In 2014, the Department of German Linguistics at the University of Augsburg, Germany, led by Péter Maitz, together with representatives of the speech community have set themselves the goal of making joint efforts towards a comprehensive documentation and linguistic description of Unserdeutsch. First research activities started already the same year. Since the Augsburg team relocated to Switzerland in 2018, the project has been continued at the Department of German Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at the University of Bern. In agreement with the speech community and within the framework of given circumstances and possibilities, our research into Unserdeutsch pursues the following goals:
(a) Comprehensive, multimedia documentation of spoken Unserdeutsch in its social context;
(b) Documentation and reconstruction of the history of Unserdeutsch and the speech community;
(c) Comprehensive description of the linguistic structure of Unserdeutsch in the form of a reference grammar and an electronic, multilingual lexicographical database;
(d) Development of strategies and tools supporting identity and language maintenance.
After several fieldwork trips and extensive archival research, the documentation phase was substantially completed in 2019. In this first, crucial, and most urgent phase, the project was funded by the German Research Foundation and carried out in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for the German Language in Mannheim, Germany, and the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University Australia. This comprehensive language documentation provides an indispensable empirical basis for both an adequate linguistic description and potential successful revitalization of Unserdeutsch.
The project was funded by
and is being carried out in cooperation with
This website is designed to provide access to reliable information and data on Unserdeutsch and its speakers for all those investigated and/or interested: for community members, researchers, and the general public. At the same time, it informs about progress and important results achieved by the Unserdeutsch Research Project. Via the menu at the top left you can reach further information on the language, a selection of audio samples and images, a list of references to relevant scholarly literature including a selection of full texts, as well as an extensive list of media reports on Unserdeutsch from all over the world. Under FAQ you will find answers to frequently asked questions, followed by the latest and archived news about project events and results, and finally information about the project team.
It is our aim that this research project and the present website may contribute to the preservation of a largely forgotten cultural and linguistic heritage, to new insights within all relevant fields of scientific research, and to the memory and self-reflexive reappraisal of colonial history in Germany and far beyond.
The content of this website is regularly updated and extended. Despite regular checking, we assume no liability for the content of external links.
Written by Péter Maitz
Last updated: 16 February 2021