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NZZ

Where do the Youth still speak Grandma’s dialect? 

A study on the changing dialect of Switzerland using two families from two regions, Freiburg and Baar, to demonstrate where words have changed with generations.

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Dialect visualized in collaboration with Marie-José Kolly. Read the article in German here.
Read a thread about the process of creating these graphics here.

In order to give a better sense of how slight a dialect could shift, we decided to visualize a two words: “apple core” (Apfelüberrest, Kerngehäuse) and “lift” (heben). Before landing on the final version of the visualization, we tested out a lot of different ideas:  


Wealso tested out whether or not to show the varying stems of the word but ultimately decided against it. The show more than one lexeme group increased the complexity of the visualization to a level that didn’t contribute to the story.  


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Apple core in Baar and Freiborg
The visualization shows the older generation on the left (green) and younger on the right (blue). Here it’s clear that in Freiborg, the younger generation have a much wider variety of words for apple core compared to the older generation.
However, in Baar, there is a little difference in the words used to reference an apple core within a generation and compared to one another. 


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Lift in Baar and Freiborg
A contrasting example to apple core, the word lift has little variety overall. Though in Freiborg, the younger generation largely uses three terms as opposed to the one used by the older generation. 

A small addition to the story was a language switch. For the portions of the story with dialogue in Swiss German dialect, the reader was able to switch the text to High German. This helped highlight how extreme the dialect can deviate. 



This story was adapted for the print version of the newspaper.
As often is the case, the visualizations needed to be redesigned for the print format. Here, we emphasized the speech bubble feel to the graphics by reflecting and overlapping them. We also broke out style guide definitions to adapted the colors to match the images: 


Read a thread about the process of creating these graphics here.


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