavian mainland. This is primarily due to factors such as the language contact across the German-Danish (language) border, the economic contacts via the North Sea and Baltic Sea trade routes since the Hanseatic era, Germany’s cultural role model function for northern Europe for centuries, and Schleswig-Holstein’s long political affiliation with Denmark (contact scenarios).

Due to their common history, Low German and other Northern German varieties on the one hand and Nordic varieties on the other hand have many linguistic features in common. This ranges from German loan words in the Nordic languages to grammatical and phonetic similarities. As is well known, this affects in particular the Continental Scandinavian standard varieties, although not all to the same extent. Less known is the extent to which such common features are also found in non-standard varieties, including varieties of German.

The project investigates grammatical similarities between Nordic and Northern German varieties from an areal perspective, including patterns of linguistic areality across language boundaries. Particular focus is placed on morphological and syntactic features in non-standard varieties such as dialects, as documented in dialect grammars and other linguistic resources. The aim is to document, describe and map such areal features in a small cross-linguistic digital language atlas. This requires both a conceptual model of linguistic areality and its digital implementation.


Sabrina Goll M.Ed. (research assistant)
Prof. Dr. Steffen Höder (principal investigator)
Sarah Paetzke (student assistant)
Jasmina Schmerer (former student assistant)
Nina Sternitzke M.A. (research assistant)


The project cooperates with the Specialist Information Service for Northern Europe at Kiel University Library as well as with colleagues at German and Nordic universities.


The project is funded by the German Research Foundation.