Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Ann Schmiesing

Second Advisor

Mark Knowles

Third Advisor

Beverly Weber


World language teachers agree that students must be exposed to a variety of language variants and dialects in order to aid students in improving their language learning, increasing their ability to converse with native speakers, encouraging a global perspective, and gaining an understanding of a country, people, and culture. In this thesis I explain the rationale for teaching about dialects in a world language classroom, provide an overview of dialectology and sociolinguistics, present a concise history of German dialects, examine the research surrounding dialect education including the results of my survey of German teachers, and provide a detailed plan for introducing dialects to the classroom. This plan includes guidelines for curriculum standards and textbook revisions, sample lesson and unit plans, suggested student projects, and an appendix with resources such as dialect websites. Through the use of these and other resources, educators can help students enter the discussion about German dialects.