The Swiss Academy of Human and Social Sciences / l'Académie Suisse des Sciences Humaines et Sociales / die Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften is represented by Dr. Beat Immenhauser, Deputy Secretary General of the SAHSS.
The SAHSS supports various long-term research projects. They form the backbone of research in the humanities and social sciences and make a substantial contribution to the preservation, dissemination and enhancement of Switzerland's collective memory.
Research Projects and their ensuing resources
1. The project ortsnamen.ch/topnymes.ch researches and provides information about place names in Switzerland. Ortsnamen.ch/toponymes.ch is also an information platform for current events and publications in the context of Swiss and international toponymy.
The portal ensures:
- the continuous backup of research data from ongoing and completed projects
- the publication of this data in an online database
- the georeferencing of place name data via various online map systems
- the maintenance of an ongoing bibliography on Swiss place name research linked to electronic resources
- own research activities on a small scale oriented towards data collection and presentation
Ortsnamen.ch/topnymes.ch is a data repository for searching Swiss place names and visualising them on maps. It functions since 2001 and it is set up and maintained by the Schweizerisches Idiotikon, under the aegis of the SAHSS.
2. The project Swiss Text Corpus / Schweizer Text Corpus is devoted to the standard German language of Switzerland in the 20th and 21st centuries. The digital collection is structured according to formal, content-related and chronological criteria and comprises well over 20 million text words. It is a balanced representation of the Swiss German vocabulary and can serve as a basis for specifically Swiss lexicographical questions. The text corpus will be enriched with further texts from the 21st century by 2025. Access to the corpus is given through its search interface. The Swiss text corpus relies heavily on collaboration and open standards in order to be able to use the best possible technologies for its purposes. Open standards are indispensable in text and corpus technology so that sustainably available resources can be provided. Like many other corpora, the Swiss text corpus encodes the XML versions of its documents according to the specifications of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). The scans with deposited text are preserved as archivable PDFs. The Swiss text corpus has been maintained by the Schweizerisches Idiotikon since 2014, under the aegis of the SAHSS.
3. The four national dictionaries in Switzerland: the Glossaire des patois de la Suisse romande, the Schweizerisches Idiotikon, the Vocabolario die dialetti della Svizzera italiana and the Dicziunari Rumantsch Grischun. Since 1996, the SAHSS has been responsible for the National Dictionaries. A specially appointed commission (members) is responsible for the scientific and scientific-political supervision.
◾️ Since 1899, the Glossaire des patois de la Suisse romande has been promoting and essentially documenting the linguistic heritage of French-speaking Switzerland. It is based in Neuchâtel and is one of Switzerland's four national dictionaries. Like its partner projects in German-speaking Switzerland, the Grisons and Ticino, its mission is to document the dialects of its linguistic area as completely as possible, to analyse them lexicologically and to make them accessible to the public and the scientific community in the form of a large dialect dictionary. It is hosted by the Centre de dialectologie et d'étude du français régional at the University of Neuchâtel.The dictionnary can be accessed online.
◾️ The Dicziunari Rumantsch Grischun is published by the Institut Dicziunari Rumantsch Grischun based in Chur. The dictionnary contains the entire vocabulary of all idioms and dialects, including the spoken language, documented from the 16th century to the present day. It gathers relevant material collections with a view to inventorying and researching the Grisons Romansh dialects and idioms as well as the Grisons material culture. The institute is also a documentation centre that creates the conditions for giving oral and written information on questions concerning Romansh dialects and culture, as well as for advising scientific research projects concerning the Romansh language and culture. The dictionnary can be accessed online.
◾️ The Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana (VSI) was founded in 1907 with the aim of documenting, preserving and analysing the dialectal heritage. After more than four decades of collecting material, the work began publication in 1952. The VSI is an encyclopedic work that combines linguistic and especially lexical interest with ethnographic and folkloristic interest. It examines the area of Italian-speaking Switzerland, i.e. Ticino and the Italian-speaking valleys of Graubünden. The main source is the paper archive resulting from the original surveys of the first decades of the last century, to which is added a large amount of heterogeneous material ranging from manuscripts to more or less systematic collections of specialists or lay collectors, to countless publications on local traditions and field recordings. Some of the collections can be accessed online.
◾️ The Schweizerisches Idiotikon gathers documents in the Alemannic vernacular in Switzerland from the 13th through to the 21st century. Sixteen volumes published so far with more than 135,000 entries amount to the most comprehensive historical dictionary of a German language region. Various collections of words, sayings and idiomatic expressions in manuscript form contributed by individuals, the Swiss German fictional literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, the linguistic literature on Swiss German dialects, and regional dialect dictionaries serve as the basis for the editing process for the living dialects (i.e. dialects documented after 1800 until today). For the historical language (i.e. language documented before 1800), sources dating from the 13th to the 18th century, with the emphasis lying on the 15th and 16th centuries, are incorporated. The dictionnary can be accessed online.
The Schweizerisches Idiotikon operates and hosts several projects:
◾️ The Language Atlas of German Switzerland documents the Alemannic dialects of German-speaking Switzerland, including the Walser dialects of northern Italy. The SDS comprises eight volumes with more than 1500 language cards.
◾️ The Hunziker2020 project has the goal of bringing the Aargau dictionary in the phonetic form of the Leerau dialect (1877) by Jakob Hunziker into the 21st century. The dictionary was digitised, supplemented and made accessible to a broad population.
◾️ The Swiss German Dialect Corpus documents the Alemannic dialects of Switzerland of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
◾️ The Settlement names of the Canton of Zurich project is funded by the SNSF and it is dedicated to the linguistic and historical documentation and explanation of Zurich's settlement names, from individual farmsteads to large cities. The results are published continuously on ortsnamen.ch
◾️ The personennamen.ch is a platform dedicated to indexing various resources on surname research in Switzerland.
◾️ The Anglicism collection consists of Peter Dalcher's collection of Anglicisms documents more than 6500 Anglicisms in Swiss German. It has been edited and made digitally accessible.
◾️ The Small Language Atlas of German Switzerland provides a vivid insight into the diversity of the Swiss dialect landscape and tells of the history and origins of the words.
◾️ The Collocation dictionary fills a gap in German learner lexicography. Collocations are typical and common word combinations.
◾️ The OLdPhras is an online lexicon dedicated to the diachronic phraseology of German in the New High German period.
◾️ The histHub is a platform for networked and standardised data for the historical sciences in Switzerland. The Idiotikon is one of four institutes that have joined together to form the so-called “Consortium Historicum” and jointly support the histHub project.
4. The Medieval Latin Dictionary (MLW) deals with Latin texts that were written between 500 and 1280 in the German-speaking world and are available in edited form. The Medieval Latin Dictionary is the largest of 20 national dictionaries on medieval Latin that are being compiled under the aegis of the Union Académique Internationale (UAI) in Europe (see also Medieval Latin Dictionary Projects). The basis of the MLW is the Zettelarchiv with about 1.5 million slips of paper for about two million entries from almost 4000 texts. The MLW is compiled in Munich at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities by an international team. The Thesaurus is available in printed and online.
5. The Thesaurus linguae Latinae is the first comprehensive dictionary of ancient Latin. It is compiled on the basis of all surviving Latin texts from antiquity (up to 600 AD), both literary and non-literary. For rarer words, it offers all collected evidence, for the others (marked with an asteriscus) an instructive, representative selection. It lists all meanings and all constructions, it documents peculiarities of inflection, spelling and prosody, and it provides information on the etymology of Latin words and their survival in the Romance languages (renowned representatives of Indo-Germanic and Romance studies are responsible for this). The Thesaurus thus offers a comprehensive, richly documented account of the possibilities and history of each Latin word - not only for Latinists, but also for scholars of classical studies in the various fields as well as for neighbouring disciplines. The basis of the dictionary is the Zettelarchiv with around 10 million slips of paper. It is being compiled in Munich at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities by an international team. The thesaurus is available in printed and online.
6. The Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (HLS) is a scientifically compiled, networked, up-to-date and multimedia specialist encyclopaedia on Swiss history. It sees itself both as a reliable research infrastructure for the scientific community and as a comprehensive and attractive information service for the general public. Its (identical) contents are offered in the three national languages German, French and Italian. The HLS counters the inevitable “ageing process” of the contents by monitoring, the results of which are incorporated into the lexicon within the framework of its resources in an update controlled by criteria. As a national encyclopaedia on Swiss history, the HLS is committed to multilingualism in its organisation and services. The HLS consciously tries to use the interaction and application of various media such as text, images, film, sound and infographics as carriers of content to convey information. The foundation and starting point of the online version are the more than 36,000 articles of the print edition (published from 2002 to 2014). These are constantly being thematically expanded, conceptually renewed, consistently linked and adapted to the multimedia requirements of the new medium. At the same time, thanks to close cooperation with the research community and consistent orientation towards the latest research, the lexicon corpus is being systematically supplemented.