Project presentation

This webpage, launched in October 2021, replaces two network tools (IRS and SDB) of the linguistic atlas ALD, which had become operational in 2012 and unfortunately gradually lost their technical functionality from 2016 onwards.


The “Index Retrieval System” IRS allowed detailed searching in the transcriptions of all 1950 geolinguistic maps of the two parts of ALD, while the “Sound Data Base” SDB allowed pinpoint listening to all sound recordings made in the two field work periods 1985-1992 (ALD-I) and 2001-2007 (ALD-II).


The new conception realized by David and Tobias Englmeier (University of Munich) in 2020/21 not only combines the functions of IRS and SDB, but also enlarges them by an innovative cartographic component, which allows the multi-faceted viewing of all 1950 published geolinguistic maps of the ALD.

Presentation of ALD („Atlas linguistich dl ladin dolomitich y di dialec vejins“,(”Atlante linguistico del ladino dolomitico e dei dialetti limitrofi”)

The ALD consists of two parts (ALD-I and ALD-II) which were compiled according to uniform methodological principles in two separate phases between 1985 and 1998 (ALD-I: publication in 1998 in seven volumes with 884 geolinguistic maps and three CD-ROM) and between 1999 and 2012 (ALD-II: publication in 2012 in seven volumes with 1066 geolinguistic maps).


The three CD-ROMs of ALD-I, which were replaced by a DVD after the turn of the millennium, contained not only the transcribed atlas data, but also the world’s first “Speaking atlas” [“Sprechender Sprachatlas”] which covered the 21 inquiry points of the Brixino-Tyrolian Ladinia and the answers to the 806 questions posed there. A network version was also set up for the “Speaking atlas” in 2003.


The 884 (in four large format volumes) published geolinguistic maps of ALD-I deal primarily with phonetics and elementary nominal and verbal morphology. An overview of the phonetic symbols used is given in the following tables: ALD-Light; ALD-Standard


The sub-project ALD-II, completed in 2012 with the publication of seven volumes (containing 1066 geolinguistic maps in five large format volumes), was devoted to the treatment of elaborated morphology, syntax and lexicon.

Basic theoretical and methodical concepts

With regard to the research goal and applied method, both ALD-I and ALD-II are entirely in the tradition of classical Romance linguistic geography founded by Jules Gilliéron (1854-1926) with ALF („Atlas linguistique de la France“) and continued by Karl Jaberg (1877-1958) and Jakob Jud (1882-1952) via AIS („Atlante italo-svizzero“).


Thus, ALD serves to survey and document the dialectal (or: basilectal) competences of basically multilingual respondents who have their center of life or feel “at home” in the 217 inquiry points of the study area.


It is assumed that the same speakers “manage” the space they inhabit in linguistic terms via a complex interplay of basilectal con- and divergences.


The linguistic data collected in the two parts of the ALD project allow to get to know the “basilectal management” of the space of the ALD zone in more detail, respectively to investigate it qualitatively and quantitatively.


At the same time, the project parts ALD-I and the ALD-II, which build on each other, represent – analogous to the relationship between the French national atlas ALF and the various French regional atlases (NALF: „Nouveaux atlas linguistiques de la France“) – a small-scale (and fine-meshed) follow-up to the large-scale (and wide-meshed) Italian national atlases AIS and ALI („Atlante linguistico italiano“).

Data collection method

  • Direct exploration in the field by linguistically trained dialectologists
  • Immediate transcription of responses presented as “dialectal” in the opinion of the informants; parallel audio documentation for later review and archival purposes
  • Interview modalities
  • ALD-I: twice submission of the questionnaire: i.e. in each explored locality with at least two informants, who had to differ from each other in two of the following five social variables: age, occupation, gender, religion, education.
  • ALD-II: In principle, only one subject was asked per inquiry point, although this restriction was only rarely possible due to the complexity of the questionnaire.
  • Photodocumentation (“ethnophotography”)

Area under investigation

Northeastern Upper Italy and southeastern Switzerland; total area: about 25,000 km2; covered by 217 inquiry points; mean distance between the inquiry points: about 10 km. Included regions or provinces (from west to east): Upper and Lower Engadine, Eastern Lombardy, Trentino, Brixino-Tyrolian Ladinia (consisting of the Ladinophone parts of South Tyrol, Trentino and Veneto), Northern and Central Veneto, Western Friuli.