Adam Barnhardt is a scholar and researcher trained in sociolinguistics, and he is very interested in how the social/cultural meaning people imbue onto linguistic features (words, pronunciations, syntactic structures, etc.) can influence the usage of those features.
Adam is spending his time with Fulbright in Austria studying Viennese residents' usage of language and investigating the ways in which these residents use language to accomplish social tasks such as identity construction and view it as a resource to realize social goals. Specifically, he will be investigating—by conducting tests and interviews with participants—the usage and attitudes surrounding four language varieties spoken in Vienna: Austrian Standard German, German Standard German, the Viennese dialect, and English. The city of Vienna offers the perfect place to conduct this research due to the city's linguistic diversity, the number of English and German Standard German speakers living there, and the high levels of awareness of the local dialect (both by locals and many visitors). This research will add to the collective scientific knowledge of how language takes on social meaning and is used accordingly—especially in situations where several distinct language varieties are used alongside one another in close physical proximity. Additionally, it will serve the betterment of peaceful diplomacy worldwide by providing insights into how best to engage communities and individuals living in multicultural settings.