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(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Web page



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(auct. Mona Neumeier)

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(auct. Beatrice Colcuc | Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

Tags: Linguistics Extralinguistic context



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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke | Julian Schulz [ITG])

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)



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(auct. Florian Zacherl)



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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Markus Kunzmann)



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(auct. David Englmeier | Filip Hristov | Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke | Christina Mutter | Florian Zacherl)

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(auct. Thomas Krefeld)



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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Extralinguistic context



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(auct. Stephan Lücke)



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(auct. Christina Mutter)



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(auct. Sonja Kümmet [UB der LMU] | Stephan Lücke | Julian Schulz [ITG] | Florian Zacherl)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)

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(auct. Stephan Lücke)



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(auct. Stephan Lücke)



Alpine lexicon  (Quote)

Typically Alpine realia (as the CHAMOIS, the SWISS STONE PINE or the MOUNTAIN PASTURE) often are denoted by pre-Roman substratum words. This linguistic layer has probably been described in more detail first by Jakob ; it forms the nucleus of the Alpine lexicon. But the expression is not entirely unambiguous as it has a broader sense both in the use of Otto von Greyerz 1933 who probably coined it and in the use of Johannes [Bibl:Hubschmid 1951]] who first and foremost made it known to the public: "By Alpine lexicon, I understand words which denote formations of terrain, nature phenomena, animals and plants or concrete terms which are connected to human activity, words which only or mainly remained preserved in the Alpine dialects or which live in a larger region, but show a special, 'Alpine' meaning in the Alps. The Alpine lexicon can also be of Germanic or Romance origin ("Ich verstehe darunter Wörter, die Geländeformationen, Naturerscheinungen, Tiere und Pflanzen oder mit der menschlichen Tätigkeit zusammenhängende konkrete Begriffe bezeichnen, Wörter, die sich nur oder hauptsächlich in den Alpenmundarten erhalten haben, oder die zwar auf einem größeren Gebiet leben, aber in den Alpen häufig eine speziell 'alpine' Bedeutung zeigen. Alpenwörter können auch germanischen oder romanischen Ursprungs sein", Hubschmid 1951, 7; cf. for the history of the term recently also Rampl 2011, 131 ff.).

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Analog geolinguistics  (Quote)

The dimensions of knowledge that are in the horizon of VerbaAlpina in terms of content, i.e. THINGS, CONCEPTS and WORDS, are often combined with each other very closely and in a very unclear way. An example is the case of the map 1192a in the AIS, LA CASCINA DI MONTAGNA. The title of the map has the status of a concept, namely BUILDING, “wo ein gut ausgebildeter Käser (‘Senn’) mit Hilfspersonal die Milch sachgemäss zu Käse, Butter, Zieger verarbeitet” (translation: where a well trained cheesemaker ('Alpine dairyman') makes milk into cheese, butter, fromage frais properly with ancillary staff). Furthermore, the title of the map is a generic term as well as some chalets serve as storeroom for milk and cheese, whereas in other cases there are special cellars for milk and cheese for this purpose. These cellars can be an annexe or separate buildings through which very often a watercourse flows. Besides, one has to distinguish between the "meist massive steinerne Sennhütte" (translation: the mostly solid stone chalet) and the wooden chalet etc. There is, in other words, a whole typology of subordinate and more specific concepts and it is not always clear in detail which hut is meant by which word on the map. The concept in the map title is often underspecified; the existence of other designations for more specific kinds of huts cannot be excluded for any place. In fact, dialect dictionaries confirm this impression regularly. At the same time, other concepts as MILK CELLAR and CHEESE CELLAR which are no subordinated terms of CHALET come into play. A third concept turns up as well: terms for stalls for different animals, also for pigs, appear frequently in the legend of the same map. Designations for these additional concepts are as a rule not recorded in the topographic map, but in the margin in form of lists that mostly show only few attestations for a few places. At the same time, there are often polysemous words in the lists that denote completely different concepts in the individual places. The type kort, e.g., occurs in the list for the concept ALPINE STALL at the places 107 and 109 of AIS; however, one of the attestations (place 109) denotes a totally different concept, namely the open RESTING AND MILKING PLACE FOR LIVESTOCK NEAR THE ALPINE HUT.

Inconsistencies of this kind absolutely have to be eliminated when digitally taking data into the database. It is an overriding principle to separate the mentioned dimension with regard to content, as it were, to deconstruct the presented information systematically.

After that, all information can be retrieved and visualised from the database in consistent categories and in almost any combination.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Area under Investigation  (Quote)

No full and coherent history of the Alps has been presented until now ("Eine umfassende und kohärente Geschichte der Alpen wurde bisher noch nicht vorgelegt", http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/d/D8569.php); rather different, physiogeographical and economical-political definitions of the Alps are competing with each other ("naturräumliche" und "wirtschaftlich-politische Alpendefinitionen", Bätzing 1997, 23 f.). In the sense of a transparent and pragmatic definition, the area under investigation of this project has been equated with the clearly defined purview of the Alpine Convention. The inconsistencies between the member states ("Inkonsistenzen zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten", Bätzing 1997, 31)) which are defined in this treaty have been accepted by VerbaAlpina. They regard the Bavarian foothills of the Alps (included), larger areas at the edge of the Alps as the Emmental or the Zürcher Oberland ("größere randalpine Gebiete wie das Emmental oder das Zürcher Oberland", Bätzing 1997, 32), excluded) as well as some more important cities at the edge of the Alps: Lucerne and Salzburg are included, but Graz and Biella are excluded. The perimeter of the Alpine Convention can be downloaded here. The real aim of the project is, however, to record the Alps as linguistic-cultural area within this formally defined frame and to depict the similarity of the places belonging to the Alps.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Extralinguistic context



Authorship  (Quote)

All written contributions of the VerbaAlpina website are marked by name. The abbreviation "auct." marks the author(s) of a contribution, the abbreviation "trad." the translator(s). The software is developed essentially by Florian Zacherl.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Susanne Oberholzer | Florian Zacherl – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Web page



Beta Code  (Quote)



(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Linguistics Information technology



Chronocoding  (Quote)



(auct. Katharina Knapp | Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Web page



Code Page  (Quote)



(auct. Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Linguistics Information technology



Concept  (Quote)



(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

Tags: Linguistics



Concept Description  (Quote)



(auct. Giorgia Grimaldi | Thomas Krefeld)

Tags: Information technology



Continuity  (Quote)

The question of the tradition continuity is of fundamental importance when reconstructing multilingual communication spaces. It has to be dealt with in an interdisciplinary way for the purposes of a data-driven, inductive approach. But even with combined efforts or several discplines it would not be reasonable to expect a large number of answers regarding the Pre-Roman substrata of the Alpine region. However, the starting point regarding the Romance substratum in the nowadays German- and Slowenian-speaking subareas is much better. The language shift from Romance to German is absolutely a historical constant, that can even be observed currently in the Grisons. The process starts already with the fall of the Roman infrastructure (in 476); the period which follows immediately thereafter is of most interest for linguistic history. However, it is extremely sparsely documented in writing so that the cooperation with other historic subjects, especially with archaeology, is imperative. Although there are still big research gaps, there is at least the work of Weindauer 2014, which studies the archaeological and onomastic sources (6th-8th century) of southern Upper Bavaria, the Salzburg area and the Tyrolean Inntal. Hence, one can exclude a longer, fondamental interruption of settlement between the Roman era and the times of the Bajuwaren ("eine längere, grundlegende Siedlungsunterbrechung zwischen Römer- und Bajuwarenzeit", Weindauer 2014, 248) as all evidence is in favour of a fluid transition of the settlement structure from the Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages ("einen fließenden Übergang der Besiedlungsstruktur von der Spätantike zum Frühmittelalter", Weindauer 2014, 248). Nevertheless, a gradual difference between the mentioned areas persists regarding the empirical consolidation: "Was bezüglich des Zusammenhangs spätantiker und frühmittelalterlicher Fundstellen für das oberbayerische Alpenvorland noch überwiegend theoretisch galt {...}, findet in den österreichischen Gebieten seine nachweisliche Bestätigung: Die frühmittelalterlichen Ortsgründungen des 6. Jhs. orientieren sich fast ausschließlich an spätrömischer Infrastruktur bzw. – soweit noch vorhanden – an der romanischen Siedlungsstruktur." (Weindauer 2014, 257; translation: What has been valid still mainly theoretically for the foothills of the Alps of southern Upper Bavaria regarding the link between places of discoveries from the Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages {...}, is confirmed by the Austrian areas: The Early Middle Ages foundings of places )

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Crowdsourcing  (Quote)

Although there are already a lot of relevant linguistic data regarding the fields of investigation of VerbaAlpina (especially in atlases and dictionaries), it is an aim of the project to collect new data. By this new collection, (1) inconsistencies between the existing sources shall be evened out, (2) gaps or rather inaccuracies shall be disposed and (3) antiquated designations or rather devices shall be marked as such. However, the new collection of data shall not be carried out by the traditional methods of field research, but by the means that the social media offer us by now. The corresponding methods are often subsumed under the term crowdsourcing. The reference to the crowd can in some respects be misunderstood, not least because many associate arbitrariness, amateurishness and insufficient reliability with the term. The reservations are not completely unjustified as the corresponding methods are indeed directed at a vague and anonymous crowd of potential interested persons. Fundamental problems arise from two directions: 1) from the scientific provider of the project, 2) from the target group of the project, which can consist in linguistic laymen, but not necessarily need to do so. The offer has to be adequately 'visible' and attractive and the target group has to have sufficient linguistic competence and sufficient knowledge regarding the specific subject. There are different strategies to handle this. One can try for example to increase the offer's attractiveness by designing it in an entertaining way and with interfaces that have play character. The project alliance play4science). The competence can be judged by specific questions of knowledge, but it is unquestionably more reliable to get confirmed and validated the provided data by other speakers from the same places.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Functional areas



Designation  (Quote)

By 'designation', VerbaAlpina understands the idealised instance of a written, a spoken or a thought word that denotes one or several concepts and possibly references concrete things. Instead of a single word a specific sequence of several words can take over these functions (the so-called multiple word term). Regarding the category 'concept', a so-called m:n-relation is given speaking in terms of computer science: A polysemous designation can denote several concepts, the other way round a concept can be denoted by a multitude of synonymous designations.





(auct. Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Digital Humanities  (Quote)

The project VerbaAlpina has been planned from the beginning with regard to suitability for the web as it wants to contribute to the transferring of established arts traditions (more precisely of geolinguistics), to the digital humanities.
This means as follows:
(1) The empirical basis of the research consists in data (cf. Schöch 2013), e.g. in digitally codified and structured units or at least in units that can be structured. The data the project is dealing with are partly already published data which are digitised secondarily (as e.g. the older material out of atlases), but partly also new data which still have to be collected. With regard to the relevant concepts the new data shall be as extensive as possible. Therefore, the method is quantitative and to a great extent inductive.
(2) The research communication takes place on the medial conditions of the internet. This allows to intertwine hypertextually different media (writing, picture, video and sound). Furthermore, the persons who are participating in the project either as researchers (especially as project partner) and/or as informants can communicate and cooperate with each other continuously.
(3) The interested researchers are offered to collaborate on the development of this collaborative research platform based on the project. This perspective is useful and gets the project further at least in two respects: it permits to integrate different sites and to make progress with the combination of information technology and linguistic geography by using public resources, i.e. without being forced to fall back upon the (legally and economically difficult) support of private IT companies.
(4) The knowledge which is relevant for the project can also continuously be accumulated and modified for a fairly long time although the guarantee of a lasting availability is still difficult to realise technically (cf. to this the important research infrastructure of CLARIN-D http://www.clarin-d.de/en/). Anyhow, the publication of the results on real media (books, CDs, DVDs) is no fundamental request anymore. Nevertheless, a secondary print option is set up, a solution the online lexicography offers occasionally, as e.g. the exemplary Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Information technology



Digitisation  (Quote)

Within the context of VerbaAlpina, the term digitisation> is not only used to describe the simple use of computers for electronic data processing. The term describes essentially the digital deep development of the material by *structuring* it systematically and transparently and by categorising it.





VerbaAlpina works almost exclusively with the relational data model which organises the data material in principle in the form of tables. The tables consist in rows (= data sets, tuples) and columns (= attributes, fields, properties). Every table can be widened by additional rows and columns in every direction. Between the tables, there are logical relations which allow coherent nexus and corresponding synoptic depictions (the so-called "joins") of two or more tables. At the moment, VerbaAlpina uses the database management system MySQL for the management of the tables. However, the tables are not bound to this system, but can be exported at any time, for example in the form of text with separators that have to be defined unambiguously both for field and data set limits; they are exported together with the row names and the documentation of the logical relations (entity-relationship model). The XML structure that is often used at the moment is not used in the operational activities of VerbaAlpina. But XML is anchored as export format within the interface concept.

Besides the logical structuring of data, the coding of the characters is the second important concept in connection with the term "digitisation". The right handling of this topic is of fundamental importance with regard to the long-term filing of the data material. As far as possible, VerbaAlpina gets its bearings by the encoding table and the guidelines of the Unicode Consortium. In the case of the digitisation of characters that have not been included yet in the Unicode table the digital data capture of a single character takes primarily place by serialisation choosing a sequence of characters out of the Unicode code space x21 to x7E (within the ASCII range). The corresponding allocations are documented in special tables; this procedure allows a conversion in Unicode values which possibly will be available at a later date.


(auct. Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Information technology



Entity-Relationship  (Quote)

In principle, data can be classed into so-called "entities". These are classes of data that show each a particular kind and number of specific features. So, the cities Trento, Innsbruck and Lucerne can form for example a class "places" which is characterised by the features "place name", "degree of longitude", "degree of latitude", "state" and "number of inhabitants". The single members of such a class differ from each other in the different values of the features that characterise this class.
In a relational database, each entity is ideally saved in an own table with the values of one specific feature in each table column. The table rows contain the the individual members of the data class (entity). In most cases – also in VerbaAlpina -, a relational database represents a collection of different entities (and hence tables) between which there a logical relations. So, the entity "informant" which is defined by the features "age", "sex", "birthplace" and "place of residence" is linked logically to the entity "places" in such a way that the values of the features "birthplace" and "place of residence" have a correspondence in the entity "places". Relations between members of these two entities result from the concordance of the features' values in each entity, which are congruent in their nature. In this case, there could result theoretically an assignment from identical values of the features "birthplace" and "place of residence", by which the geographical coordinates of the birthplace could be assigned indirectly to an informant. Looking at this specific example, one can easily recognize that problems could arise due to homonyms. To avoid such problems, integral numbers are usually applied as identifiers (briefly: "ID") that mark the members of an entity unambiguously.
This system of entities and their logical relations, which was sketched above, is called entity-relationship. The data stock, which is stored in a relational database can hardly be understood and used without any explanation of the dependences between the data within the database. Usually, entity-relationship is illustrated in form of a graphic scheme.
The entity-relationship is subject to permanent adaptations (and hereby changes) during the cyclic development phases of VerbaAlpina (cf. version control). Each filed version of VerbaAlpina will be stored with the the corresponding entity-relationship model of the underlying database version in form of an ER diagram. This diagram is created using the program yEd and saved as (GraphML) and as PDF document. The following chart is based on the entities and links of the database VA_XXX as it was on 20/03/125, but it does not reproduce it completely and has to be understood as illustrating example:





(auct. Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Information technology



Ethnolinguistic profile of similarity  (Quote)

From the ethnolinguistic point of view of VerbaAlpina, the basic types form the basis of the multilingual Alpine region. In the sense of a synthetic depiction, two different quantitative mapping functions are planned:
  1. At first, the Alpine lexicon is particular interest. Its totality forms so to speak a fictitious ideal type which the single local dialects come close to more or less. The mapping of a gradual similarity corresponds to this; the gradual similarity was inspired by the representation of the champ gradient de la gasconité in the ALG 6.
  2. Further, the relative similarity of all places among themselves is mapped by identifying the common basic types of any place and the ones of any other place as point of reference and displaying them, following the example set by the ASD.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Extralinguistic context



Etymology  (Quote)

The uncovering of linguistic strata, the stratigraphy, presupposes the etymologisation. The etymologic comment starts from the basic type and pursues a triple goal:
- determination of the lexematic basis' language of origin;
- explanation of the unity of all types which share the basic type. The regularities of historical phonetics and the semantic plausibility of the underlying concept relations are crucial for this.
- reconstruction of borrowing paths if the basic type is spread in several language areas; as soon as the language of the etymon on the one hand and of the informant on the other hand do not match, language contact is automatically established.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Extralinguistic data  (Quote)

For the inductive research of the cultural area, demographic and institutional data are interesting every time that they can be geo-referenced. Part of such data is information about the settlement history, especially regarding the membership to church or state institutions. Likewise communication, in particular pass roads, is of fundamental importance (cf. map).
Ecological as well as geophysical data are relevant in case they have a clear reference to the settlement history. This is evident for instance with regard to the vegetation zones which allow or require certain utilisations (e.g. the Alpine dairy requires elevations above the tree line (http://www.slf.ch/forschung_entwicklung/gebirgsoekosystem/themen/baumgrenze/index_EN).

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Extralinguistic context



Geocoding  (Quote)

Geocoding is a fundamental ordering criterion of the data which are administrated by VerbaAlpina; degrees of latitude and longitude are used for geocoding. The exactness of this coding varies depending on the data type; VerbaAlpina aims at a coding as exact as possible, to within a metre. In the case of linguistic data from atlases and dictionaries, it is generally only possible to do an approximate coding according to the place name. However, in the case of e.g. archaeological data a geocoding to within a meter is actually possible. Spots, lines (as streets, rivers etc.) and surfaces can be saved. For the geocoding, the so-called WKT format (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well-known_text) is essentially used, which is transferred to a specific MySQL format in the VA database by means of the function geomfromtext() (https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.7/en/gis-wkt-functions.html and is saved like this. The output in WKT result is done by means of the MySQL function astext().
The reference grid of the geocoding is the network of municipalities in the Alpine region, which can be output as surface or as spots, as required. The basis is the courses of the municipalities’ border from circa 2014, which VerbaAlpina received from its partner "Alpine Convention". A constant update of these data (which can often change due to administrative reforms) is unnecessary because they form merely a geographical reference frame. The spot depiction of the municipality grid is deduced in an algorithmic way from the municipalities’ borders and therefore secondary. The calculated municipality spots represent the geometric midpoints of the municipality surfaces and mark only by case theirs centre. If necessary, all data can be projected individually or in an accumulated way on the calculated municipality spot. This is the case for linguistic data out of atlases and dictionaries.
Additionally, there will be a honeycombed grid which is quasi geocoded: it portrays in fact the approximate position of the municipalities to each other, but it assigns at the same time an idealised surface with each time the same form and size to each municipality territory. By doing so, two alternative methods of mapping are offered to the users. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both offer a certain suggestive potential because of their figurativeness. The topographic depiction gives a better insight into the concrete spatiality (with its very special ground profile, single transitions, valley courses, inaccessible valley exits etc.) because of its precision. The honeycomb map in comparison allows more abstracted visualisations of the data as it balances the sizes of municipality surfaces and agglomeration resp. scattered settlements. This is especially useful for quantitative maps because perceiving the size of the surface the impression of quantitative weight is instinctively created.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Information technology Extralinguistic context



Inductive Research of the Cultural Area  (Quote)

The project focusses on the Alps as a sole complex regarding the cultural area. It starts from the expectation of common cultural techniques in the whole Alpine region. The adaptation to identical or at least very similar life conditions in the high mountains and with that to the natural spreading of corresponding skills and traditions serves as a basis for this expectation. This common ground becomes manifest linguistically in corresponding designations. Therefore, it is not appropriate to describe the Alpine material culture so to speak top-down in the constricted frame of single language communities (by means of a fix network of survey places in language or dialect regions determined a priori). This approach is mostly a dialectological one aiming at a description as complete as possible of single regions and ideally specific varieties. The perspective of VerbaAlpina, however, exceeds linguistic boundaries and can be called [interlingual linguistic geography]]. In this perspective, diffusion areas of cultural traditions and their linguistic designations shall be uncovered bottom-up, i.e. by accumulating as many local results as possible in an inductive way.
In order to so, VerbaAlpina works exclusively with geocodifiable data and does not specify any extensive categories – apart from the fact that the places belong to the Alpine Convention. Extralinguistic data can help to contribute to making the Alpine region's mark as cultural space in case they provide actual or historical information about the social organisation of the inhabitants and/or the opening up by infrastructure and the cultivation of the region. Regarding the historical reconstruction of the Alpine cultural environment it is worth striving for the comparison of areas marked by archaeological persistence with areas of linguistic relics and for the quantitative visualisation of this comparison in the form of a combined mapping; cf. for this Häuber/Schütz 2004a from a general archaeological point of view and the from a more specific point of view the model Cologne city layer atlas (cf. Häuber/Schütz/Spiegel 1999 and Häuber u.a. 2004).

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Informant  (Quote)

The expression informant is used technically by VerbaAlpina: it unites two different things depending on the source. In the linguistic atlases, as a rule all linguistic data are transparent up to and including the speaker. In the database, these informants can be identified by an individual number (ID). They are furthermore chronocoded by the year of the data collection and geocoded by the place of the data collection. In geocodifiable dictionaries in comparison it is – as a rule – impossible to identify concrete speakers. However, VerbaAlpina assigns fictitious informants to this kind of sources too because of reasons due to the database. Each informant is assigned to a language family. This language assignment passes from the informant himself to all other linguistic data deriving from him.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Web page



Input Data  (Quote)

VerbaAlpina uses exclusively data that are geocodifiable at least in the area of a municipality, if possible, however, even more precisely (as e.g. photographs of mountain pastures). Regarding the particularly interesting linguistic data, there are two types of data: 1) data that stem back to utterances of single informants as e.g. the attestations of some (especially Romance) linguistic atlases or also of the Bayerische Dialektdatenbank (BayDat). These utterances are decomposed in their constitutive elements, the so-called tokens. 2) data from some atlases as e.g. the SDS or the VALTS and all dictionaries. These do not offer any speakers' utterances, but forms that already have been typed. Thus it is not possible to get the single tokens.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Interlingual Geolinguistic  (Quote)

It is one of the aims of this portal to bring out the forming power of language contact and especially its ethnolinguistic conditioning in the development of the Alpine language area. The conception of the database will allow depicting the recorded loan words also quantitatively in their local accumulation. For they result automatically when the affiliation of the informant to one of the three language families does not match the affiliation of the etymon. There are three language families that form the modern Alpine region in the form of dialect continua, which are of different size and especially of different degrees of distinction. The distribution areas of the three language families cannot be depicted on specific states cf. actual language areas. Germanic is represented by Alemannic and Bavarian varieties which are part of the pluricentric German language. The common reference to the Swiss, German and Austrian standard variety is, however, not longer given for some of the Walser and Old Bavarian (Cimbrian) language islands in the Southern Alps. Unlike the German-speaking area the varieties of the Romance continuum can be classified as belonging to several languages. Besides French and Italian, it is about – in accordance with the political recognition in Switzerland and Italy – Occitan, Franco-Provençal, Romansh, Ladin and Friulian. The Slavonic language family is represented by Slovenian dialects that are spoken in Slovenia, but also in several Italian and Austrian municipalities. It is not the aim of VerbaAlpina to describe the dialects in the Alpine area as completely as possible, to bring out the local or regional dialect borders and to represent the region as a jigsaw of varieties. Thanks to its extensive conception, the goal of VerbaAlpina is rather to make distinguishable the (especially lexical) features which are spread over the single dialect and language borders. By doing so, the ethnolinguistic common ground will become evident.





Dialects form complete linguistic systems. This means that, when investigating these three "genetically" different continua jointly, language contact is studied in form of an interlingual geolinguistic (see in detail Krefeld 2018d).

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Knowledge Horizon  (Quote)

This portal informs in three different dimensions:
(1) about extralinguistic reality ('things'),
(2) about concepts, or: categories in terms of content or rather onomasiological categories that are not tied to singular languages or dialects,
(3) about linguistic [[expressions|typification] of the languages and dialects investigated by the project.

The separate treatment of (2) and (3) is fundamental as the relevant concepts not always are documented by specific designations ('lexicalised') in the entire area under investigation. So, in wide parts of the Bavarian-speaking area, there is no word for the cheese made out of whey (cf. for this gsw. Ziger, ita. ricotta, fra. sérac), whereas there often is no designation for the fresh, still unformed cheese mass (Bavarian. Topfen, German Quark) in the Romance dialects as well as in Standard Italian. The relation of (1) on the one hand, and (2) and (3) on the other hand is occasionally also more complicated as it seems at first glance: So, there are sometimes linguistic expressions with unclear semiotic status because it does not follow from the attestations if it is a designation of a concept or a name for a thing we are dealing with. This is the case e.g. if a speaker calls a particular mountain pasture, for instance the one he uses himself, by a generic word as munt literally 'mountain' or as pastüra 'meadow'.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Extralinguistic context



Language  (Quote)

The surface of this portal will be available in several standard languages, namely (in alphabetical order) in English, French, German, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic (Rumantsch Grischun) and Slovenian. In the case of German, Swiss and Austrian standard variants are possible depending on the author of the text. Regardless of the chosen language the user always has access to all linguistic material in all recorded dialects and languages.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Web page



Language Contact  (Quote)

There are two completely different types of language contact (to which variety contact also belongs) depending on their status of integration to the linguistic system. They can be fixed and integrated elements of the language, independent of the speaker ('loan words') – on the level of the linguistic system – or – on the level of the speaker – individual phenomena. These can be either habitual or occasional uses, so-called switchings. This reservation has also to be taken into account when interpreting older atlas materials where an informant provides a form close to the standard language or, in bilingual areas, a form of the respective second language. The theoretically fundamental difference is more or less likely in view of the linguistic data, but it is, however, actually never evident. Only the increase of informants, which becomes a quite realistic option with social media, promises us reliable information about this point.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Language Families in the Alpine Region  (Quote)

In the territory of the Alpine Convention which corresponds to the area under investigation of VerbaAlpina, different languages out of three language families traditionally are spoken. All of them are represented by dialectal continua whose degree of differentiation depends obviously also on their area of spread. The fragmentation of the Romance area is larger than the one of the Germanic area and the fragmentation of the German area is again larger than that of the Slavonic one. The relevant linguistic atlases inform about the dialectal conditions; the survey points of these atlases are being integrated to a full multilingual net in VerbaAlpina. Concerning the level of national languages or rather the regionally implemented minority languages, only the Romania alpina is subdivided further. Besides Italian that has official status in Switzerland and in Italy and French that has official status in Switzerland, the following Romance languages enjoy political recognition: Occitan, Franco-Provençal (or Arpitan, officialised in Aosta Valley), [Romansh|Gross 2004]], Ladin and Friulian. The Slavia alpina and the Germania alpina, however, are represented by only one standard variety. But, regarding the pluricentric language German, it is necessary to distinguish coexisting national standard varieties at least for Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Linguistic Atlases in the Alpine Region  (Quote)

The Alpine dialectal landscape is exploited by the following linguistic atlases which partly are not completed yet (listed from west to east):
  • Romania alpina: ALF, AIS, ALI, ALP, ALJA, ALEPO, CLAPie, APV, ALAVAL, ALD-I, ALD-II, ASLEF;
  • Germania alpina: SDS, VALTS, BSA, SONT, TSA, SAÖ;
  • Slavia alpina: SLA.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Long-term Archiving  (Quote)



(auct. Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Information technology



Mapping  (Quote)

Mapping is a perhaps not entirely undisputed method in linguistic geography, but a well-established and proven one. It is equally for the documentation and the visualisation of spatial relations (cf. the contributions in Lameli 2010). The usual methods differ clearly in their conciseness. In the case of the so-called 'analytic' maps linguistic (part) utterances are represented so that the documentation is mainly in the foreground; the discovery of the spatial relations between the documented forms is left up to the reader. In the so-called dot distribution maps, in comparison, the spatial relations between single aspects of expression are directly expressed by the 'synthetic' symbol allocation. Quantitative relations can only be represented this way. The online mapping of VerbaAlpina occurs on a geocoded basis and combines both methods: it shows at first sight 'synthetic' maps, but allows on closer inspection access on the (part) utterance after a click on the symbol.
The heuristic potential of mapping is considerable. That is the reason why VerbaAlpina offers the option to its users to combine and accumulate different data classes from one category (e.g. several base types) or from different categories (e.g. extralinguistic and linguistic data) on synoptic maps.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Web page Extralinguistic context



Modules  (Quote)

Cf. version control

Tags: Information technology



Multiple Word Term  (Quote)



(auct. Stephan Lücke | Florian Zacherl)

Tags: Linguistics



Notation  (Quote)

In the text contributions, the following, to a great extent usual principles of notation are used: linguistic forms (examples of attestations) are written in italics; the meaning is written between single quotation marks, e.g. formaggio 'cheese'. Extralinguistic categories (concepts) are depicted using upper-case letters. The difference between linguistic meaning and concept is always especially important when there is no word for certain concepts in single languages/dialects, as in the case of CHEESE OF THE LIQUID AFTER THE FIRST COAGULATION OF THE SOLID MATTERS. This is called ita. ricotta, fra sérac, Alemannic Ziger etc. However, a word in High German is missing.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Web page



Onomasiological Frame  (Quote)





(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Onomastics  (Quote)



(auct. Thomas Krefeld)

Tags: Linguistics



Photographs  (Quote)

The multimedia library of VerbaAlpina contains an extensive, constantly growing collection of geocoded photographs. These serve a double purpose: on the one hand, they refer to concrete referents with all their idiosyncratic characteristics, which can be very distinctive especially in case of buildings. On the other hand, the photographs should illustrate a concept as clearly as possible and become the basis for the collection of further designations of the concept. Thus, the aim of this function is not to recognise the specific referent, i.e. a particular alpine herdsmen's hut. On the contrary, this would rather be annoying because informants tend to name the mountain pasture by its proper name in such cases and not by the designation of the concept. However, this is a contained risk: a fundamental misunderstanding results only if informants recognise known persons. In such cases, the individual characteristics attract the observer's whole concentration so that the depicted person is called spontaneously and instinctively by the name ("this is Willi!") – and not by the function the person performs on the photograph (ALPINE DAIRYMAN). Strictly speaking, the use of idealised drawings instead of photographs of concrete objects would be better to collect designations. However, this fails because of the lack of appropriate patterns. All depictions of referents are joined to the categories "concept" and "designation" through the database.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Extralinguistic context



Public  (Quote)



(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Web page



Reference  (Quote)

In the triangle of reciprocally referring linguistic categories "designation" – "concept" – "reference", the reference indicates the individual substantiation of a, by its nature, always abstract concept, in other words: a concrete individual thing. The references appearing in the material VerbaAlpina is dealing with allow mostly a figurative depiction as drawing or photography. In comparison with designations and concepts, the references are of secondary importance in VerbaAlpina. Depictions, mostly photographs, are used as – so to speak – 'aid' within the context of the crowdsourcing in order to make the references more easily conceivable for the informants, as the concept descriptions are at times necessarily long-winded,.

(auct. Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Reference Dictionaries  (Quote)



(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Linguistics



Research Environment  (Quote)

The tasks and the performances of VerbaAlpina can be assigned to the following areas:
(1) documentation and diachronic analysis of the dialectal vocabulary, which is considered as characteristic in accordance with the onomasiological frame;
(2) cooperation with project partners for the mutual data exchange and data analysis;
(3) publication of the data stock, analytical texts and different material related to the project that is addressed partly to a specialist public, partly to the general public.
The functions (1) to (3) have already been activated with the first version 15/1 and are continuously extended. Two other functions are being prepared:
(4) data collection by means of crowdsourcing;
(5) installation of a research laboratory. VerbaAlpina has developed different geolinguistic tools: different cartographical depictions, levels of typification among other things. The research laboratory offers all interested users an individual use of these tools and the presentation of new, maybe also alternative analysis and results.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Functional areas



Romansh  (Quote)

In harmony with the Constitution of the Swiss Confederation (not available in English), VerbaAlpina uses the German expression 'Rätoromanisch' (Rhaeto-Romanic) for the Romance varieties of the Grisons which traditionally cannot be rated as Italian (cf. Gross 2004 and Liver 2010). By using the term Rätoromanisch, we are by no means claiming that this Romansh of the Grisons goes together with Ladin (spoken in the Dolomite Mountains) and Friulian in the sense of a common 'language'. It was precisely for this concept which is not longer acceptable that the term 'Rätoromanisch' initially was coined by linguistics in the 19th century. The idea as such was developed by Graziadio Isaia [[Ascoli|Bibl:Ascoli 1873] and was denoted in Italian by the term 'ladino'.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Sources  (Quote)

In VerbaAlpina, we bring together very different sources. On the one hand, we are dealing with already published sources (atlases, dictionaries, monographs of single places) and with new sources, which have been exploited by the project itself for the first time, on the other hand. Part of these new data are collected by member of staffs, e.g. by Beatrice Colcuc, partly the crowd, i.e. individual and not personally known speakers, contributes these new data. For VerbaAlpina, only sources which deliver already geocoded or at least geocodable linguistic data, are worthy of consideration. These data, however, have to be treated systematically in a different way against the background of the typification. Utterances which are phonetically exactly transcribed are marked as "single attestation" by VerbaAlpina. It makes sense to group these single attestations according to certain criteria ('to type'). Data which the source offers in orthographic form is regarded as alredy typed: this form of notation

(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke)

Tags: Web page



Stratigraphy  (Quote)

The Alps have been an area of diverse language contacts since prehistoric times, which result from completely different strata constellations (cf. Krefeld 2003). In principle, languages which are in contact in an area because there are (more or less) bilingual speakers or even speaker communities are called adstrata. If a basic type is only spread in one specific area, so e.g. in the Alps, and is not present in the relative language families, the borrowing direction and the language of origin is often not clear (cf. the basic type rom. baita / German Beiz, Beisl).
If the language of origin of the borrowing is not longer spoken in the distribution area (or in a part of it), there are two possible constellations. 1) In the case of substratum the language of origin (substratum language) had been spoken in the distribution area before its tradition continuity finished and the actual language started to prevail. Romance is a substratum language of the whole German- and Slovenian-speaking Alpine region. Substratum words presuppose language change. Nevertheless, they often are characterised by extraordinary regional or local continuity.
2) In the case of superstratum, the language of origin has been used over a certain period of time in the distribution area without becoming established permanently. So, in parts of the Alpine region where today Romance languages are spoken Germanic superstrata (Gothic, Lombardic) prevailed temporarily after the collapse of the Roman infrastructure. And in Slovenia, German had the same role during the Habsburg period.
Quite different scenarios took place for the three language families. With regard to the importance of language contact for the history of the language area, it is important to consider the sequence of the borrowing: are Romance loanwords in the Germanic and the Slavonic language area substratum words with regional tradition continuity since Antiquity or are they more recent borrowings due to adstratum? The same question has to be asked – mutatis mutandis – for the German loanwords in the Romance-speaking area and the Slavonic loanwords in the German-speaking area.



Borrowings are a reliable indicator of historic acculturation processes. Therefore, a quantitative representation is appropriate which allows depicting the relative frequency of the verified borrowings localised precisely.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Synoptic Map  (Quote)

This function allows the users to select among the present single maps and fix them on synoptic combination maps according to their own interests. So, the spreading areas of any linguistic and extralinguistic feature can be visualised in connection with each other. At the same time, there is the possibility to fix these synoptic maps in zoom levels when a local context shall be demonstrated, as e.g. the [Karwendel|Karte:Karwendel]] or the dialectal continuum between Occitan, Franco-Provençal and Piedmontese in the Western Alps.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Web page



System for Citing  (Quote)



(auct. Stephan Lücke | Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Web page



Transcription  (Quote)

The linguistic material is represented graphically in double way in order to fulfil the opposite demands of being faithful to the sources and of easy comparability:

(1) Input version in original transcription
In the VA portal, sources are brought together which come from different discipline's traditions (Romance studies, German studies, Slavonic studies) and which represent different historical stages of dialectological research. Some of the dictionary data have been collected at the beginning of the last century (GPSR) and others only a few years ago (ALD). It is therefore necessary for reasons of the history of science to respect the original transcription to the greatest possible extent. For technical reasons, it is, however, impossible to keep unchanged certain conventions. This is true especially for the vertical combination of base characters ('letters') and diacritical marks, as e.g. if a symbol for stress accent is positioned over a symbol for length over a vowel over a symbol for closure (Beta code). These conventions are transferred to linear sequences of characters in each time defined technical transcriptions, in which, however, exclusively ASCII characters are used (so-called Beta code). For the beta encoding, one can make to most of graphic resemblances between the original diacritic and the ASCII equivalence, which are intuitively understandable, to a certain degree. They are mnemonically favourable.

(2) Output version in IPA
The data output in a uniform transcription is desirable from the point of view of comparability and user-friendliness. Therefore, all Beta Codes are transferred to IPA characters using specific substitution routines. There are a few inevitable incompatibilities for the cases where two different basic characters in IPA correspond to one basic character which is specified by diacritics in the input transcription. This is especially the case for the degrees of vowel height: in the palatal row, the two basic characters <i> and <e> in combination with the diacritic closure dot and one or two opening ticks allow depicting six degrees of vowel height. In Beta encoding these vowels are the following: i – i( – i((– e?-- e – e(– e((. In IPA, there are only four basic characters for these vowels: i – ɪ – e – ɛ.

(auct. Thomas Krefeld – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics Information technology



Typification  (Quote)

The typification of the geocoded linguistic data is one of the fundamental requests of VerbaAlpina. For this, in a first step tokens ('single words') are extracted from the input data after the transcription and registered in the database field of the same name, where this is possible.

The centre of VerbaAlpina's attention is the morphological typification of the collected linguistic material. A morphological type is defined by the agreement of the following properties: language family – part of speech – single word vs. affixed words – gender – lexical basic type. The form by which the morphological type is cited takes a bearing on the lemmas of selected reference dictionaries (see below).

The unity of all merged morpho-lexical types becomes clear by means of the assignment to a common lexical type – also over language borders. By doing so, the following nouns and verbs (which are not described here in detail) can be assigned to one singular basic type malga:  malga (MOUNTAIN PASTURE, HERD), malgaro (ALPINE DAIRYMAN), malghese (HERDER), immalgare (TO MOVE ON THE MOUNTAIN PASTURE), dismalgare (TO LEAVE THE MOUNTAIN PASTURE). The lexical basic type, however, does not say anything about the word history of a single morpho-lexical type. It has to be brought out each time individually if a type with Latin-Romance etymon which today is sourced in the Germanic or Slovene language area (as e.g. Slovene bajta 'simple house') goes back to old local substratum or to more recent Romance language contact. For this reason, the designation "etymon" is avoided in this context as it refers in principle to the immediate historical preliminary stage of a word – even if the lexical basic type actually corresponds to the etymon of a morpho-lexical type in many cases.

The morpho-lexical types form the leading category for the management of linguistic data. They are comparable to the lemmas of lexicography. By means of the above-mentioned, robust criteria that can be well operationalised the four phonetic types barga, bark, margun, bargun with the meaning ALPINE HERDSMEN'S HUT, ALPINE STABLE can be reduced to three morpho-lexical types for example:





The membership of the morpho-lexical types to language families (gem., roa., sla.) depends on the respective source. It results automatically through the respective informants in the case of data from atlases or dictionaries and is written accordingly in the database. In case of data which VerbaAlpina itself collects through crowdsourcing, the membership  to a language/dialect of the informants is claimed and ideally confirmed quantitatively; the number of confirming informants becomes with that an instrument of data validation.

Morpho-lexical types are limited to a language family. It has to be cleared up by which form a morpho-lexical type should be represented in the search function on the interactive map. Regarding the Germanic and Slavonic language family the answer is quite easy as both are represented by only one standardised individual language ('German' [deu] / 'Slovenian' [slo]). The morpho-lexical types can be depicted by their standard variants, of course on condition that there are equivalents of the type in the standard language. Like this, all corresponding phonetic types of Alemannic and Bavarian which are variants of the standard form 'cheese' can for example be retrieved under this standard form. If there is no such standard variant, the lemmas of the big reference dictionaries (Idiotikon, WBÖ) are called up for comparison.

The situation is much more complex for the Romance language family due to its numerous, partly not sufficiently standardised small languages. For pragmatic reasons, the following way of proceeding has been chosen: all morpho-lexical types are represented by the French and Italian standard forms, if existing. All phonetic types which are variants of beurre/burro 'butter' can be retrieved under these two forms. The reference dictionaries are among others TLF and Treccani. If only one of the two standard languages has an appropriate variant, only this one comes out as in the case of ricotta (the membership to Italian is marked by the notation convention -/ricotta). If there is no variant of the type in any of the two Romance reference languages, we fall back upon an entry of a dialectal reference dictionary, for instance upon LSI. If there are no reliable entries in dialect dictionaries, VerbaAlpina suggests a basic type along with a graphic representation ('VA').

The phonetic typification of the linguistic material is scheduled in the overall concept and the technical implementation, but it is peripheral and therefore not put to practice consistently. The corresponding category is primarily therefore indispensable as linguistic atlases (e.g. SDS and VALTS) and dictionaries document sometimes exclusively phonetic types. When VerbaAlpina typificates phonetically, the tokens are divided up into phonetic types according to criteria of historical phonetics (database field 'phon_typ'). We examine an automation of the phonetic typification on the basis of Levenshtein algorithms and soundex algorithms. If the automation is shown to be possible, we will put it into practice.

The data diversity gets increasingly clear by typification (formation of classes). The following rule is valid: number of tokens > number of phonetic types > number of morpho-lexical types > basic typ. There can be, however, the extreme case of one single attestation (hapax) which corresponds to a token, a phonetic type and a morpho-lexical type as only representative of a basic type. It may make sense to filter out such hapax forms in the depiction.


(auct. Thomas Krefeld | Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Linguistics



Version Control  (Quote)

VerbaAlpina is composed of the following modules:

- VA_DB: data stock in the (MySQL) project database (va_xxx)
- VA_WEB: programme code of the project portals web interface www.verba-alpina.gwi.uni-muenchen.de along with the accompanying WordPress database (va_wp)
- VA-MT: media data files (photographs, films, text documents, sound recordings), that are in the media library of the web interface

All three modules form a consistent whole with mutual nexus and dependencies and can therefore not be separated from each other. During the project term, the actual status of the modules VA-DB and VA_Web will be "frozen" simultaneously at regular intervals in form of an electronic copy. These frozen copies get a version number according to the scheme [calendar year]/[serial number] (e.g. 15/1). The productive version of VA gets the marking XXX.

The production of copies of the VA media center (VA_MT) is unthinkable due to the generally enormous size of media data files. For this reason, no copy of this module is created during the process of version control. That is why elements that once have been filed in the media center cannot be removed from it if only one single VA version is combined with them.

In the project portal, there is the possibility to change between the "productive" VA version (subject to constant changes) and the filed ("frozen") versions. In the portal itself, an appropriate colouring of the background or rather certain user elements will inform if the productive or on of the filed versions of VA is activated at the moment. *Exclusively* the filed versions of VA are citable.


Cover pictures of previous versions of VerbaAlpina

Barn at Fex Platta, in Val Fex near Sils Maria, Upper Engadine (Picture: Thomas Krefeld)

Chalet on Roßsteinalm, above Lenggries (Picture: Thomas Krefeld)

15/1

Autumn in South Tyrol, near Passeier Valley (Picture: Susanne Oberholzer)

15/2

Treatment of Mascherpa cheese, Lombardy (Picture: Formaggio Bitto )

16/1

Alpsee, Immenstadt in Allgäu (Picture: Christina Mutter)

16/2

Hay harvest in Chiemgau (Picture: Groth-Schmachtenberger collection, open-air museum Glentleiten)

17/1

Hay harvest (Picture: Groth-Schmachtenberger collection, open-air museum Glentleiten)

17/2

Hay harvest (Picture: Groth-Schmachtenberger collection, open-air museum Glentleiten)

18/1

Winter landscape on the Plose above Brixen (I) (Picture: Stephan Lücke)

18/2

View accross Seiser Alm to the Odle Peaks (Picture: Stephan Lücke)

19/1

Zillertal Alps (Picture: Thomas Krefeld)

19/2



(auct. Stephan Lücke – trad. Susanne Oberholzer)

Tags: Information technology



Wording  (Quote)