Call for papers Babylonia 1/2024 - Linguistic variation and variety in the classroom


The French, Italian, German and Romansh language spaces (mentioning only the ones concerning the Swiss national languages) present themselves as appropriation and acquisition spaces that are characterized by variation and plurilingualism, aspects that need to be didacticized both for L2 and L1 teaching. This process implies facing issues such as constructing a corpus (to decide which variety to teach), choosing (authentic) materials and text genres that match the linguistic and cultural reality of the teaching (Dürscheid, 2018) as well as defining assessment methods.

The classroom is one of the contexts where codification of a language standard takes place (Miecznikowski et al. 2015, Pandolfi et al., 2017). Usually, in language classes, the standard variety is the target language, if not the language of instruction. However, research in sociolinguistics and language teaching shows that the concept of standard language is ambiguous, since it manifests itself in a norm that nevertheless admits variability at different levels (Berruto, 2018; Davies & Langer, 2014).

This issue of Babylonia is devoted to teaching frameworks dealing with aspects of language variation and the norm. What attention to pay to language varieties: diaphasic (registers), diatopic (regional varieties, Studer, 2002; Spiekermann, 2008; Ruoss, 2019) or diastratic (e.g. youth language); how to handle and assess variation and students’ deviations from the norm (Caprara & Marangon, 2017; Gajo et al. 2019); how to foster teachers' and learners' awareness of the topic and with what materials and activities. We invite contributions e.g. around the following issues:

Variation and variety in language teaching (L1, L2, foreign languages)

  • Usually the explicit norm is established in written language. How does this situation change with the increased use of writing in today's mostly digital forms of communication?
  • What kind of writing is legitimate in the school context? Which are the model texts (cf. Ammon, 2017)?
  • Are there changes in the curricula concerning objectives and/or teaching and learning requirements? Are there specific indications in this regard in local and regional curricula?
  • Do research findings on the topic of language variation enter teaching and, if so, how (cf. AA.VV., 2019)?

Attitudes, training, evaluation

  • Which are the attitudes of teachers towards the norm, language variation, and regionalisms? How are they reflected in assessments?
  • To what extent does teacher training draw on the topic of variation? How can teachers be made aware of the issue so that they can deal with it in the classroom?

Diatopic varieties, pluricentric languages

The consideration in the classroom of diatopic varieties and different national standards (pluricentric languages) has been discussed for a long time and, in some cases, demanded (for German as a foreign/second language see e.g. Hägi, 2010).

  • Are there any examples proven in the classroom? What insights can be gained from teaching experiences in pluricentric languages?
  • Helvetisms and language teaching: bringing the Swiss varieties of German, French and Italian into the classroom.
  • How to foster learners’ awareness of geographical language variation? Theoretical reflections and concrete teaching proposals (tools, materials, activities).
  • The place of dialects in teaching (Studer, 2002, Ruoss, 2019).

Empirical contributions (research projects, action-research) as well as practical contributions (teaching materials, exercises, good practices) and stances on the topic (position papers, interviews, etc.) are welcome. Babylonia favours the use of clear and easily understandable language. Length of contribution: 16,000-20,000 characters, including spaces (4-5 pages).

Please send abstracts (500 words, including references) in German, French, Italian, Romansh or English to or by April 15, 2023.


  • submission of abstract: 15 April 2023 / EXTENDED DEADLINE: 7 May 2023
  • notification of acceptance: June 2023
  • article submission: 31 August 2023
  • feedback from the editors and review team
  • submission of final version: 1 January 2024
  • layout and final revision
  • publication of issue: April 2024



AA.VV. (2019). Variatio delectat. Dimensioni della variazione a scuola: fra ricerca e applicazioni (Workshop Giscel). In. B. Moretti et al. (a cura di), Le tendenze dell’italiano contemporaneo rivisitate. Atti del LII Congresso Internazionale di Studi della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Berna, 6-8 settembre 2018), Officinaventuno, Milano,

Ammon, U. (2017). On the social forces that determine what is standard in a language - with a look at the norms of non-standard language varieties. In E.M. Pandolfi et al. (eds.), 2017, Studies on Language Norms in Context, Duisburger Arbeiten zur Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft. Duisburg papers on Research in Language and Culture, Band/Volume 117, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main: 17-35.

Berruto, G. (2018). Tendenze nell’italiano del Duemila e rapporti tra varietà standard e sub-standard, Aggiornamenti, 13 (8): 5-15.

Caprara, G. & Marangon, G. (cur.) (2017). Italiano e Dintorni. La realtà linguistica italiana: approfondimenti di didattica, variazione e traduzione, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al.

Davies, W. & Langer, N. (2014). Die Sprachnormfrage im Deutschunterricht: das Dilemma der Lehrenden. In A. Plewina & A. Witt (Hrsg.), Sprachverfall? Dynamik - Wandel – Variation, de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston: 299-321.

Dürscheid, C. (2018). Internetkommunikation, Sprachwandel und DaF-Didaktik. . In S. M. Moraldo (Ed.), Sprachwandel. Perspektiven für den Unterricht Deutsch als Fremdsprache, Winter, pp. 141-159.

Gajo, L., Luscher, J.-M., Racine, I. & Zay, F (ed.) (2019). Variation, plurilinguisme et évaluation en français langue étrangère, Peter Lang, Berlin et al.

Hägi, S. (2010). Ja genau: Plurizentrik im Deutschunterricht. ÖDaF Mitteilungen(1), 51-59.

Miecznikowski, J. et al. (Eds) (2015). Norme linguistiche in contesto/Sprachnormen im Kontext/Normes langagières en contexte/Language Norms in Context, Bulletin suisse de linguistique appliquée, N° spécial.

Pandolfi, E. M., Miecznikowski, J., Christopher, S., Kamber, A. (eds.) (2017). Studies on Language Norms in Context, Duisburger Arbeiten zur Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft. Duisburg papers on Research in Language and Culture, Band/Volume 117, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.

Ruoss, E. (2019). Schweizerdeutsch und Sprachbewusstsein: Zur Konsolidierung der Deutschschweizer Diglossie im 19. Jahrhundert, De Gruyter Berlin / Boston.

Spiekermann, H. (2007). Standardsprache im DaF-Unterricht: Normstandard – nationale Standardvarietäten – regionale Standardvarietäten. Linguistik Online, 32(3), 119-137.

Studer, T. (2002). Dialekte im DaF-Unterricht? Ja, aber...Konturen eines Konzepts für den Aufbau einer rezeptiven Varietätenkompetenz, Linguistik Online, 120(1), 113-131.